Pat Schiavino has been at the center of this fantastic festival for eight years now. Starting from humble beginnings on Cookman Avenue back in 2009, Schiavino and his cohorts have turned a street-wide get together into a town-wide celebration of music and business that rivals anything else available. Smart business planning, pure hustle, and muscle have made this little daylong tryst into a serious musical contender.
The eighth edition of Asbury Underground returns to the streets of Downtown Asbury Park this weekend of October 15 and 16, featuring approximately 100 musicians, 50 visual artists, as well as a three-hour spoken work venue “Underground Poets”, plus food provided from 12 of the area’s local restaurants at various places on the tour called “Asbury Bites”, all at no charge to the public.
Asbury Park is already known as “the city where music lives,” and is quickly becoming New Jersey’s number one destination for the fine arts, and fine dining as well, with its many art galleries and originally designed restaurants.
The festivities will take place Saturday afternoon, October 15, between the hours of noon and 8 p.m., where a well-orchestrated “crawl” will wind patrons through no less than 22 venues downtown, predominantly art galleries, or alternative spaces which show and sell original art, to witness performances by local musicians.
The “Asbury Underground” will be kicking off with The Lakehouse Music Academy Pros at the Lakehouse Music Academy, located at 619 Lake Avenue, at noon. The Lakehouse Music Academy Pros are three full-fledged rock bands, comprised of dedicated students, ages nine to 16 years of age, who are committed to excellence in music performance and representing what the Lakehouse has to offer.
The “Asbury Underground Downtown Art and Music Crawl” will wind its way through the downtown art galleries, coffee houses, vapor bars, clothing stores and various other locations before ending the evening at the newly opened House of Independents, the performing arts center, where there will be live music till 8 p.m. Then if this wasn’t enough, there will be an after-party beginning at 9 p.m. at the newly opened Asbury Hotel, Asbury’s hottest attraction this year, located at 210 5th Avenue. The Asbury Hotel will also be offering discount rooms to Underground “crawlers” by visiting the Asbury Underground website and using the password “Underground.”
When asked about their involvement with the festival in 2016, here’s what The Asbury Hotel management had to say: “The Asbury Hotel is proud to partner with Asbury Underground for this year’s event. Together we invite locals and visitors alike to continue celebrating the arts, culture and music found right here in Asbury Park through supporting local musicians and showcasing their talents to the community. Asbury Underground has been doing great things for Asbury Park and New Jersey for years and brings together the community in a two-day festival that will include live performances in a music crawl downtown. We’re honored to be able to contribute to the festivities and welcome everyone to close it out at The Asbury Hotel, which serves music and entertainment seven nights a week.” The hotel has been the new blood “hit” in town this year, and it makes an outstanding addition to a festival filled with great options.
The Asbury Underground is not a “guided tour”. This no-frills event allows attendees to explore the downtown with maps of participating venues, plus “crawlers” can now download the new Asbury Underground app for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play, where you can follow the map, schedule, and get up-to-the-minute updates on various specials being offered not only the day of the event, but all year round. There will also be several “by invitation only” events being offered that day only available to Asbury Underground app users including an invitation to the Asbury Underground after-party.
Confirmed performers for Saturday are American Casino, Arlan Feiles, Billy Hector, Blisstique, Cat London, Chris Brown, Emily Grove, Dan Matlack, Doug Zambon, Frank Lombardi, Gods, Haze Brown, Jennifer Lampert, Joshua Mark, Julian Fulton, Karen Mansfield, Matt Wade, Pete Scherer, Quincey Mumford, Renee Maskin, Ron Santee, Spoondrift, Stringbean, Sunday Blues, The Morgan Freemasons, and Val Emmich.
Along with the music being performed in the various indoor venues during the afternoon, there will also be music and art displayed outside all day on a vacant lot next to Parlor Gallery on Cookman Avenue. “The gARTen at 715 Cookman” is the brainchild of local musician, author, and artist, Joe Harvard. Joe has taken a vacant lot and has created a sculpture “gARTen” where viewers can follow a path of sculptures made almost entirely of repurposed plastic containers and debris painted brightly with glow paint. At night one can walk the “gARTen” path with a hand-held black light, and be immersed and amused by the spectacle of being surrounded by glowing objects, creating a very surreal experience.
The lineup for the gARTen is as follows: Keith Monacchio, Geena, Douglass Berry, One Banned Man, ADDJ, Mike Noordzy, Daughter Vision, Couch Sound, Nick Paolise, and Doctor Danger.
Also added this year are “The Underground Poets”. The Underground Poets take over Toast Café, 516 Cookman Avenue, from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday. Chelsea Palermo, the founder of the Ministry of Artistic Intent, has gathered an eclectic crew of poets to represent the diverse voices emerging from Asbury Park and surrounding communities, including NYC and Philadelphia.
The collection of 16 poets ranges from former Asbury Park poet Laureate, Dogmatic (Josh Matson), to Laura McCullough, who was featured in this year’s Best of American Poetry, and teaches at both Brookdale Community College and Sierra Nevada’s MFA in Poetry Program, to student poets from Monmouth University, including Griffin Arnott, and editor of The Monmouth Review, Kevin Holton. Also featured are Drew MFA in Poetry alumni Jesse Burns, and Tamara Zbrizher. For the full schedule of poets go to MAIntent.org.
Asbury Underground will welcome the collaboration of the Asbury Park Downtown Merchants Guild which will be presenting “Asbury Bites”. Asbury Bites will be serving delicious food samples from many of Asbury Park’s smaller eateries, which will be hosted by some stores and galleries on the tour. “Crawlers” will be able to sample free food offerings all afternoon prepared by various local restaurants.
Participating retailers on the Asbury Bites tour are Backward Glances, Etc…, Hot Sand, Salt Design Co., KUR, Nita Ideas, Shelter Home, The Showroom Cinema, Uncorked, Words, Coil & Co., and Old Glory Tattoo.
“Bites” will be offered from Confections of a Rock Star, Pepe Events Catering, Pasta Volo, Food Lube, Vintage Subs, Dino’s, The Chat & Nibble, Medusa, Purple Glaze, Juice Beach, Lentil Tree and At The Table.
Then there is Sunday. Asbury Underground has partnered with Asbury Fresh to bring yet another dimension to Asbury Underground. Billed as “Harvest Fest”, Asbury Fresh will feature over 40 local vendors and artisans selling local produce and handmade goods. Asbury Underground will provide the music for the day, featuring five bands playing on stage with full production. Featured bands will be Matt O’Ree with Erin Shewell, Gina and Dragster, Shady Street Show Band, Dentist, and GayGuy/StraightGuy. The market will open at noon, and the bands will begin at 1 p.m. and play till 6 p.m. Cross and Orange Restaurant will be providing an outdoor café, serving food and drinks all day during the festival.
Then on Sunday night, all the festivities move over to Asbury Festahalle and Biergarten, where the Sunday after-party will begin at 6 p.m. Featured performer at the prestigious Biergarten roof-deck will be Gedeon Luke & The People. The party will go until 9 p.m.
“Asbury Park has a long tradition as being the premier destination for original music, but what most people are unaware of, is that it is quickly becoming one of the most concentrated areas of the fine arts as well, and we now have about 30 restaurants downtown alone. That is pretty phenomenal growth in a very short time. The whole idea from the inception of Asbury Underground was to bring a broader awareness of just how rich in all of the arts our city truly is. Art, music, food… it’s our culture. This is truly a grass-roots production requiring the talents of many people. It has always been a free event, open to the public, and we rely solely on the generosity of our friends and neighbors in the community for financial support garnered through the selling of sponsorships. It is heartwarming how everyone pitches in to make this all happen. It is a fantastic celebration of who we are as a community here. I have never experienced anything quite like it anywhere.” Patrick Schiavino, Art629 Gallery.
For a full event schedule head over to facebook.com/asburyunderground and asburyunderground.com.