MIDDLETOWN – Thousands are anticipated to turn out for the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation’s (JSJBF) Jazz and Blues Summer Series Festivals, 2011 winner of the Discover Jersey Arts’ People’s Choice Award for “Best Music Festival.”
The Summer Series kicks off at the Middletown Jazz and Blues Festival, sponsored by Investors Bank, from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 7, on the grounds of the Middletown Arts Center, 36 Church St.
The day’s headliner is Sonny Kenn and The Upstage Jam Band. Sonny has been burning up the Jersey Shore music scene since opening for Jerry Lee Lewis in 1965. Sonny and a group of friends from his days at Asbury Park’s Upstage Club will reunite again on stage at the jazz and bluesfestival as the Upstage Jam Band. The core blues band is comprised of Kenn, Ricky DeSarno, Joe Petillo, Vini Lopez and Chris Plunkett.
The jazz and blues festival continues 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 21, at Riverfront Park in Point Pleasant Borough and then on Aug. 25 from noon to 9:30 p.m. at the Promenade in Long Branch.
Each date in the series will feature crowd-pleasing jazz and blues musicians, along with food, crafters and activities for the entire family.
Attendees are urged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for seating. Dogs are allowed on leash. Beer and wine gardens will be part of the festivities at the Middletown and Point Pleasant venues.
The festivals are free to the public and all ages are welcome to attend. Each year, sponsor donations from the events raise essential funds for the nonprofit Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation’s operational expenses.
The lineup for the Middletown event is:
Dan Wilensky Quartet (jazz) from noon to 1 p.m.; Red Bank Blues Band (smooth and jazzy blues) from 1:20 to 2:20 p.m.; Gordon James Band (jazz meets MoTown and R&B) from 2:35 to 3:35 p.m.; Miss Sherri Cool Kids Concert in the Middletown Arts Center Theater (kindie rock) from 3 to 4 p.m.; Dean Shot (hard-rocking, high-energy blues) from 3:50 to 4:50 p.m.; Stormin’ Norman Seldin and His Allstar Band (Jersey-style rock and blues) from 5:10 to 6:10; and headliner Sonny Kenn and the Upstage Jam Band (Blues and Fast Rock)from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
“The volunteer staff and board of the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation have been honored to present jazz and blues fans of all ages with our award-winning Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Festivals for 20 years. The events are widely-anticipated by thousands of residents and visitors to the Jersey Shore,” said Dennis Eschbach, event director, Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Festivals. “Thanks to the dedication of our sponsors, musicians and host towns, we anticipate this year’s festivals to be bigger and better than ever! “
For more information on the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Festivals Summer Series, visit www.jsjbf.org or find it on Facebook at Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Festivals and on Twitter @JSJazzBluesFest.
The Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation (JSJBF) is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation whose mission is to preserve, promote and perpetuate jazz and blues in the northern New Jersey shore region through performance and education.