Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday Afternoon in Coney Island: Elderly Early Birds Flock to 2009 Siren Music Festival

From all over New York, elderly music lovers converged early this afternoon on Coney Island for that senior citizen delight, the annual Siren Music Festival.

Since the Siren Music Festival is sponsored by the Village Voice, that the older demographic would be well-represented is highly logical; after all, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the average Voice reader is age 77 (and many were friends, acquaintances and former spouses of the alt-newspaper's late co-founder Norman Mailier).

No wonder they made sure the supply of portable toilets was greater than usual. Those of us with BPH - benign prostate hypertrophy - appreciated it.

Everything at the Siren Festival was geared to the old, including old-fashioned refreshments.

The early bird special also brought many elderly flocking in before the 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. scheduled starts at the main stage on West 10th Street and the Stilwell Avenue stage, both near the boardwalk.

This longhaired old gent told us he hoped the Tiny Masters of Today would play "Sticking It to the Man." He said he himself had "been stickin' it to the man since the Truman administration."

Another Tiny Masters fan had a family connection to the band. "My great-grandkids go to school with Ivan and Ada," he told us.

This excited fan told us he was planning to raise cane (the one he was leaning on) when Micachu & the Shapes came onstage.

While he leaned on his cane, his Japandroids-loving pal leaned on a parking meter.

Other early birds caught good seats with their folding chairs brought from home.

This guy bought seven XXL Siren Festival T-shirts.

A few young'uns were scattered in the crowds of mostly elderly music freaks.

These two Danish pensioners were awaiting the performance of their countrymen, The Blue Van.

They didn't have long to wait.

We first met this Bear Hands fan last July when the group played Celebrate Brooklyn! at Prospect Park. We bonded then because we both love Bear Hands' "Bad Blood."

This guy is a roadie for Thee Oh Sees, so it's been a busy year for him.

An excited fan gets his pulse taken by one of the paramedics on duty. Coney Island Hospital's just a short car ride away.

Some people with fading eyesight chose to sit in the back, away from the crowd, and just listen to the bands.

Luckily none of them need hearing aids - yet.

A fan managed to get onstage during the show.

This guy was totally lost in a Japandroids song about the ephemerality of youth and love.

A slow-moving old lady arrived too late for Tiny Masters of Today. She should have started out yesterday.

This fan, filled with anticipation, predicted that Thee Oh Sees' set would knock his socks off.

This woman was as punk as hell.

Some people just couldn't wait for Frightened Rabbit to come on at 4 p.m.

Neither could we. From all that running around between the two stages, even our fallen arches had fallen arches. Plus we needed a nap and some Geritol. So as we headed for the G train back to our NORC (naturally occurring retirement community) in Williamsburg, we reflected on our afternoon at the 2009 Siren Music Festival.

We are grateful that such great bands were present to entertain New York's senior citizens. Thanks to those responsible, and to those young enough to stay up late for the rest, this old Village Voice display-advertising department messenger (1974-75) would like to say:

Have fun! It's later than you think!

And that's the way it is.

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