Lucky number 13. For 13 years, the Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival have been filling attendance members’ cups with beer and their ears with music. What might be the best year yet, with legendary bands the Descendents and Mighty Mighty Bosstones along with over 200 breweries, the A.C. Beer & Music Festival proves it is the biggest and best beer festival on the East Coast. However, if you are like me, and don’t drink, there is still plenty to do at the festival. There are tons of vendors that specialize in food, hot sauces, beef jerky, cold brew, and a handful of arcade games to play to pass the time. Anyone that doubts that non drinkers can’t join in the fun are sorely mistaken. For Session 1 I partook in excellent beef jerky at Mr & Mrs Jerky and washed it down with a cold brew coffee from The Good Donut Shop, I tried more during session 2. Friday’s session was from 8PM to 12AM with music ending around the 11PM mark. Opening the main stage was local Atlantic City punk band Gutter Drunk. This quartet had a good size of the audience watching and getting the pit moving before the Descendents.
Next was another New Jersey band, the beloved Bigwig. After a few years of inactivity, Bigwig have been back for some time and going full steam ahead. Playing big festivals with major headliners isn’t anything new to Bigwig and the crowd took them in with open arms. With each song, the crowd got more intense, let it be because of the booze or I think I will side with joy in seeing this band after all these years. Songs like “Flavor Ice” and “Girl In The Green Jacket” had the crowd almost jumping the barricade due to excitement. After this festival it wouldn’t be long, Sunday, that Bigwig would share the stage with Session 2 band, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones in Jersey City, NJ. Safe to say, Bigwig is back and in a big way.
Closing out Session 1 was the legendary Descendents. For about 40 years, Descendents have been influencing fans and bands non stop. Their latest album, Hypercaffium Spazzinate, which was released in 2016 brought the band back from hibernation and it has been a constant touring schedule ever since. For the Atlantic City Beer Festival, Descendents played about 25 songs, which is about 10 songs shy from their non-festival set list. However, all the crowd favorites were played and their energy was just as energetic. Milo even brought out a Descendents beer, but unfortunately it was the only bottle available. The brew company that made the IPA is Mikkeller Brewing in San Diego, CA. With a four song encore, Descendents ended with “Smile”, which was fitting for the night. Let it be the beer or the bands that played, everyone left Session 1 with big smiles in excitement for the next day sessions.