Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock & Roll22nd May, 2019
“Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock & Roll” is the story of the long troubled town of Asbury Park and how the power of music can unite a people divided. A once storied seaside resort, Asbury Park suffered a race riot on Independence Day, 1970, crippling the town for the next 45 years and reducing it to a state of urban blight. A town literally divided by a set of railroad tracks, the riot destroyed the fabled Westside jazz and blues scene but from the flames of the burning city
emerged Bruce Springsteen and the fabled Jersey sound. “Asbury Park” returns Asbury denizens Springsteen, Steve Van Zandt and Southside Johnny Lyon to the legendary Upstage, the psychedelic after hours club where they got their start. Shuttered for four and a half decades, the Upstage remains a perfect time capsule of the Club which united both
sides of the tracks in Asbury and acted as a crucible for young talent. As part of the event, Springsteen, Van Zandt and Southside Johnny play a now legendary concert to a sold out Paramount Theater and to trade guitar licks with the future of music in Asbury, a group of 11 year old rockers who prove the best days for the town may just lie ahead.
As Asbury Park emerges from an economic and social ruin sparked by the racial violence of the ‘60’s, it points the way forward and provides a cautionary tale for towns caught in the grips of that problem today.