Free, all-ages, DIY punk festival Punk Island returned for its first edition since 2019 on Saturday (7/23). Instead of its usual Randall's Island location, the fest happened at Bushwick's Maria Hernandez Park, this year, with organizers writing, "As a collective, we decided that we wanted to come back at a smaller scale and work our way up to what we once had pre-pandemic."
A "smaller scale" meant that instead of the nearly 100 bands across nine stages the fest has boasted in the past, this year featured over fifteen bands playing on two stages, situated on either side of the park's center circle. There were also people selling zines and prints, and community resources, including a mini self-defense workshop, harm reduction information on Narcan and Fentanyl test strips from North Brooklyn Mutual Aid and FentCheck, a sex worker advocacy workshop from Sex Workers Outreach Project, a tenant organizing workshop from Brooklyn Eviction Defense, and more.
The whole atmosphere of the afternoon was incredibly positive and fun, despite the heat, with a healthy crowd showing up to dance and mosh to every band that performed. I missed the first half of the day, but I arrived in time to catch RBNX, Motel Portrait, Dino Skatepark, Winterwolf, Paragnosis, Ratas En Zelo, and Kartel, whose fest-closing set whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Check out pictures, and read Punk Island's mission statement, below.
PUNK ISLAND'S MISSION STATEMENT:
Punk Island (P.I.) is led by a collective of artists, curators, musicians, and educators whose goal is to bring the vitality, diversity, and intensity of the NYC punk scene into the light of day. We are a community of punks who love music, musicians and the fans, friends, and family that participate throughout the year to keep our culture true to the lives we want to live.
We aim to support a philosophy of creativity, rebellion and work to feed those who are hungry for a world where passion is valued over profit. We promote a counter-culture through our collective, art, music, writing and events.
Punk Island's efforts culminate annually as a free, all age's Music Festival, as a not for profit organization we are funded by Make Music New York, the collective and the community.