The first annual Forest Park Rock Fest drew people from throughout Queens, and the rest of the city, on Saturday, when everyone from toddlers to senior citizens cheered on the four bands that came together under the vision of Woodhaven native Greg Cerar.
Cerar, a Woodhaven native who plays the drums in the alternative hard rock band The Boom Section, said he was thrilled to organize the event in Forest Park’s band shell.
“I used to come to the park with my dad when I was a kid, and I’d come here with my friends when I was older, and we’d pretend we were putting on rock shows,” said Cerar, who practices with his band in Howard Beach – where his parents now reside.
The bands that entertained Saturday’s crowd represented different types of rock and roll – alongside The Boom Section, there was StillTheVizitors, who regaled people with classic blues, Daniel Tighe got people tapping with his alternative country, and SystemInChaos played darker rock songs.
“We really wanted to put on a free rock show, and we wanted to do something for everyone,” Cerar said. “We play a lot of shows in dark bars, and we wanted to bring the music out into the daylight.”
Kristin Robles, of Jamaica Estates, whose husband sings in the band StillTheVizitors, came to the concert with the couple’s 2-year-old daughter, Talia Ann.
“It’s awesome to have rock music in general because it’s kind of disappearing,” Robles said. “To have a rock fest is very valuable – hopefully this will happen every year.”
Astoria resident Dawn Walsh-Johnson also had her 2-year-old daughter, Dasha Johnson, with her – and she said there was no way she would rather spend her day than listening to free music.
“It brings people together,” she said.
And for Carmella and Tom Cerar, Greg Cerar’s parents, the day was nothing less than a chance to watch their son’s dreams play out.
“We’re really proud,” Carmella Cerar said. “My father played saxophone in a Big Band back in the day – Greg definitely inherited that musical talent.”
By Anna Gustafson