Asbury Park Rises Up For Ascension Party
By Mark Dawson

Thousands of gay men from around the globe will flock to the sun drenched Jersey Shore in August for the three-day, eleven-party, fourteen-DJ festival known as Ascension Party.

“Prepare to be turned ovah like a fat rat,” says DJ Lina, who launches the weekend on Friday, August 4, spinning the VIP cocktail party. “The wonderful part about Ascension is each DJ brings their own unique style so everyone gets what they need.”

“We are thrilled to bring Ascension back to the states this year,” says Ascension Party founder Eric von Kuersteiner. The festival launched in 2006 on Fire Island Pines, where it continued annually until 2014. For the last two summers Ascension has taken place in Mykonos.

“We brought on a new partner for the weekend who brought a lot of fresh ideas including the idea to take the party to the beautiful beaches on the Jersey Shore,” he explains.

The transformation of Asbury Park has been incredible. Major investments in the boardwalk area and the city over the past few years have completely transformed the downtown. The host hotel for Ascension, The Asbury, opened last summer after a 50 million dollar renovation. It was voted Best New Hotel in the U.S. in 2016.

“Ascension is going to bring thousands of visitors from all over the tri-state area as well as the world to Asbury,” continues von Kuersteiner. “It will be a wonderful opportunity to showcase the local businesses to thousands of new visitors.”

Ascension Party is a charity event, donating 100% of net proceeds to the LGBTQ community. Over one million dollars has been donated to over 40 different organizations to date. The LGBTQ community of Asbury Park will be the major benefactor for Ascension 2017.

“2017 is a new chapter for Ascension and we are pulling out all the stops,” promises von Kuersteiner. “Once again, we aim to give guests a fun-in-the-sun experience they will always remember.”

Ascension Party takes place Friday, August 4 through Sunday, August 6 at Asbury Park. Discount rate tickets will go on sale on March 1. The host hotel is The Asbury Hotel (210 5th Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ). Visit for ticket information.

Can we do the DJ’s as a sidebar?

Here is what a few of the DJs at Ascension had to say about this epic event.

How would you describe your style and sound?

DJ PAULO Saturday Night Celebration
My style is mostly Tribal/Progressive layered with big vocals.

DANI TORO Saturday’s Ascension Beach Party main event.
My style depends on the crowd. I never get to the DJ booth with a play list of tracks, as I don’t know what the mood of the crowd is going to be. I start with a couple of tracks and I wait for the reaction and that decides my DJ set. Sometimes crowds want more vocals, sometimes more circuit.

EDDIE MARTINEZ Friday night’s Underwear Party.
My style is sexy and fun with lots of energy. My sets always include my original work, private mixes and edits, along with my own personal flare.

DJ LINA Friday night’s VIP Cocktail Party.

JOE GAUTHREAUX Sunday’s Ascension Closing Party.
My sound has always been big room. I like playing for a lot of people so that’s how I’ve tailored my music over the years.

DAN SLATER Sunday’s Ascension Pool Party.
My DJ style and sound is uplifting, upbeat and chunky. I love vocals, and the sounds of European and South American producers.

DJ HANSEL Saturday’s Ascension Beach Party main event.
My sets have a very distinct sound, ranging from tech-house to tribal to my signature circuit. I’m Latin and I like to see my crowd shake and move hard so I’ll often add a bit of beats (drums) that remind me of my Latin roots.

STEVE SIDEWALK Sunday’s Ascension Pool Party. I’ve been a DJ for over 18 years now and I am pretty well known for my high-energy vocal dance sets.

What are examples of beats you will likely be throwing down at Ascension?

DJ Paulo: I probably will be bringing out some of my Paulo-Lite tracks for this event since it’s by the beach. I just finished a remix of Katy Perry’s “Chained to the Rhythm” that I’ll be playing.

Dani Toro: Right now, my favorite producers are Tony Moran, Paulo, Joe Gauthreaux, Tommy Love, Mauro Mozart, Tom Stephan, Thomas Solvert and, of course, myself. I’m getting amazing feedback with the remixes of my track “Lick Me Up” and also Katy Perry’s “Chained To The Rhythm”. But we’ll have to see in August which songs will be favorable amongst the crowd

Eddie Martinez: I like to mix current popular tracks and give them my own stamp, such as my remixes of Britney Spears’s “Just Luv Me” or Rihanna’s “Sex With Me”.

DJ Lina: The music I play is more underground deep house so anywhere from Monique Bingham to ReelSoul, to Studio Apt and Blaze.

Joe Gauthreaux: The most important thing for me is to connect with the crowd. A lot of times that means playing something that I know everyone will love, like “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran. Or maybe it’s one of my own tracks, like “Show Me (What You Got)” that I did with DJ Grind. Its special because the crowd knows its my track, so they know they’re not listening to some jukebox, but someone who is playing music that came from them.

Dan Slater: I’m doing the pool party so I’ll play a mixture of commercial, classic and underground tracks like Brian Justin Crum’s “Show Me Love feat. Toy Armada & DJ Grind”, Katy Perry’s “Chained To The Rhythm” and Ultra Nate’s “Desire ‘2K17”.

DJ Hansel: There will be underground and tribal house beats, and maybe a dose of Britney mixed in.

Steve Sidewalk: Expect to hear remixes and reworks of classics from Whitney, Madonna, Deborah Cox and artists like Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Beyonce. I love spinning feel good, summer anthems like a fierce house mix of “When Love Takes Over”. I also love to embrace underground into my sets as well Offer Nissam and Peter Rauhofer. And since it’s a pool party, expect to hear some classics like Barry Harris’ “Dive in the Pool”.

Finish this sentence: At Ascension 2017, be prepared to…

DJ Paulo: Shake and sweat.

Dani Toro: Dance like there is no tomorrow! The Ascension team did a great job securing the line up for this new adventure in Asbury Park. You got the best of the USA DJ’s and some International DJ’s like me who are gonna make a perfect match for the entire weekend.

Eddie Martinez: Sweat because it’s going to be hot like a MF.

DJ Lina: Be turned out. Ovah like a fat rat! The wonderful part about Ascension is each DJ brings their own unique style so that everyone gets what they need.

Joe Gauthreaux: Let go because it’s going to be a ride like no other.

Dan Slater: Werk!

DJ Hansel: Dance and jump because it’s going to be an insane festival.

Steve Sidewalk: Dance and have an amazing time. I can’t wait to be part of your soundtrack for the amazing weekend that Ascension 2017 is going to be!

Ascension Party takes place Friday, August 4 through Sunday, August 6 at Asbury Park. Discount rate tickets will go on sale on March 1. The host hotel is The Asbury Hotel (210 5th Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ). Visit for ticket information.