The Jersey Shore Festival Breathes New Life Into Seaside Heights THIS WEEKEND!
Six months after Hurricane Sandy, many areas are still decimated. The whispers of possible failed summer seasons are rampant, and tales of hustling construction to prevent that event are neck and neck right now. I recently spoke with my editor about doing some updates about how the musicians and venues were doing in the town, and that’s when I got an email about the best thing that could happen to a town looking to tell everyone, “We’re still here and it’s business as usual!”
The Jersey Shore Festival will take place this weekend (May 17-19) in Seaside Heights. The free-admission festival offers live music performances from many well-known bands and performers, a car show with hot rods and customs, BMX and freestyle motocross stunt shows, a paintball field with demos, Vendor Village and enough fuel-injected fun to restart summer in Seaside Heights like it was never gone.
Groups performing include an array of local favorites and emerging artists from out of town. Local names such as First To Friday, A Clever Con, Amanda Fama, Ropetree, Vextion, End Of An Era, Out For More, The Black Clouds, The Black Jesuses, EOS and The Parsnip Revolt are among the many groups scheduled to perform. Bands new to the area and looking to impress include 3 Shades Of Blue, The Republik, Static Summer and several surprise guests and a few personalities. While some acts are traveling vast distances to perform, a few of them are right from Ocean County’s own backyard of talent.
Speaking of Ocean County, particular mention goes out to EOS. The band will be raffling off a signed Fender guitar and donating all proceeds to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. The outfit purchased the guitar with their own funds and are to be commended for their efforts. They will be performing over at Jack N Bills at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 18. Go chip in for that cause and win a Fender guitar! For any other questions about the charity, go ask them at eosrocks.com.
The best part about The Jersey Shore festival is their obvious attention to customer wants and needs. In addition to bands who ply their trades in the clubs, outdoor events such as the Jersey Shore car show take center stage in town. This is no 10 car flea market rumble. This is a fully action-packed street filled with amazing classic muscle cars, tricked out hot rods and pristine classic cars all competing for big prizes. And if that’s not your kid’s thing, you can drop them off at the BMX and freestyle motocross stunt show where competitors promise a jaw-dropping display of stunt-filled action over on Grant Avenue. The festival also boasts a paintball field over by the freestyle action, and there will be demonstrations and gear demos galore.
And probably one of the coolest things is the Vendor Village. This will be an area where local and regional businesses can offer their products and talk about their experiences with the people. Locals, non-profits and others all mix to showcase and promote as only New Jersey can do. And of course, yours truly will be there. I’ll be running the 5W/Pfeiffer lounge, giving out Aquarian copies, interviewing bands on the rise, talking to business owners and a myriad of residents about their experiences with Sandy both before and beyond.
May is usually the month for great festivals in many other parts of the state, but for me and the people I know, this is a special event that will be the very first to take place in one of the towns that everyone thought would never come back from Sandy. Seaside Heights is a tough customer, and as they were part of the focus of the nation during the devastation, they’re also the focus when it comes to proving that they will weather the storm and get back to business. The Jersey Shore Festival looks to be the signal to others across the nation that the shore was, is, and shall always remain the destination for fun.
Rock and roll sponsors to look for this weekend will be Helping Hands Of New Jersey, B98.5, 107.1 The Breeze, Country Thunder 106.3 and Great Gold 1410AM. Coors Light & Pacifico are now the official beers of the Jersey Shore Festival, so all you 21 and over maniacs will have plenty of party favors on hand.
For performance times and event information, head over to jerseyshorefestival.com or email for last-minute details at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also speak to a live human at 732-203-7787.
Leslie West – The King Of The Mississippi Queen Takes Over The Park – Masters Of Music Series – McLoone’s – Friday, May 17
Hackensack native Leslie West is a genuine guitar god. From his early days with The Vagrants to his meteoric rise to fame with Felix Pappalardi in Mountain, West’s bone-crushing sound has made quite an impression on guitarists across the world. From “Mississippi Queen” to “Theme From An Imaginary Western” (penned by Jack Bruce), one can only ponder the scope of what could have become of West’s partnership with one-time Cream producer Felix Pappalardi and the heavy rock vision they launched had Felix not been killed back in 1987. Unfortunately, we will never know what might have been.
But this much I do know. From mega-hit songs to legendary gigs (Mountain played an 11-song set on day two at Woodstock), Leslie West has remained a rock and roll survivor with many an interesting story to tell. After the demise of Mountain, West went on to incorporate the Cream sound further by adding Jack Bruce to the mix. The band was aptly named West, Bruce And Laing.
Leslie West was also on board with The Who on their first, Kit Lambert produced rendition of Who’s Next. Townsend asked for him specifically to play leads, as he allegedly didn’t want to do the finger work. And while that project was later redone by Glyn Johns, Townsend eventually made Leslie West’s work available as bonus tracks on the 1995 and 2003 reissues, as well as on Odds And Sods.
Projects with A-listers like Bo Diddley, Slash, Zakk Wylde, Joe Bonamassa and many others have since kept this guitar slinger knee deep in bar chords right up till today. Kings such as Eddie Van Halen and Michael Schenker sing West’s praises as the influential player that motivated them to wildly statuesque places. West also recalls a mystical, late night jam with Jimi Hendrix at a club in Manhattan a few weeks before he died.
Now Leslie West will be stopping off right here in Asbury Park. Sammy Boyd and Tim McLoone over at the Masters Of Music Series have presented some excellent shows this year so far. Al Stewart (“The Year Of The Cat”) and Janis Ian (“At Seventeen”) are the main two that stand out for me, and Leslie West will continue that classic theme as he plays songs and answers questions from a specific guest interviewer about his illustrious career.
Leslie West will be accompanied by Rev Jones. Jones has logged time with the Michael Schenker Group, Mountain, Steelheart and Fuel. The show will take place at McLoone’s on the boardwalk in Asbury Park. Tickets for this Friday’s show are available over at timmcloonessupperclub.com.