Godmother of Punk Joan Jett will play the first Seaside Summer Concert Series 2011 show.
(UPDATE [6:19 p.m.]: Just hours after our big scoop, below, the Seaside Summer Concert Series 2011 Complete Schedule was published.)
Borough President Marty Markowitz has been tight-lipped about the 2011 Seaside Summer Concert Series, forgoing the usual name-dropping in the months ahead of the concerts. But Sheepshead Bites has done some sleuthing, and our sources tell us that rock legend Joan Jett will play the opening show.
The Seaside Summer Concert Series has seen a harsh two years, as the borough president’s plans to construct a massive amphitheater at the shows’ usual venue – Asser-Levy / Seaside Park – sparked outrage from the community. Throw in a couple of lawsuits, and the beep found a new venue on the other end of Coney Island. With critics still nipping at his heels, he has tried to keep the shows – and the controversy – out of the headlines, refusing to comment on possible performers. It’s a stark contrast from last year, when the beep began announcing names as early as the beginning of May, with the big names coming out in early June, and the entire schedule by mid-June. This year, not one name has been leaked… until now.
A source close to the Borough President’s office has confirmed that the first show of the 33rd Seaside Summer Concert Series will feature “Godmother of Punk” and the “Original Riot Grrrl” Joan Jett, who Rolling Stone named one of the greatest guitarists of all time.
Jett’s 36-year career includes founding The Runaways (1975-1979), whose Live In Japan become one of the biggest-selling imports in U.S. and U.K. history. But, to American audiences, Jett is more well-known for her work with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, whose “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” became Billboard’s #56 song of all time. In addition to a number of Top 40 hits, Jett headlined sellout tours with The Police, Queen, and Aerosmith, among others. Cool little known fact? Jett was the second American act of any kind to perform behind the Iron Curtain, so our readers born in former Soviet Republics might appreciate that.
As for when the Seaside Summer Concert Series kicks off? That’s still anybody’s guess. With all the controversy surrounding the events, and the change in location, it’s possible that the entire series could be moved back a few weeks. Or not. Calls to Markowitz’s office went unanswered, and the event website still says “Please check back at the end of June” for the 2011 schedule. The site does note, however, that the concerts will continue to be on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.
In previous years, the seven week series kicked off on the second or third Thursday in July. If the pattern holds true this year, the first event will be on Thursday, July 14, at 7:30 p.m.
This 33-year-old event has always been free, with paid seating available towards the front in Asser-Levy Park. The new venue is at Surf Avenue and West 21st Street in Coney Island, the former site of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
“While the shows are in a slightly different location, tens of thousands of Brooklynites and all New Yorkers will still get the same high quality, free concerts on Thursday evenings this summer. Mayor Bloomberg, the City Council led by Speaker Quinn and Coney Island’s own Councilman Domenic Recchia were unwavering partners in our efforts to keep the concerts in Coney Island,” said a joint statement issued in May by Markowitz and Seaside Summer Concert Series Executive Director/Producer Debra Garcia.