Shoreworld: Livestock – May 10; Rent Party – May 9

Livestock – Legacy Ranch – Howell, NJ – May 10

With the welcoming warmth of spring breathing down our necks, it’s once again that irresistible time in which we usher in a cavalcade of yearly music festivals. Every year around this time we start to hear about the big boys cranking out New Jersey’s open-air concerts and multiple-day activities. From Skate And Surf to Jersey Shore Music Fest in Seaside Heights, the musical mechanism is in gear, and it is unquestionably full-speed forward.

Along with the big festival magnates, the last few years have also shown some amazing smaller organizers coming up with an overabundance of opportunities for showgoers of all types and flavors. Festivals such as Seaside Music Festival, Camp Jam, Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues and Souper Groove Music Festival have all demonstrated that quality is the featured effort over quantity when it comes to offering intelligent choices to savvy music aficionados.

The latest group to join the growing list of Jersey festivals is Livestock. Livestock is the brainchild of musician Chris Rockwell and Legacy farm operator Eric McGrath. The pair had considered the idea of the single-day festival after kicking around the local music scene and seeing the need for a larger (and less rule-ridden) venue for performers to shine in. They also noticed that performers urgently needed a safe setting which fosters growth without the repercussive burdens of “pay to play.”

Rockwell emphasizes the fact of real belief in the artists he associates with when he says, “Livestock was created to give local area talent an outlet to be showcased. The goal of Livestock is to cultivate the talent and provide an opportunity for their fanbase to expand. The point of it being free is that, in recent years, promoters charged people excessive amounts of money to get into festivals and concerts that are clearly only there to produce profits. We care about the local scene and its growth.” Co-promoter Eric McGrath adds, “My goal is a simple one: To display and celebrate the extraordinary culture right in our own backyard.”

With that being said, that backyard is actually a fully functional ranch located in the Howell section of the state. Legacy Ranch is a family-owned space that functions as one of New Jersey’s premier horse activity farms. Their synergy with Livestock is both supportive and appreciated. The festival also offers a cornucopia of activities such as horse and pony rides, a functional petting zoo and even some interaction with Legacy mascot Zebro, the farm’s one and only genuine zebra. Vendors will also be a feature of Livestock, and everything from food and drink to crafts and merchandise will be available for your festival enjoyment.

But the main focus of Livestock will be the music, and the performers featured are a veritable “who’s who” of Shoreworld rock and rollers, folkies and more from the Jersey Shore. Featured musicians include Accidental Seabirds, Amy Malkoff And The Moonshines, The Battery Electric, Bog Iron Bloom, Chris Rockwell & The Stickball Social Club, Deff-Ray, Harper’s Fellow, Jim Mill, Joe Miller & Kuf Knotz, John Gilman, The May Darlings, Moon Motel, Nathan Dickinson, Prehistoric Forest and Puppy Grease.

Just to give some background on the ranch, McGrath and his family acquired Legacy over 10 years ago, rescuing the ranch from over 150 years of neglect and transforming it into one of the state’s premier horse ranches and boarding facilities. McGrath states in his press release that he is “no stranger to festival events like Livestock.” Legacy provides events several times a year including Team Penning, Barrel Racing, Legacy Extreme, rodeos and host New Jersey “Showdeo” events throughout the year.

His inevitable team up with Chris Rockwell made sense on various levels. Rockwell is best known for his role in Stickball Social Club and as emcee of many open mics in and around New Jersey. Rockwell is also a person of interest as music coordinator at the fourth annual Soulsational Music And Wellness Festival in Bayville, NJ.

So whether your thing is hands-on interplay of the equestrian variety or you’re just down for a full day of original Jersey music, Livestock will be the place to be on May 10. Admission is absolutely free! For more on the event, the performers or the myriad of services and fun stuff that is offered, head over to the event Facebook page and interact with the whole gang. And tell Zebro I said hello.


Rent Party – Beating Hunger Through Rock And Roll

Chris Dickson has been hosting community support shows in his own unique way since 2009. The Rent Party is grassroots 501(c) that focuses attention on solving hunger issues in New Jersey. Utilizing multiple platforms, Rent Party programs include “Rent Party Garden,” “Take The Cake” (birthday parties for the less fortunate) and “Backpack Pals,” a program that supplies a weekend’s worth of food in a backpack for kids in the Maplewood/South Orange area. Rent Party is a completely independent concept that uses New Jersey talent to make a real difference.

From national artists such as Willie Nile, Freedy Johnston, Garland Jeffreys and James Maddock to great local luminaries such as Deena Shoshkes and The Porchistas, Rent Party has proven time after time to be one of the area’s better independent musical offerings. Chris Dickson continues to throw fresh shows onto the scene with his May 9 event that features Rich Dean And The Rainmakers, Ruby On The Vine and Bobby Mahoney And The Seventh Son.

For those not familiar with Rich Dean, his professional biography includes songwriting runs at ABC/Dunhill, Laurel Canyon Music and others. His original tune “Blue Eyes And White Lies” written for Kim Carnes was chosen by Billboard as “Pick Hit” and his composition “Tiger On The Lawn” was recorded by Paul Cotton (Poco) for his solo project. Dean also has had several of his songs recorded by artists such as Pat Wictor for his Waiting For The Water release.

The support roster also includes popular area bands such as Asbury Park sensation Bobby Mahoney, out in support of new material including the brand new hit composition, “New Age Outlaws.”

Join Rent Party and celebrate great music for an even greater cause. Minimum donations start at $5 and the event runs from 8-12 p.m. The Rent Party is located in wonderful downtown South Orange at the South Orange Elks Lodge located on 220 Prospect Street. For more information on this or upcoming shows, head over to