Local family, we meet again! With so much to chat about on the music front, I have decided to switch gears a little bit in this week’s column to focus on an event that recently happened that will also reflect an event that is scheduled to happen in the near future.

A few weeks ago, I helped coordinate a pre-party in Seaside Heights at one of my favorite places on the boardwalk, Spicy. Here, media, press, radio, photographers, business owners and town folk were invited to an exclusive VIP party in honor of the Gentlemen Of The Road festival happening in Seaside Heights on June 5 and 6. If you haven’t heard of this festival, I suggest you open your ears, as it’s going to be amazing. This two-day festival is curated by Mumford & Sons, and will feature performances by the band, along with other great acts such as Alabama Shakes, The Flaming Lips, Jenny Lewis, Jeff The Brotherhood, and many more. So, what went down at the pre-party, you ask? Let me explain.

Around 4:30 p.m., as stated above, local media all gathered together to meet and discuss the festival and build excitement in the town. To everyone’s surprise, Mumford & Sons were also in town shooting some footage for the festival, and prepping for their Saturday Night Live performance that weekend. The band humbly agreed to spend a few hours with the people of the town, and get everyone rowdy for what is going to be taking place in June. With amazing food, good drinks, and a strong, positive vibe, Spicy on the boardwalk was as packed as a summer night. Although the weather was dreary, the mood could not have been brighter. As everyone mingled, and awaited what was ahead, Mumford & Sons came downstairs and took hundreds of pictures, mingled with business owners and media, and even took the microphone to thank everyone for coming out, and express their gratitude for how grateful they were to be playing the Gentlemen Of The Road festival in early June. There were so many familiar faces in the room including law officials, politicians, media including The Aquarian Weekly, 95.9 The Rat, and so many more. It was awesome to see so many outlets showing their support.

So, you may ask yourself, what exactly is a “stopover?” Well, the band defines it as “a celebration of a real place, with real people. It’s a bridge between the culture of a music festival, and actual culture as lived by real-life people. We bring the music, the stage, the flags and the fans; everything else belongs to the town”. After all that Seaside Heights has been through, the people of this area could not be any more grateful to have this festival come to town. While Hurricane Sandy and the damaging fires may seem like a thing of the past, they are still impacting all of us on a daily basis. This pre-show party was just a tease of the celebrations and rebuilding that this festival will bring to this town. Mumford & Sons also stated, “We promise you’ll get more back than you can possibly imagine, and each stopover is unique.”

There are a few rules for the stopover, however: arrive early and stay late, don’t miss out on camping, hear as many bands as you can, and take the party from the stage to the town. June 5 and 6 in Seaside Heights will be all about eating and drinking locally, saying hello to new friends and faces, and hearing some of the best music one could offer.

Getting together before the show was just a tease at how wonderful this festival is going to be. I highly recommend you invest in some weekend passes, as you won’t regret it. Mumford & Sons also have released their two new singles off of their soon-to-be-released album, “Wolf” and “Believe,” and all of the partygoers seemed to really be digging their new plugged-in style. For more information on this stopover, visit gentlemenoftheroad.com. If the pre-show party was a night to remember, I cannot imagine what is in store for us!

Until next week, my friends, get out to an event that will benefit us all locally, for that’s what we’re all about!

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