Downtown Vegas is about to get punk rocked. On Memorial Day weekend from May 25 – 28 the 14th Annual Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival is taking over the downtown area. The three-day event features performances by some of the best punk rock bands from the past 35 years, pool parties, a bowling tournament with more than $15,000 in prize money up for grabs and all the riotous revelry that has made punk rock such an endearing genre since it formed in the ’70s. Some of the headliners for this year’s event include NOFX, Rancid, Pennywise, The English Beat and the Real McKenzies.
Shows for the three-day festival take place each night and at various venues in the downtown area including both clubs and an outdoor concert space being set up especially for the event. The downtown clubs hosting concerts for this event include: the Country Saloon, Beauty Bar, Bunk House and Azul Tequila. The outdoor festival space is located downtown, east of the Las Vegas Strip between East Stewart Avenue and East Mesquite Avenue. Tickets for both the club shows and the festival concerts are on sale now. Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended as capacity is limited. To purchase tickets and see a show listing visit here.
The bowling portion of the event takes place on May 26 – 27 at the Sam’s Town and Gold Coast Bowling Centers. For guests staying in the downtown area, transportation is being provided from the Golden Nugget between the Gold Tower and the Carson Tower on 1st Street to the bowling centers.
The waiting list to register to bowl is still open. For more information visit here.
A new addition to this year’s event are pool parties taking place during the day before the festival concerts start. Pool parties will be held at the Golden Nugget and the Gold Spike. For a complete pool party listing visit here.
Now the largest punk rock gathering of its kind in North America, this event was started in 1999 by Shawn and Mark Stern, founders of the Los Angeles-based independent record label BYO Records. The brothers created the event as a way to bring the independent music community together for an annual party. They’re also the founders of the seminal Southern California punk band Youth Brigade.
Originally the event was held in Los Angeles, and it was only open to people who were involved with punk rock and the independent music scene. Each year more and more people wanted to participate, and it became an event for everyone. They moved it to Vegas a few years ago because it was a more convenient place for people to travel to, and it’s the place to be for a party. There’s no last call in Vegas, making it a perfect fit for the late-night punk rock party scene.
“[Vegas] enables us to go all night, and it’s non-stop for four days… You could not sleep if you didn’t want to,” said Mark Stern.
This is the second time the event has been in downtown Vegas, Stern’s favorite area of the city. All the bars and nightlife venues located in and around the Fremont East District provided him and his brother with many options when it came to planning out where to host the various events associated with their festival.
The event’s success doesn’t just bode well for Stern and his brother. It’s proof that the punk rock scene is still thriving. It also says something about the downtown area. Punk rock is all about breaking barriers. The people propelling the changes downtown are doing the same thing. While this event only takes place once a year, its message reiterates the evolution that has been taking place in downtown for the past 10 years. The area isn’t about music, but what’s happening there could be considered punk rock.
“It’s an innovative art form. People can pigeonhole it like, ‘Oh it’s just loud fast music, but there are a lot of different things that are punk rock. That’s what we try to promote, and that’s what this is about,” said Stern.