CLARK—The 12th Annual Union County MusicFest is set for Sept. 12 and Sept. 13 at Oak Ridge Park in Clark, with headlining acts Third Eye Blind and Pete Yorn. They Might be Giants, fresh off a Grammy-winning children’s project, will perform a musical set for kids, and also a rock set on Sunday, Sept. 13.
Every year, MusicFest attracts tens of thousands of visitors, making the event one of the state’s premier family entertainment draws. This year’s event runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on both days anal will feature many new opportunities for family fun with a family-style carnival—The County Fair at MusicFest—complete with a Ferris wheel and other popular rides, midway games and more. MusicFest also features the popular Kids Kingdom, an interactive exhibition by Major League Baseball, more food and new vendors, plus a walkathon and a 5k walk/run for charity.
Among the musical offerings, a contingent of local rising talent will be featured on a stage dedicated to acts sponsored by The Crossroads, a music venue and restaurant in Garwood. The Fusion Arts and Music Collaboration, a one-of-a-kind multi-sensory cultural arts showcase where art, dance, film, and fashion converge, will also be added this year, featuring Union County artists.
Performing artists confirmed for Saturday are the headliner, Third Eye Blind, the alt-rock act with mega-hits like “Never Let You Go,” “Jumper,” “Semi-Charmed Life,” and “How’s It Going To Be,”-all from their first two albums in the late 90s. Third Eye Blind released a new album, titled “Ursa Major,” in August on the heels of the radio single, “Don’t Believe a Word.”
Saturday’s musical lineup also features:
• Tommy James and the Shondells—known for some of the great rock ‘n’ roll anthems of all-time, including, “Mony, Mony,” “I Think We’re Alone Now,” and “Crimson and Clover.”
• Uncle Kracker—a rock, country, and rap rock hitmaker, known for his smash singles “Follow Me” and “Drift Away.” He headlines the second stage on Saturday. Featuring new single “Smile,” his latest album, “Happy Hour” will be officially released on Sept. 15.
• Kenny Wayne Shepherd—the one-time child guitar prodigy is now a full-fledged blues guitarist, singer and songwriter who electrifies audiences around the world with his virtuosity.
• The Minus 5—a rock collective featuring REM. guitarist Peter Buck and led by the legendary underground pop icon Scott McCaughey, is touring in support of its latest album, “Killingsworth.”
• The Alarm—Led by Mike Peters, The Alarm has sold more than 5 million records worldwide, and has enjoyed hits in the three decades since being founded in 1981. Hits include “Sold me Down the River,” “Rain in the Summertime,” and “68 Guns.”
• Fastball—recently released their fifth studio album, and along the way, they have accumulated a Grammy nomination and hit singles such as “The Way,” and “Out of My Head.”
• Cy Cumin—lead singer of the 80s alt-band The Fixx has been turning out solo material at a furious rate to the delight of fans who can’t get enough of his arrestingly distinctive vocal style and lyrics that are by turn witty, wise, and evocative
• Nick Harper—a little Zappa here, a touch of Monty Python there, it’s all thrown into the mix of a Nick Harper set.
• Daniellia Cotton—this Hopewell, New Jersey, native returns to MusicFest to headline the Crossroads Stage presented by Walmart on Saturday. Her natural gift—raw, searing vocal chops combined with a deep, buttery tone—draws from different rich traditions that she absorbed early in her youth
• The Reveling—featuring New Jersey’s Jay Weinberg on drums (son of E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg), The Reveling brings together mid-90s melodic hardcore and punk with the urgency of today’s post-hardcore sound.
Sunday’s musical lineup will feature Pete Yorn, a New Jersey native, headlining and closing out MusicFest.
A year after moving to Los Angeles in 2000, the Montville High School graduate released his debut album, “Musicforthemorningafter,” and scored all of the music to the film, “Me, Myself and Irene,” He also contributed the songs “Strange Condition” and “Just Another” to the film and soundtrack. “Just Another” was also featured on the television shows Veronica Mars, Felicity, Dawsons Creek, and Smallville.
Also confirmed to perform on Sunday:
• The Gin Blossoms—this power pop-rock act recorded one of the most influential rock albums of the 90s, “New Miserable Experience,” a platinum record, and scored a number of memorable hits including “Pound Out About You” and “Hey Jealousy”. After a hiatus, the band recorded the album “Long Time Gone” in 2006.
• They Might Be Giants—a beloved fixture on the alt-indie scene, the Brooklyn-based duo was founded 20-something years back by John Flansburgh and John Limiell. In recent years, TMBG has become a Grammy-wimring kids’ band. They will play two sets at MusicFest, the first of which will concentrate on their children’s music. Their headlining rock set will close out the second stage.
• 1910 Fruitgum Company—the 1960s-era bubblegum act from Linden rocketed onto the national charts in 1968 with its first single “Simon Says.” Other smash hits followed, including”1-2-3 Red Light,” “Indian Giver” and “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy.”
• Tonic—founded in 1993 by lead singer Emerson Hart and guitarist Jeff Russo, Tonic’s sensational debut album, 1996’s ‘Lemon Parade’ included the hits “If You Could Only See,” “Open Up Your Eyes,” and “Casual Affair.” 2002’s “Head On Straight” earned two Grammy nominations.
• Glenn Tilbrook and the Fluffers—known for powering the pop-rock group, Squeeze to worldwide fame, Tilbrook created The Fluffers in 2003 to augment his solo act. Last year, The Fluffers released their first single, “Binga Bong,” ahead of the “Pandemonium Ensues” album released earlier this year.
• The Spring Standards—From small towns to big cities, they perform on stage with spirit, spontaneity, and a style all their own. Each member of the New York based-band is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, and they create a sound that might be expected from a band twice their size
• The Alternate Routes—Headlining the Crossroads Stage presented by Wahtrart on Sunday, the Connecticut-based group writes and performs beautiful ballads and earthy rock melodies. Singer Tim Warren’s voice holds an emotional presence that articulates sincerity.
Other bands appearing on the Crossroads Stage on Saturday and Sunday include: JoBonnano, School of Rock, Matt Koziol Band, Jay Touhey, Beale Street Love, and The Embracers.