Punk in the Park came back for year two at Oak Canyon Park, a grassy, tucked away venue in the hills of Orange County. Day One was as wild a ride as any sold-out punk festival, with free beer tasting all morning and surging pits late into the night. It felt great coming out to see all the punk bands I grew up listening to while sipping on a massive array of beer samples all morning.
Suzi Moon kicked off the day, with an incredible amount of energy for an opening set, dancing in a glamorous outfit, swinging a chain from her microphone. The set ended with her in the pit, leaning over the barricade, singing right into crowd members’ faces.
Up next was TV Party, a band I hadn’t heard before, which I am now excited to hear more of. Their sound had elements of indie rock, beach rock, and psychedelia which proved to be a refreshing note in a day of distortion, yelling, and mosh pits.
The crowd started to fill out around the time The Briefs, Slaughterhouse, The Bronx, came on and the pit started to move. The sun was beating down, the beer was flowing, and we could feel everyone picking up momentum.
Bad Cop Bad Cop unveiled a new song with the announcement that homophobes and transphobes could “fuck off to the other stage, because this one’s not for you”!
We all raised our glasses and cheered for that one.
When Subhumans came onstage, it really started to feel like a festival. The grounds were packed and everyone was gearing up to see the classic punk acts start taking the stage. They started playing and the air around the stage filled with dust from all the dancing and moshing. Love Canal and The Flatliners were up next on the second stage, while 7 Seconds and Adolescents played the main stage. Manic Hispanic, a southern California favorite, came out to close the second stage and threw a cooler full of popsicles into the audience.
All day, there was a feeling of mystery after the news that The Dead Kennedys’ drummer D.H. Peligro had passed and that they would be pulling out of the festival. The crowd packed in around the stage as the sun set to see who would be taking their place.
The banner behind the stage dropped and The Vandals began playing “Urban Struggle”. I sang along with every word and so did the people standing near me. It was a great surprise to get to see them, in spite of the circumstances that brought them there. Face to Face was up next and Bad Religion closed out the night for a crowd that packed every inch of standing room. I went home and passed out immediately — exhausted, but ready for Day Two.
Photography by Sean McCracken