It’s not hard to explain the appeal of the Hi-Tide Summer Holiday. After all, it’s a weekend dedicated to the timeless pleasures of cool tunes, classic cocktails, pool parties, go-go dancing and other happening pastimes, all going down in the ever-hip city by the sea of Asbury Park.
“People are starting to realize that mid-20th century culture was kind of the peak for pop culture, you know?” Eddie Angel, guitarist for festival co-headliners Los Straitjackets, told the Asbury Park Press in 2017.
“I think things probably from after World War II, like 1945 to ’65," Angel said, " ... (where) the stuff that America produced, the culture they produced, the music and ... Polynesian restaurants and tiki restaurants and the clothes and everything, the cars, I think it was a golden age — and you’re never going to see it again.”
That’s where the transportive element of the Hi-Tide Summer Holiday comes in. The festival is an incredibly cool time warp of sorts, thanks to co-founders Magdalena O’Connell and Vincent Minervino of Freehold-based Hi-Tide Recordings. While the event has evolved in both scope and focus since its debut as the Asbury Park Surf Music Festival in 2014, its good time getaway goal remains the same.
“Even with the diversified lineup that we’re playing around with, we definitely try to keep this idea of, yes, escapism,” said O’Connell. “But really, there’s this element of transporting you somewhere else.”
This year’s gathering runs Friday, Aug. 19, through Sunday, Aug. 21, at Asbury Lanes and The Asbury hotel. In addition to the return of party-starting instrumental surf-rock favorites Los Straitjackets, this year’s festival features a who’s who of surf, lounge, exotic and retro rock artists, including Southern Culture on the Skids, Man or Astro-Man, and Messer Chups.
Minervino and O’Connell will be spinning records under the DJ Hi-Tide moniker, his band Black Flamingos plays, and fellow Garden State talent Angie Pontani, an internationally renowned burlesque and go-go dancer, will perform with Los Straitjackets, and will teach her “Go-Go Robics” dance and fitness class at The Asbury’s rooftop Baronet space.
The weekend also will include pool parties, a vendor market — even a rooftop screening of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”
As the festival has grown since its start nearly a decade ago, so has Hi-Tide Recordings.
“We started doing events, and then that created the need for a label," Minervino said, because we were bringing bands into Asbury Park and learning more about these bands and getting relationships with these bands and understanding that they didn’t exactly know how to bring their music to market."
That growth eventually necessitated the launch of a second outlet, Nu-Tone Recordings, to release funk, jazz, soul, garage rock and other works outside of the Hi-Tide’s surf, lounge and exotic purview. And with the festival on hold for 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the record label work enabled Minervino and O’Connell to continue developing connections with fans.
“We actually connected with a ton of new people over the pandemic just by shipping them vinyl,” Minervino said. “And those little packages people would receive of the new Hilo Hi-Flyers’ album or a new pressing of a Black Flamingos LP or even a mai tai glass branded with Hi-Tide with a swizzle stick, those were little vacations for people to literally unpack that Magdalena was shipping around the country, around the world.
"So we feel very fortunate that we grew quite a bit as a label and as a brand through the pandemic, and we are really excited to bring this back out into the world.”
Go: Hi-Tide Summer Holiday, Friday, Aug. 19, through Sunday, Aug. 21, at Asbury Lanes, 209 Fourth Ave., and The Asbury hotel, 210 Fifth Ave., Asbury Park. For tickets, $85, and a full schedule, visit hitidesummerholiday.com.
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Hi-Tide Summer Holiday: Surf rock, cocktails, go-go dancing back in NJ