“The goal was exposing fans to a variety of bands and we did just that.”
What happens when a show gets cancelled? You turn it into an all day music festival instead. At least, that’s what Dean Santa, 23, of Staten Island did, and that decision has started to put some life into the local scene. Even if it was all by accident.
“One show in 2012 got accidentally turned into a festival when my friend’s venue canceled on him,” Santa says, “and my venue had a second room. So we combined the shows last minute and made one two-floor show with 20-something bands.”
Since then the festival, now known as the Summer Slam (or, the Not So Summer Slam when it occurs in the winter) has grown into a reoccurring event for the Staten Island community. The festival pulls local bands from New Jersey and other parts of New York, as well as some more well-known acts from established record labels, like Gatherers (Equal Vision Records) and Carousel Kings (CI Records). And even though it all began on a whim, according to its organizer it’s started to develop more of a purpose.
“Staten Island hasn’t always been known as a great place for concerts,” Santa admits. “It’s sort of the forgotten borough. But this festival is proof that Staten Island has a dedicated music community, that it’s a place worth playing where bands can grow their fan base and have a great time. We’re doing this to show that Staten Island is a place worth playing and that there are some awesome bands from here.”
The first Not So Summer Slam of this year took place on January 16, with a lineup that included bands like Awake At Last, Only Sibling, Trace Your Steps, Varsity, To Live As Wolves, Gatherers and many more. Plans are already in the works for the next round of the festival in July.
“Overall it went well,” Santa says of the January 16th run. “The goal was exposing fans to a variety of bands and we did just that.”