Musicians pay tribute to Black Potatoe, ‘The Little Festival That Could’

black potatoe farewell

Pat O’Shea will perform at the Black Potatoe Music Festival, July 13.

Singer-songwriter Susan Werner is not performing at the Black Potatoe Music Festival this year. But she has been in its lineup in the past, several times, and paid tribute to it in song, in a video posted on the festival’s Facebook page last week.

“It was not called The Avocado Fest, it was not called The Green Tomato/The best fest Jersey folks have ever known, it’s what they call Black Potatoe,” she sang in the video (which you can watch below).

Other Black Potatoe performers, past and present, sent video messages as well.

“I always called it The Little Festival That Could, because it can, it has, and no doubt it will again, this weekend,” said Pat O’Shea, who has performed there in the past — collaborating with Levon Helm and other artists, and on his own — and will be there again, July 13 at 8:20 p.m.

Also posted on the Facebook page was a jam on “Turn on Your Love Light,” from about 15 years ago, featuring The Matt Angus Thing with keyboard wizard Bernie Worrell, legendary bassist Jerry Jemmott and others. You can watch that below, too.

The 23rd and final edition of the festival, which focuses on independent music and takes place outdoors at the Red Mill Museum in Clinton, will be presented on July 11-14. (Update: The July 11 show has been cancelled because of rain). The Matt Angus Thing, led by festival founder Matt “Angus” Williams, traditionally closes the Saturday show, and will do so again this year, July 13; the festival will also function as a record release party for a new album by Williams, Songs From a Jailhouse in Bisbee.

Williams will also perform a festival-ending duets set with Black Potatoe mainstay Gregg Cagno, July 14. The opening night, July 11, will allow for more collaboration, with a closing set by the Black Potatoe All Stars. And July 12 will end with Nalani & Sarina, the Jersey-based duo who have become festival regulars in recent years.

Other performers throughout the four days will include the Karl Dietel Five, Caren Kennedy, The Bryan Hansen Band, Jenny & the Felines, Michael Patrick, Pyrenesia, The Sharar Sisters, Jack Tannehill, The Mike Montrey Band, KC Cary, Helen O’Shea & the Shanakees, and Lisa & Lori Brigantino.

Here is the lineup. For information and to purchase tickets, visit



6 p.m.: Joe Janci
6:30 p.m.:
Dan Kassal
7:20 p.m.:
Bryan Hansen Band
8:20 p.m.: Caren Kennedy Band
9:20 p.m.: Black Potatoe All-Stars


6 p.m.: Jay Thatcher, Steve O’Malley and Owen O’Malley
6:30 p.m.:
Andy Dunn
7 p.m.: TBA
7:30 p.m.: Michael Patrick
8:20 p.m.: Karl Dietel Five
9:20 p.m.: Nalani & Sarina




Noon: The Collins Brothers
12:30 p.m.: Chelsea Carlson
1 p.m.: Scott Hallock
1:30 p.m.: Lisa & Lori Brigantino
2:20 p.m.: Blues Times Two
3:20 p.m.: Jeb Jones
4:20 p.m.: Mike Montrey Band
5:20 p.m.: Jenny & the Felines
6:20 p.m.: Rennie Pincus
7:20 p.m.: Pyrenesia
8:20 p.m.: Pat O’Shea
9:20 p.m.: The Matt Angus Thing


Noon: PD Brody
12:30 p.m.: Dan LaVoie
1 p.m.:
Helen O’Shea & the Shanakees
1:30 p.m.:
Susan Cattaneo
2:20 p.m.:
Jack Tannehill
3:20 p.m.:
Cliff Hillis
4:20 p.m.:
Sharrar Sisters
5:20 p.m.: The Promise Is Hope
6:20 p.m.: KC Cary
7:20 p.m.: Gregg Cagno
8:20 p.m.: Matt Angus & Gregg Cagno (acoustic)


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