Greetings from The Asbury Park Music and Film Festival
The Asbury Park Music and Film Festival: This Weekend!
The hottest and finest place in the New Jersey music scene right now is Asbury Park. It’s a music lovers paradise and dream come true! From Convention Hall, The Paramount Theatre, The Stone Pony, The Wonder Bar, House of Independents, and the newly opened Asbury Park Lanes to the seasonal Stone Pony Summer Stage, the 100% free Jams on the Sand at Anchor’s Bend, and the inaugural Sea.Hear.Now Festival arriving in late September, there is music filling the air throughout the year. As a music connoisseur, this is the reason I make the 2.5 hour roundtrip journey at least once a week. Not only is there inspiring music, but add historic venues, a boardwalk, sand and the Atlantic Ocean, and an occasional hour of vintage pinball at Silverball Museum makes this trip like no other in the tri-state area. To celebrate the rich history of music and film intertwined together inside some of these historic venues, the 4th annual Asbury Park Music and Film Festival (APMFF) is this weekend’s event not to be missed!
Over the three-day festival, there will be almost 35 live music performances, over 40 film screenings, and numerous intimate Q&A’s with the directors and musicians of the films. All these events are within walking distance of each other, with the exception of House of Independents, which is a short five-minute drive away. APMFF is truly unique as it celebrates the role of music and film together in one festival. Think about it…how many soundtracks do you own and love like Forrest Gump, Purple Rain, or Galaxy of the Guardians? The songs contained in the soundtrack not only bring a deeper emotional feeling to the film but also transport us back to a moment in time where we remember exactly where we were and how we were feeling. Simply said, without music in movies they just wouldn’t be as satisfying or enjoyable and that is why the APMFF is so important and a one-of-a-kind event that needs to be experienced.
The unofficial kickoff is Thursday night at The House of Independents with Overlake, Rituals of Mine, and Built to Spill. However, the official start to APMFF is Friday night with the World Premiere of Michael Franti’s film Stay Human, followed by a panel discussion and acoustic show. I have personally met Michael Franti numerous times over the past few years and he is one of the most generous, kind, and authentic human beings around. I’m really looking forward to his film as well as his acoustic performance. Other Friday highlights include Bobby Bandiera and Friends at The Stone Pony and The North Mississippi All-Stars at House of Independents.
Last year, over 15,000 people descended upon Asbury Park over three days and this year, expectations are ever higher with great weather forecasted and more events planned than ever. Saturday’s highlights include Danny Devito (Paramount Theatre) and rapper Wycleaf Jean (The Stone Pony) who are both N.J. natives, reggae/rock trio Sublime with Rome at Convention Hall, and The World Premiere of Break on Thru: A Celebration of Ray Manzarek and The Doors with a Q&A panel featuring John Densmore of The Doors and Justin Kreutzmann, the film’s producer at House of Independents.
In addition to these amazing shows, there are close to 100 additional events starting at 11 a.m. They will be running at six different locations throughout the day and there will be something for everyone, including the kids.
On Sunday, the festivities start a little earlier at 10am and highlights include The Word Premiere of Long Strange Trip, the Untold Story of The Grateful Dead followed by a Q&A with produces Justin Kreutzmann and Eric Eisner at House of Independents, and The Kitchen Dwellers at The Wonder Bar. The closing act of the APMFF festival is Jamband veterans Gov’t Mule at the Paramount Theatre. Having seen Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule perform last month for a benefit concert, I am expecting a show of unexpected beauty and magic.
Proceeds from The APMFF benefit charities such as the Hope Academy, The Hip Hop Institute, and the Asbury Park Summer Recreation Music Camp by providing music education and instruments to kids who are less fortunate. By attending, you are supporting the next generation of Bruce Springsteen’s, Bon Jovi’s, Wycleaf Jean’s, and Danny Devito’s. It’s a win-win situation as you get to see some amazing films and performances while your money supports keeping these kids off the streets and out of trouble while learning valuable skills and giving them life-changing experiences. Speaking of Bruce Springsteen, he made a special guest appearance in 2017 at APMFF and I wonder who might show up this year unannounced?
Tickets can be purchased directly from the APMFF website for individual events or a festival ticket. Come join me for the weekend and support a great cause, have some fun by the beach, see some great films, and hear some amazing music! Peace, love, and music for all.
(photos courtesy of Asbury Park Music and Film Festival’s FB)