Rock Photog Danny Clinch Talks Sea.Hear.Now Fest, Featuring Pearl Jam

Top rock photographer Danny Clinch’s two-day Sea.Hear.Now festival will return to the beach at Asbury Park, N.J., this fall, with that includes Pearl Jam, Patti Smith, Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Idol and more. (See the full lineup and ticket information at SeaHearNowFestival.com.)

Clinch, who grew up in Toms River not far from Asbury Park, first saw Pearl Jam on Aug. 12, 1992, at Lollapalooza in Stanhope, N.J. That night, he and his lifelong friend and future Sea.Hear.Now collaborator Tim Donnelly met Eddie Vedder for the first time and began a decades-long friendship that has led to Clinch directing several Pearl Jam concert films.

This will be Pearl Jam’s first U.S. show since Sept. 4, 2018 at Fenway Park in Boston. As previously reported, the band will also perform the weekend after Sea.Hear.Now at Vedder’s Ohana Festival in Dana Point, Calif.

“To have Pearl Jam playing on the beach in Asbury Park is just incredible. This has been a long time coming for us,” Clinch tells Variety. “To have it [postponed due to the pandemic] last year was really painful, but we’re so grateful to them and all the other artists on the lineup to have stuck with it. Very few people returned their tickets, and all the Pearl Jam fans are super excited that this will be their first U.S. show in more than three years.”

At Sea.Hear.Now, art and surfing will be given equal weight with the music lineup. Nearly two dozen world-class surfers will compete in daily North Beach Expression Sessions, and Clinch is particularly enthused about the pop-up festival incarnation of his Transparent Clinch gallery, which has a permanent home at the Asbury Park Hotel. Musicians and artists alike are encouraged to create at the gallery on site, with a portion of proceeds from sales going to charities such as Save The Bay and Surfrider Foundation. In years past, artists like Jack Johnson, G. Love and Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready have participated, and Clinch anticipates several members of Pearl Jam will have art in the gallery this time around.

“They come to talk about art and its connection to their music, and sometimes they even play a few songs acoustically,” Clinch enthuses. “The fans get up close and personal to the artists, and they hear them speak about creativity in a different way.”

Now in its third year, Sea.Hear.Now is a combined effort between Clinch and Donnelly with C3 Presents’ Tim Sweetwood, whom the pair convinced to fly to Asbury Park and stand on their proposed site. “Within five minutes, he was like, ‘Wow, this is incredible,’ and brought it to C3,” Clinch recalls. “I grew up going to the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, sneaking a camera in and hoping to see Bruce Springsteen. We are honored to be continuing the legacy of music in this area.”

Ahead of Sea.Hear.Now, Clinch is involved behind the scenes on tonight’s annual Love Rocks NYC benefit concert, which streams live from New York’s Beacon Theatre. Proceeds from the event benefit God’s Love We Deliver. The show will pay tribute to New York’s frontline pandemic workers and feature performances by Sara Bareilles, Gary Clark Jr., Jon Bon Jovi, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and many more.

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