Downtown Asbury restaurants took a hit for a second consecutive night on Saturday as the Bamboozle music festival chased business away.
The peak dinner hour around 8:00 p.m. was just like the night before, with some dining rooms close to empty, and others almost half-full at best. Normally, a Saturday night in May with clear temperate weather would see heavy crowds in the restaurants.
And while the quiet Friday night saw a surprisingly large number of open parking spaces, by Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Bamboozle festival-goers had taken up almost all the downtown parking.
As predicted, the Bamboozle crowd was much heavier on Saturday, which increased the use of downtown parking by festival attendees. Attendance on Friday was 23,000, but rose to approximately 40,000 on Saturday, according to Asbury Park city manager Terry Reidy. Festival promoter LiveNation expects 30,000 today.
Despite the lack of parking spaces in the downtown last night, just before 8:00 p.m. the Bangs Avenue parking deck still had plenty of spaces, according to the attendant on duty, although they were not open to the general public. The deck was reserved to give each downtown business one pass for their employees.
Traffic was relatively light in the city from Grand Avenue west well into Saturday evening, with the only backups during the day moderate ones on Asbury Avenue for those entering the city from the Asbury circle. With the bigger Saturday crowds, parking eventually became much scarcer east of Main Street, in both the downtown and residential neighborhoods.
Bamboozle begins today at 2:00 p.m. and concludes at 11:00 p.m. with headliner Bon Jovi.