The mid-1800s statement from the ironically gullible David Hannum, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” has never rung truer than it does in today’s entertainment business. With major music festival costs rising into brackets that even a Kennedy would balk at, it’s become both complex and economically ridiculous for many to see their idols in person. But still they attempt it, putting up with surcharges and bundled costs that attach like sucker fish on a shark belly. Hotel costs skyrocket to ludicrous levels at festival times, joining food, beverage and unbridled merch dealers in their push to score scads of profit from Gen X’s and Millennial’s that need a master’s degree just to navigate the menu of festival badge levels, programs and package deals.
So it’s always a pleasant task to announce the coming of a truly free music festival. Free means just that. No strings, no “three-card monte” misdirection, no micro-sized disclaimers or class disparaging badge hierarchy.
The Jersey Shore Music Festival is one of a minuscule group that has maintained a forward-thinking pattern of development. And that continuing development has led to the evolution of unique entertainment options that are fostering positive growth and loyal attendee returns year after sun-filled year.
Let’s face it, this winter kicked our asses. Tensions are high, cabin fever is upon us, and people in general are ready to go completely apeshit at the next weather report about cold, rain or snow. So as the season warms our disposition, what better way to celebrate the coming of the sun than with a four-day long party at the beach?
The main reason I’m in the corner of this multiple-day beach bender is the passionate and imaginative power behind it. Motor Media is a people-oriented company that truly understands the art of the gathering, and they have been fine-tuning this one-of-a-kind event since its formative idea stage several years back. Motor Media is known for its association with many marketing successes, including Seaside Music Festival, a festival event that had six successful years before switching brand gears and downshifting into the current success of the Jersey Shore Music Festival.
The Jersey Shore Festival takes over Seaside Heights on the weekend before Memorial Day, kicking things off with a Thursday night party at Spicy Cantina on the boardwalk from about 6-10 p.m. With a celebratory buffet and drinks galore (two-for-one anybody?), the party actually doubles as a benefit for Seaside Heights firefighters. These fine folks made sure that last year’s horrific fire did minimal damage up on the boardwalk, but that fight took its toll on man power and resources. These fearless heroes deserve our donations from those who wish to contribute to the cause while partying the night away.
Another interesting option that caught my eye was the inclusion of the “Jersey Shore 4×4 Beach Campout.” What better way to soak up the sandy solitude than by getting the ole’ monster truck out on the beach and setting up camp? Bring the surf rod too, you never know what you might reel in during the night! And as an extra incentive for those who opt into this beach-bound adventure, the festival coordinators are giving campers a welcoming buffet and two-hour open bar up at Captain Hooks on the boards. Cocktails and camping seem like a sweet combination to me.
This is the type of event that looks to attract someone on the prowl for way more than the usual t-shirt and CD souvenir humdrum. And if you can figure out how to see and do everything on the nomad-inspired beach blanket bingo list, you’ll be a pleasantly worn out and idolized camper by Sunday.
One of the longest-running and uber popular Jersey Shore Music Fest events over on Hiering Avenue is the Jersey Shore Car Show. Open to anyone who wants to register, last year’s show blew the roof off and this year’s mechanical, gasoline-powered mayhem looks to push limits even further. The show raises money for the Ocean County Vocational Educational Association Scholarship fund and features a plethora of muscle cars, classic collectibles, tricked out tuner cars, monster trucks, motorcycles and so much more. I’ve rubbed elbows with everyone from pro racers to hobbyists at this event and it’s a good time for all.
Other Saturday participation events include the killer BMX show (you have to see these insane kids fly through the air) and the surf and stand up paddleboard lessons given on the beach throughout the day. And of course the vendor village spread up and down the boardwalk, touting wares from businesses of all types. Where else can you get a sausage sandwich, any number of different rock and roll hoodies, pick up a custom surfboard and get yourself a one-of-a-kind caricature of you riding a wave?
But besides bringing home a memento or two pilfered on a bright pre-summer boardwalk day, the real meat of the matter will be the musical offerings at the Jersey Shore Music Festival. New Jersey and the Tri-State Area are world famous for their A-list entertainment, and this year’s crop of rockers continue that tradition with bold style and cutting edge flair.
With a staggering roster of over 150 bands, solo performers and more, there’s definitely going to be something for everyone at the Jersey Shore Music Festival. Home state heroes such as Vextion, Sekond Skyn, Creeptones, End Of An Era and Prehistoric Forest join Philadelphia up-and-comers such as Lovecartel and The Makeshift Uprising. New York City joins the party with the sultry, gypsy buzz of Sylvana Joyce + The Moment as well as the high-octane swag-and-roll of Midnight Mob. Other bands from all over the area will converge on the ocean side stages throughout the weekend.
Festival promoter Rhyan Sharkey took a second to explain their view of the festival. “The Jersey Shore Festival provides a platform for emerging artists to get their music heard by both die-hard fans as well as new ones. By keeping all of the shows free to attend, we give festival attendees the chance to hear a band they know and love, then bounce from one venue to the next to discover new ones. There really aren’t many events like this in the area, so we enjoy this festival because it really is a champion for live original music, supporting emerging artists from all over the country.”
Located within a sensible distance of each other (no tramcars or rickshaws needed), the festival stages run the gamut from the Aztec main and pool stages to Captain Hooks, EJ’s, Jimbo’s as well as Sheridan and Hancock Avenues’ “Unplugged” stages. The weekend also features a Sunday morning breakfast performance at Riggers by Joey Evans and his “Best Of The British Invasion.”
I have been attending the Motor Media festivals since their original conception and there hasn’t been a year that I haven’t had a memorable time. If you’re tired of paying car payment-sized figures for a bracelet and being pushed into a big, muddy cage full of crazed mongoloids, come join JSMF. If you want an easy and breezy pre-summer weekend of music and activities that offer you more than overflowing Porta Potties, lunkhead security guards and $25 hot dogs, all you have to do is park your car and come pick a place to start. The staff at Jersey Shore Music Festival is friendly and helpful and ready to assist. Wherever you end up, you’ll be glad to be there.
For more information on the festivities, schedules, bands and locations, please go to jerseyshorefestival.com.