by JAMILA YOUNG
CT Bike is the oldest indoor wooden skate park on the east coast. It is located at 80 South St., Bristol, and owned by husband and wife, James (Jim) and Marie Parrott.
The park was first established in 1987, and had a rich history of bands performing on a frequent basis, until things started to die down, and the performances went from little to none.
“Every few months they have one. They used to do them a lot when they opened,” said granddaughter of Jim and Marie, Jacque Parrott – who works at the skate park.
“We were having them until really late at night, and we decided it was too much, so we took a break,” said Marie Parrott. “We did bands for maybe eight years, and everybody kept calling up ‘Can we have them?” A lot of those smaller bands broke up. We allowed kids that were 14, 15, that just started; they wanted to have a place to play, and they didn’t have a place.”
To bring back the performance aspect, Aaron Freeman – who grew up watching bands play at the skate park decided to put together yearly concerts called “Shredfest,” which was held this past Saturday.
“At first it was mainly for nostalgia. I’ve been coming here since 1994 – my first shows ever as a kid going here,” said Freeman. “I was like, you know what? We haven’t played there yet, why? So I set up a show here three years ago, and it’s been going good ever since. I messaged a bunch of bands, and whoever wanted to be on it, jumped on it.”
Instead of a stage performance, the bands took turns performing on one of the designated skate ramps. Freeman not only put the event together, but he also performed a set with his band, She Walks Without Legs, which is also celebrating its 10 year anniversary. Other bands on the lineup were Twe1ve Step2, Left Hand Backwards, and Crypitus.
“I’ve been addicted to doing shows, and just getting out there,” said Freeman. “If I don’t do it, I’ll go crazy. It’s better than going out on the street, and starting a fight. Just grabbing the microphone, and getting it out. It’s better than any drug out there.”
Chris Kuczenski is a Bristol resident who has been coming to the skate park for many years, and has many fond memories. His son Lucas celebrated his birthday at the skate park in October. Kuczenski was happy to see that the performances had started up again, and that his friend Aaron was the one to bring it back, and also perform in it.
“I thought it was iconic because I have not seen my friend in a really long time, and his band was here at my favorite place to skate,” said Kuczenski. “This is my favorite skate park of all time. I’ve been coming here since ‘93. I’m 40. I still skateboard, my kids Evan and Lucas like to skateboard, they do scooters, and this place does not hurt like Rockwell. In the Winter there’s really nowhere to skate around here, so this is where we come. This is like home to me.
Freeman already has plans for next year’s “Shredfest.” He said he’d like to also include hip-hop artists in the performance lineup so that there’s no break in the music while bands are setting up to perform.