From 2003 to 2012, Bamboozle took over New Jersey for its annual multi-day festival. The event, which evolved out of the Skate And Surf, led to some iconic live sets from artists such as My Chemical Romance, Thrice, Paramore, Foo Fighters and Jimmy Eat World among many others.
Now, the festival is making its long-awaited return in celebration of its upcoming 20th anniversary. This week, Bamboozle launched a Myspace-inspired website confirming the New Jersey festival is making a comeback in 2023.
On Wednesday, Bamboozle’s new Twitter account, which was created in October, announced the return of the festival. Bamboozle’s old account @thebamboozle has been inactive since August 2013. In fact, the last original tweet ever sent out from the account was the announcement the festival wasn’t happening in 2013.
— Bamboozle Festival (@BamboozleFest) March 17, 2021
John D’Esposito, the founder of Bamboozle, also announced the news on Facebook this week. In the post, D’Esposito kept things rather cryptic but did note Bamboozle will be “inviting back some old friends [and] introducing everyone to new friends” for its 2023 event. As well, ticket prices and more information regarding the event will be released in the near future.
“Was it your space or Myspace? Either way, let the games begin,” D’Esposito writes on Facebook. “18 years ago, we created an event on Myspace. For its 20th anniversary, we are inviting back some old friends, introducing everyone to new friends and will no doubt, redefine a scene and once again rise to the top of the festival world. Welcome home, Bamboozle Festival. 10 years will be long enough. Lots of exciting Bamboozle Festival projects: I Booked Bamboozle, Lincs Special Guest podcast, the Documentary 2.0, Acoustic Christmas, B-Boy Arena, The Break Contest [and] so much more. The clowns are alive [and] excited to return in 2023. We’ll make this all official with on sale, ticket prices, trailers, teasers and more. Stay tuned.”
Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Shamrocks and Shenanigans!
As promised, today a festival website was launched. …
In honor of the first Bamboozle, which was announced on Myspace, the festival has launched a new website that truly throws it back to the ’00s. The homepage is a recreation of the original Myspace profile layout. The website doesn’t reveal too much concrete information, but the profile’s Asbury Park, New Jersey location could be a big hint Bamboozle 2023 is happening there.
Bamboozle was originally held in Asbury Park from 2003 to 2005. The festival also returned to the city for its final run in 2012. In between then, however, Bamboozle was held at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
As well, Daft Punk‘s “One More Time” has also been added as the profile’s song. Although Daft Punk recently announced they are disbanding, the song could be a clue the festival is returning for one final time in 2023. Travis Barker is also mentioned on Bamboozle’s website. Under the “who I’d like to meet” section, it reads “Friends new and old and Travis Barker.”
Bamboozle’s top friends could also be a few clues about the festival’s return. Lincs Special Guest podcast, which arrives this spring, will include interviews with the Bamboozle crew and those involved with the event.
Both Scoop and Elmo are familiar faces in the Bamboozle family. Scoop is the festival’s original reporter. In the past, Scoop’s been known to use riddles as a way of leaking information about Bamboozle to the public. Meanwhile, Elmo is another past character who was originally involved with Hoodwink Festival.
Bamboozle not only has a new website, but also new social media platforms. Back in February, both @bamboozlefest on Twitter and @bamboozlefest on Instagram began teasing the return of the festival. on Feb. 1, they shared a shiny new poster of the event’s iconic clown logo.
— Bamboozle Festival (@BamboozleFest) February 1, 2021
Then, on March 1, they added fuel to the rumor fire with a simple tweet that said, “Anyone hear any good rumors? #bamboozlefestival.”
— Bamboozle Festival (@BamboozleFest) March 1, 2021
More on Skate And Surf Festival and Bamboozle Festival
All of the way back in 2001, D’Esposito created the Skate And Surf Festival. Just two years later, however, he went to create Bamboozle Festival which took over Asbury Park. As a result, Skate And Surf Festival didn’t happen again until 2013.
According to NJ, the two-day multi-stage Skate And Surf festival welcomed over 15,000 fans per year during its final runs in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In 2014, Cobra Starship frontman Gabe Saporta‘s former post-hardcore band Midtown reunited for the New Jersey festival. Ahead of their return, Saporta opened up about the first time they ever played Skate And Surf in 2002.
“We performed two days and on the second day we performed as a secret band called the Lords of Semen,” Saporta told APP in 2014. “We dressed like a heavy metal band from the ‘80s and after a while we played our own songs and people realized it was us.”
Midtown’s performance of “Just Rock And Roll” at Skate And Surf is available below.
2014’s Skate And Surf Festival also saw the return of Saosin with original vocalist Anthony Green. They performed at the festival just after reuniting for their first set in nearly 10 years in Philadelphia.
Skate And Surf’s final year brought in the likes of Dropkick Murphys, the Wonder Years, the Gaslight Anthem and Manchester Orchestra among others. However, the festival unexpectedly didn’t return in 2016. At the time, D’Esposito said the event was taking a year off due to all of the construction happening in Asbury Park but promised it would be back in 2017. In the end, that never happened.
For the final year of Bamboozle, however, D’Esposito gave more of an explanation. When 2012 rolled around, D’Esposito ran into some problems. As it turns out, according to D’Esposito, 2012’s Bamboozle was the first year the festival didn’t make any money. Eventually, D’Esposito says Live Nation, who bought a controlling stake in Bamboozle in 2007, decided to put a pause on the festival.
“It’s time to regroup,” D’Esposito told NJ in 2013. “And go back to the core.”
Despite the problems that resulted from 2012’s Bamboozle, ticketholders witnessed some historic sets at the festival. As it turns out, My Chemical Romance played their last show at Bamboozle before disbanding. However, let’s not forget that My Chemical Romance’s Bamboozle set almost didn’t even happen. blink-182 were forced to cancel their appearance at the festival which freed up a spot for My Chemical Romance to perform.
My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” performance at Bamboozle is available below.
Similarly, Armor For Sleep also reunited for a set at Bamboozle in 2012. Since New Jersey is their home state, the band thought the festival would be the perfect opportunity to officially close the chapter on the band. As well, the event’s return to Asbury Park seemed even more fitting.
“This is more of [us] just putting an end to a chapter in our lives, and we feel like Bamboozle is doing a throwback by going back to Asbury Park,” frontman Ben Jorgensen told AltPress in 2012. “In that spirit, we feel like for some people who didn’t get a chance to see our last show, this would be a great time to give them a chance because things ended so abruptly.”
Three years after their set, however, Armor For Sleep reunited for their 10th anniversary What To Do When You Are Dead tour. Then, in 2020, they were set to reunite again for a tour in celebration of the album’s 15th anniversary. However, the tour was postponed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Armor For Sleep’s 2012 Bamboozle performance of “The Truth About Heaven” is available below.
The success of Bamboozle sparked a few other spin-off events over the years. The cross-country tour Bamboozle Roadshow happened from 2008 to 2010. For its final run, the tour included a slew of artists such as All Time Low, Boys Like Girls, Third Eye Blind, Good Charlotte and 3OH!3.
As well, from 2006 to 2009, West Coast concertgoers were treated to Bamboozle Left which was first held in Pomona, California. However, after its first year, the festival was moved to Irvine, California. Dashboard Confessional, the All-American Rejects and Fall Out Boy were a few of the acts to headline the festival over the years.
From 2008 to 2010, the Hoodwink Festival also happened in both New Jersey and California. For this particular festival, the bands exclusively played cover sets of other artists’ music. Back in 2010, the Summer Set covered Taylor Swift, the Maine covered Everclear, Say Anything took on the Misfits and Saves The Day gave a Weezer tribute set.
What are your reactions to Bamboozle returning in 2023? Let us know in the comments below.