A look at New Jersey’s summer music festival scene

2008 XPoNential Music Festival
2008 XPoNential Music Festival

Summer is around the corner and that means it’s almost time to enjoy multi-day music festivals here in the northeastern United States, especially here in New Jersey.

The biggest summer music festival in these parts is All Points West, which returns to Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., from Friday, July 31, through Sunday, August 2, 2009. The second-annual APW festival features 65 artists on three stages, including the Beastie Boys, Vampire Weekend, Tool, Neko Case, the Ting Tings, MGMT, Echo & The Bunnymen, and Coldplay. A lot of great acts will be there (although I’m not a fan of Coldplay at all), but APW is very pricey. Three-day tickets for APW cost $199 + applicable fees (for a limited time, so that rate will go higher as the date gets closer) and single-day passes are $89 plus fees (again, for a limited time). However, I did read on the APW web site that tickets can be purchased in installments. Not sure if that was the case last year, but that is a nice option if you really want to go.

For the third consecutive year, I plan on attending WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival at Wiggins Park on the waterfront in Camden, N.J. This year’s XPN festival takes place Friday, July 24, through Sunday, July 26, and features headlining acts like They Might Be Giants, Aimee Mann, Peter Bjorn & John, Robert Cray, Shemekia Copeland, Guster, and Steve Forbert on the main River Stage. In addition, many local and up-and-coming acts like Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles, Hoots & Hellmouth, John Gorka, and Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby will be showcased on the Marina Stage.

And because WXPN is the home to the weeknight kids program, Kids Corner, there is also a Kids Corner stage away from the main festival area that will include family-friendly acts like Skip Dennenberg and Miss Amy on the Saturday and Sunday of the event.

What’s especially nice about the XPN festival is that, if you buy your tickets before July 11, you get nearly three days of music for just $40. And if you are a member of the station (based at the University of Pennsylvania), the cost is just $30 for the three-day pass…PLUS, you get access to the ever-popular “members only” area where you can get free water, iced tea and lemonade AND meet the artists performing at the festival. After July 11, the three-day ticket prices go up to $40 for XPN members and $60 for the general public. Still a bargain for such a great music festival, but there is no reason not to buy your passes at the early-bird rate.

If you are more into the club-hopping type of festival, Asbury Park, N.J., offers the fourth-annual Wave Gathering Festival from June 19-21. Although the schedule and artists have not yet been announced for this year’s Wave Gathering Festival, last year’s event featured more than 180 artists at 23 venues throughout the city…so that should give you an idea of what to expect. The Wave Gathering Festival has been a big part of Asbury Park’s recent rebirth as both a city and a local music scene, and has featured the likes of Ingrid Michaelson, Ben Arnold, Val Emmich and Nicole Atkins & The Sea.

Three-day passes for the Wave Gathering Festival are also a very affordable $40.00, while single-day passes are $25. You may also purchase admission to individual shows at prices set by the venue (and many of those are typically just $5 or $10).

There are many other music festivals going on in New Jersey during the coming months, but these should be a good starting point before you go looking for others.

“Christian Beach” CD now available on CD Baby

Christian Beachs CD now available on CD Baby
Christian Beach's CD now available on CD Baby

It’s finally here…the self-titled, solo CD from my good friend, singer-songwriter Christian Beach!

“Christian Beach” is now available for sale at CDBaby.com, where you can also listen to 30-second samples of each of the album’s 12 tracks.

And here’s a fun fact for you: I designed the CD artwork around a photo by Charlie Pranio, which means I just did layout and selected an appropriate font.

Anyway, if you want to check out Christian Beach live, he has a few shows coming up:

Sat., Feb. 7, 2009
5:00 p.m.
The Strand Theater
Lakewood, NJ
http://www.strandlakewood.com
with band

Sun., March 8, 2009
8:00 p.m.
Rosie’s Cafe Presents at the Atonement Lutheran Church Hall
Asbury Park, NJ
http://www.atonementlutheranchurch.com/ROSIES-CONCERTSr.html
solo

Sat., March 28, 2009
8:45 p.m.
S.S. Cape May Music Conference Showcase
Congress Hall – The Brown Room Lounge
Cape May, NJ
http://www.sscapemay.com
solo

Fri., April 10, 2009
10:00 p.m.
“Christian Beach” CD Release Party @ The Saint
Asbury Park, NJ
http://www.thesaintnj.com
with band

Thurs., April 23, 2009
8:00 p.m.
Triumph Brewing Co.
Princeton, NJ
http://www.triumphbrewing.com
solo

Thurs., May 21, 2009
8:00 p.m.
Triumph Brewing Co.
Princeton, NJ
http://www.triumphbrewing.com
solo

For information about Christian Beach, visit http://www.myspace.com/christianbeach

Ustream.TV: Christian Beach live on “Sunday Jams” (7/13/2008)

Below is a Ustream.tv archive of a live “Sunday Jams” performance by Christian Beach on July 13, 2008. The backing band, which comes on for the fourth song, features Gorgo (mandolin, bass, backing vocals), John Pfeiffer (guitars, dobro), Michael Scotto (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and yours truly (organ, accordion, tambourine).

Set List:
1. Shadows (Christian Beach solo)
2. Cemetery Friends (Christian Beach solo)
3. Don’t Want to Be a Lonely Man (Christian Beach w/ Gorgo)
4. The Finest Day (Christian w/ full band)
5. Great Ideas (Christian w/ full band)
6. Poet of the Great Plains (Christian w/ full band)
7. Song for Matthew (Christian w/ full band)
8. Open Spaces (Christian w/ full band)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “7/13/08 Christian Beach, broadbandbox…“, posted with vodpod

Christian Beach…Live @ The Brickwall Tavern, 6/21/2008

New Jersey singer-songwriter Christian Beach will be doing a solo, acoustic show as part of this year’s Wave Gathering Festival in Asbury Park, NJ. He will be taking the stage at The Brickwall Tavern Annex (522 Cookman Ave.) at 10:15 p.m. (and I may be joining him on accordion for a couple of songs).

Spread the word with the web graphic below, or download it as a PDF for printing out as a flyer to post where you can.

Christian Beach Live @ The Brickwall Tavern Annex, 6-21-08