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Bamboozle Festival Returns This Weekend

Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, Skrillex highlight three-day event.

The Bamboozle Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this Friday through Sunday with a beach blast in Asbury Park, marking a proper return to the multi-faceted concert event’s original home.

The festival, which began in Asbury Park in 2003, has been staged the past six years at the Meadowlands Sports Complex. This year the main stage is on the North Beach and bands will also play at Convention Hall, the Paramount Theater and on several outdoor stages along Ocean Avenue.

Best-known as Bruce Springsteen’s original stomping ground – he named his first album “Greetings from Asbury Park” - the city is also home to the legendary concert venue The Stone Pony.

“Asbury Park is one of America’s greatest unsung music cities,” said

Christian McKnight, Senior Talent Buyer for festival promoter Live Nation. “In the past couple of years you’ve seen the resurgence the town has made.

“Asbury Park is also a perfect fit for Bamboozle because of the many activities for fans when they want to take a break,” McKnight said. “It’s got the boardwalk, shops and  awesome restaurants.”

McKnight, a Long Island native, fondly recalled road trips to Asbury Park to see his favorite bands.

“We would see shows at Convention Hall and The Stone Pony. Convention hall itself is such a cool building,” McKnight said.  He recounted some of his most memorable Asbury shows: the Deftones and Quicksand at Convention Hall and Weezer at the Stone Pony.

This year’s Bamboozle features the biggest names to ever play the show in headliners Bon Jovi and the Foo Fighters. In addition to Bon Jovi there are plenty of Jersey bands to look for at this year’s festival. They include Bergen County’s Armor for Sleep and A Balance Between, Middlesex’s Bouncing Souls and Catch 22 and Sussex’s Folly.

Jersey City-bred My Chemical Romance is also performing. The popular alternative group stepped in to replace Blink 182, which canceled its appearance after drummer Travis Barker underwent an emergency tonsillectomy.

Bamboozle is the last opportunity fans will have to see Armor for Sleep. The rock and pop-punk band went on hiatus in 2008 and quietly disbanded a year later. Now they’re headed to Asbury Park to give fans one final show.

As a past Bamboozle staple – Armor for Sleep played the festival from 2005 to 2008 – it made sense for McKnight to ask the band to perform at the 10th anniversary. He also had a little prodding from the band’s fans.

“When we decided to come back to Asbury we wanted to get some of those old-school Bamboozle bands on the bill,” McKnight said. “We had so many requests [from fans] on Facebook and other social media for Armor for Sleep.”

Armor for Sleep singer/guitarist Ben Jorgensen said he’s looking forward to performing and hanging out with friends in other bands.

“For me Bamboozle is such a thriving pulse of the music scene,” Jorgensen said. “It was the one time of year when all my friends who were always spread out on tour were at the same place at the same time. It just became magical.

“It’s going to be cool to revisit all the songs and it’s going to be cool to see the fans singing along again,” he added.

Ohio metalers Miss May I are looking to build its fan base at this year’s festival. The band, which also played Bamboozle in 2010, will release its third album, “At Heart,” on June 12 and plans to perform its new single, “Hey Mister,” at the festival.

“I like Bamboozle because there are a lot of bands that we would never get to play with otherwise and people who might not otherwise hear our music,” said singer Levi Benton.  “I’m really proud of our new material and excited for people to hear it.”

*****

IF YOU GO: The Bamboozle Festival, Friday, May 18, through Sunday, May 20. Featuring Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, Skrillex, My Chemical Romance, Incubus, Armor for Sleep, Miss May I and more. Gates open at 5 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The festival’s main stage is on the North Beach. Additional stages are located in Convention Hall, the Paramount Theater and along Ocean Avenue. Cost: $65 Friday, $75 Saturday, $75 Sunday, three-day pass $190; additional packages available. More information: http://2012.thebamboozle.com. SiteMap: http://2012.thebamboozle.com/sitemap.

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