Much like the cautionary tale scenes of 1980s daytime television dramas, this Memorial Day Weekend will mark the annual return of Punk Rock Bowling. That’s when thousands of punks descend on the card tables, hotel pools, late night bars and bowling alleys of Las Vegas for a three-day music and general bad behavior fest like only the Southern Nevada casino town could host.
Having occurred in different forms since the ’90s, this year’s festival continues the trajectory of bigger, badder and louder. The entire weekend is centered around a music festival at the outdoor Downtown Vegas Events Center where 48 bands will alternate playing on two separate stages.
This year’s lineup includes Rancid, The Specials, The Hives, Refused, Flag, Descendents, The Damned, The Stranglers and The Vandals, among plenty of others. If the sheer face-melting onslaught of distortion and boozery aren’t enough, there are separate club shows with everyone from Conflict, Murder City Devils and The Exploited occurring nightly after the festival lets out.
There are Texas hold ’em tournaments, rooftop pool parties with live bands, and, yes, an actual bowling tournament (whose rules bar professional bowlers from entering so you and your punk friends actually have a chance at winning.)
Come to see some punk rock heavy hitters grace the open Las Vegas air with 72 hours of distortion and stage dives, stay for the dystopian/utopian (depending on your perspective) scene of 15,000 punks with spiked hair and studded jackets flooding every available space of downtown Las Vegas, bringing down the property values but upping the chaos for a packed weekend.
VIP passes sold out in record time this year, but festival passes, club show tickets and bowling sign-ups are still up, along with the complete lineup, at PunkRockBowling.com
— Shaun Astor