Whether it's music, cars, tattoos or burlesque you're looking for, Ink-N-Iron promises to deliver in Long Beach this weekend aboard the Queen Mary for the last time before the festival pulls anchor and sails to Nashville. In case you've never been and still don't understand what all the buzz is about, allow us give you 10 reasons why you be out there with the rest of the punks, pinups, outlaws and rockabillies to see this fest off into the sunset.
10. It's on a boat. How crazy is it to have a tattoo convention on a boat? So what it's dry-docked, it's still pretty sweet. Of course, it's not just any boat, it's a boat with a lot of awesome history. The Lonely Island would be proud.
9. You'll temporarily become a tattoo snob. This is for all those times when your friend gets a tattoo and you're not sure if you should tell them that it's not a very good tattoo because they like it so much. At tattoo conventions, you'll see so many good tattoos (and some bad ones), that you won't have any problem picking out the differences between 1,000 traditional rose tattoos that are better than the one above your aunt's knee surgery scar.
8. Tattoos are (sometimes) sexy. If you've ever scrolled through a tattoo website/blog/social media profile and become enamored by all of the pretty people and their amazing tattoos, Ink-N-Iron will be providing plenty of that. Sure, there'll be some bad tattoos on unattractive people also, but it'll be much better odds than you'd see at most concerts, public gatherings, or Disneyland.
7. You never know who you'll see. Whether it's a friend you haven't seen in years, a famous (on industry standards) tattooer, or the singer from your favorite band, there's a good chance you'll unexpectedly run into someone you know at Ink-N-Iron. When that much tattooing talent is gathered in one place (particularly so close to LA), all kinds of people are going to come out to get some work done by their favorite artists.
6. It's cheaper than most big concerts. When's the last time you were able to see an entire festival loaded with bands like Pennywise, Killswitch Engage and Nekromantix for under $50 a day? It's pretty rare, and that doesn't even include all of the other festivities that will be going on around the grounds. Don't forget, it's also cheaper if you get tattooed at the convention.
5. The caliber of tattoo artists. It's not the only tattoo convention in the area, but it definitely draws the most attention in the tattoo industry. There's no way to guarantee that every tattooer there will be good, but consider it guaranteed that some of the best tattooers from all over the world will be flying into Long Beach just for this weekend. Maybe they can lay a little ink down while waiting in the airport?
4. New host, new style. Tim Hendricks has taken over for Juan Puente as the host of Ink-N-Iron. If you aren't familiar with Hendricks, just know that the Fullerton-based tattooer is generally regarded as one of the best in the business these days, and he's giving Ink-N-Iron a makeover.Although the major changes won't take place until next year, expect a new flavor to this year's event.
3. Bouncing Souls. Seriously, if there's not another band you're excited for at Ink-N-Iron, go check out the Bouncing Souls. They play the majority of their shows on the east coast (they're from New Jersey), so maybe don't miss them and then regret it for the next several years. It's the kind of infectious less-angry punk music that 14-year-old skater kids get super stoked for, and it's done really well.
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2. All that history. Aside from the history of Ink-N-Iron (which isn't shabby), there's the history of the Queen Mary and the general background of tattooing in Long Beach. For all intents and purposes, American tattooing started in Long Beach. Forget tattoo history, it's all a big part of American cultural history at this point.
1. It's the last one (kind of)! Ink-N-Iron as Long Beach has known it is done after this year. There'll still be a tattoo convention occupying roughly the same time and space, but if you ever put off going to Ink-N-Iron because there'll always be a next year, you better pack your bags to Tennessee if you want to catch it again in the future.