About This Festival
Bowling Goes Hardcore
Roy Munson and Ernie "Big Ern" McCracken turned bowling into a hardcore American sport back in 1996. Brothers Mark and Shawn Stern—of Youth Brigade and BYO Records—added a punk rock twist to the game a few short years later. As a result, Punk Rock Bowling has been knocking down pins without a split to spare since 1999.
A hard-hitting music concert combined with a massive bowling tournament seems like a foreign concept, but how about some words of wisdom to allay the confusion? Legendary grunge artist, Kurt Cobain, once said, "Punk is musical freedom. It's saying, doing and playing what you want." In other words: it's totally punk to give the middle finger to society, crush it at the bowling alley and do whatever you want, whenever you want to.
Punk's Not Dead
When Punk Rock Bowling rolls around in downtown Las Vegas, there's no time to hit the casinos and gamble away your life's savings. Sin City welcomes a hardcore lineup of punk bands from around the globe to set the tone for this four-day gathering. The bands slay a multitude of venues during the long weekend, including five nights of special club shows in bars and world-class music venues around Las Vegas. They continue a decades' long tradition of being a total nightmare to the media and people still toting "Make Love, Not War" signs.
Balls, Gutters, Punk Rock
There's no telling when every modern nation will resolve their differences in a two-day bowling tournament, but punk rockers are more than thrilled to get the ball rolling in this unorthodox staple of the festival. Rather than goofy Professional Bowlers Association-esque attire, it's much more common to see bowlers rocking wicked tattoos, jackets stitched with skulls and spiky dyed hair, among other wild variations. Band members, rabid fans and others are shuttled to different hotel sites with bowling alleys to play the tournament. Nearly 200 teams command the lanes at the start, anxious to conquer the evil triangle of authority with their heavy balls. Make no mistake, this is a legitimate bowling tournament that's fostered a stronger community between festival-goers every year.
A Playground of Opportunity
So far, we've tackled the two main components that make up the festival's name. The shenanigans don't stop there, however, because the Stern brothers have plenty more in store for the rest of the weekend. Since this is the city that never sleeps, insomnia will benefit anyone looking to keep the party going. The fun spills over into a variety of activities including rowdy hotel pool parties, gut-busting comedy shows and several movie screenings. People who are desperate to dabble in a little poker while in Vegas will appreciate a rousing Punk Rock Poker tournament as well. Living the punk lifestyle is encouraged at the Punk Rock Bowling festival, and that means participating in one or all the activities, if desired.
What Happens In Vegas, Doesn't Always Stay In Vegas
The festival has been rocking, rolling and bowling in Las Vegas since its inception two decades ago. Organizers knew the punk community existed well beyond city limits. They also knew they wanted to take the party to the East Coast sometime down the road. Beginning in 2016, Punk Rock Bowling set up shop in Asbury Park, New Jersey, while still holding the festival in its original location. Asbury Park boasts a legendary lineup like its West Coast-based older brother does, some even making the trip between Nevada and New Jersey to perform at both. Passion and dedication like this is what makes the punk community thrive each and every year.
Multiple Locations in Downtown Las Vegas
The Stone Pony