CRANFORD—The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders in conjunction with presenting sponsor Overlook Hospital has confirmed two jam-packed days of music on three stages at MusicFest ‘08, including Everclear, who will headline Friday, Sept. 5, and The B-52’s, who will headline on Saturday, Sept. 6, at Nomahegan Park in Cranford.
Free to the public, the eleventh installment of this annual event will feature more than 20 performers, among them a contingent of rising musical stars from New Jersey on both days.
Last year, a single-day version of MusicFest drew an estimated 50,000 attendees to take in two stages of music, making it one of the state’s premier entertainment draws. Beyond expanding to two days, this year’s event will feature even more musical entertainment on a third stage, a larger version of Kids Kingdom in a new location in the park, additional food vendors, a marketplace, and the return of the Love, Hope, Strength charity walkathon, paired with a newly added 5k race.
MusicFest ‘08 will officially open Friday, Sept. 5, at 3 p.m. The music will continue bright and early on Saturday, Sept. 6, at 8 a.m. to coincide with registration for the Rock On Walkathon and 5k Rock N’ Run. Both nights will close at 10 p.m. Lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets are welcome.
Friday’s musical highlights will include:
• Everclear, the alternative rock band originally formed in Portland, Ore., and known for such hits as “Santa Monica,” and “Father of Mine.” The Art Alexakis-led group will take the stage at approximately 8 p.m.
• Cracker, a modern rock group formed by former Camper Van Beethoven frontman David Lowery. The band rose to prominence in the 1990s, scoring hits with “Low,” “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)” and “Get Off This.”
• Jenny Owen Youngs, a singer/song writer from Montclair, N.J., who has received strong national reviews for her debut album, “Batten the Hatches.”
Saturday’s musical highlights will include:
• A headlining set by legendary party rock band, The B-52’s. Known for scores of hits, including “Love Shack,” “Rock Lobster,” “Private Idaho” and “Roam,” the band released “Funplex,” its first new studio album in 16 years, in March to universally positive reviews. The band will close out MusicFest ‘08 with a bang.
• Tokyo Police Club, a young indie rock band from Toronto that has been featured on MTV, and critically acclaimed in Spin, Rolling Stone and other leading music publications since the release of their full-length debut, “Elephant Shell,” earlier this year.
• The Gin Blossoms, a power-pop act whose classic 1992 album, “New Miserable Experience” sold 3 million records thanks to several hits, including “Hey Jealousy,” “Found Out About You” and “Allison Road.”
• Rock N’ Roll Hall of Famer Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals. The voice of one of the biggest groups in the country from 1965-69 will perform such beloved hits as “Good Lovin’,” “Groovin’,” “A Girl Like You,” “A Beautiful Morning” and “People Got to Be Free.”
• Dan Zanes, described by People magazine as “the crown prince of contemporary kid’s music.” A Grammy award-winning artist and former member of legendary rock band The Del Fuegos, Zanes and his band are regularly seen and heard on PBS’ “Sesame Street” and Playhouse Disney, and known far and wide for his incredible family-friendly musical performances.
Other attractions will include:
• The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, a state-of-the-art mobile audio and video recording studio and educational vehicle will deliver a hands-on musical experience for MusicFest ‘08 attendees.
• The Major League Baseball Traveling Road Show, which includes pitching and batting cages and video game kiosks, was a very popular attraction at last year’s event and will return to the MusicFest grounds in 2008.
• As previously announced, the Rock on! Walkathon and 5k Rock N’ Run (on a certified USATF course) will open the festival on Saturday, September 6 (7:30 a.m. registration, 9 a.m. run start, 9:15 a.m. walk start) to benefit the Love Hope Strength Foundation (www.lovehopestrength.org) and The Valerie Fund (www.thevaleriefund.org).
• Saturday includes Kids Kingdom Traveling Jubilee, an entertainment show featuring rides and amusements for children, which will be staged in an expanded area at Shane Walsh Field, which is adjoining Nomahegan Park. Kids Kingdom makes several stops in Union County Parks through the year, concluding with MusicFest.
In the event of rain, MusicFest will be held at Kean University, however the Rock on! Walkathon and 5K Rock N’ Run will be held in Cranford. Additional information is available at ucmusicfest.com.