NJ arts events: what’s coming up in 2019



The Rolling Stones (from left, Ron Wood, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts) perform at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, June 13 and 17.

Throughout the year, I keep a page on NJArts.net titled “Major Events”; it’s devoted to some of the biggest New Jersey arts events coming up in the months ahead: Festivals, major concerts, particularly notable plays and stuff like that. Now that it’s the first week of January, it seemed like a good time to (1) remind people that it’s there and (2) share what happens to be there now, as a sort of preview of 2019.

You can always find it at njarts.net/the-big-list. (I called it “The Big List” before changing the title to Major Events.”) Here is what’s on it now, with events ranging from January to September, and links to all of them.

Jan. 11-21: The Light of Day Festival raises money for Parkinson’s Disease research with concerts in Asbury Park, Montclair, Philadelphia and New York. Performers this year include Low Cut Connie, Willie Nile, Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers, Remember Jones, The Weeklings, Dramarama, John Eddie, Jesse Malin, Peter Asher, Steve Forbert, Jeffrey Gaines, Williams Honor, James Maddock, Danielia Cotton and countless others.

Jan. 29-Feb. 24: The George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick will mount a world premiere production of “Little Girl Blue — The Nina Simone Musical.”

Feb. 2-3: The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company celebrates the Year of the Pig at Chinese New Year’s Celebration shows at the Victoria Theater at NJPAC.

Feb. 15: For the second year in a row, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes will perform love songs the week of Valentine’s Day, at their old stomping grounds, the Stone Pony in Asbury Park.

Feb. 15-17: “Gatz,” presented by the Elevator Repair Service company at the Berlind Theatre at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, is a theatrical presentation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel “The Great Gatsby,” including every single word. It lasts nearly eight hours, including a dinner break and two short intermissions.

March 1: Rapper Snoop Dogg will star in a play — yes, a play, titled “Redemption of a Dogg” — at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark.


March 2: Elton John brings his final tour, titled Farewell Yellow Brick Road, to the Prudential Center in Newark.

March 9: Fleetwood Mac brings its new lineup (with Neil Finn of Crowded House and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers joining Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood) to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. The tour will also come to the Prudential Center in Newark, March 13.

March 21-24: Montclair Literary Festival. With Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Thompson, Dani Shapiro, Sigrid Nuñez, Nina Krushcheva and many others.

March 29: Expect instrumental fireworks when the Experience Hendrix Tour comes to Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark with Joe Satriani, Dave Mustaine, Jonny Lang, Taj Mahal, Dweezil Zappa, Eric Johnson, Mato Nanji, The Slide Brothers, Billy Cox, dUg Pinnick, Henri Brown, Kevin McCormick, Chris Layton and Kenny Aronoff. The tour also comes to the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, April 2.

March 29-31: The long-running Fest for Beatles Fans, a celebration of all things Fab, presents its 2019 edition at the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City. Guests will include Denny Laine and Laurence Juber of Paul McCartney’s Wings; Alan White of Yes (who also played with John Lennon); Lennon producer and engineer Jack Douglas; former Apple Records general manager Jack Oliver and many others.

April 4-May 5: “Benny & Joon,” a musical based on the 1993 film that co-starred Johnny Depp and Mary Stuart Masterson, will make its East Coast premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn.

April 12-14: Exit Zero Jazz Festival in Cape May. With Chick Corea Trilogy, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, José James, Lizz Wright, Red Baraat, others.

April 25-28: Asbury Park Music and Film Festival. Schedule TBA.

April 27: New Jersey Folk Festival at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

May 3-12: New Jersey’s leading film festival, the Montclair Film Festival, brings dozens of screenings and special events to various Montclair venues.


May 31-June 2: The 30th annual Crawfish Fest takes place at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, with Aaron Neville, The Marcus King Band, The Rebirth Brass Band, Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience, Cowboy Mouth, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Walter “Wolfman” Washington and many others.

June 13, 17: In what may possibly be their last New Jersey shows ever, The Rolling Stones bring their No Filter Tour to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.

June 19-23: John Prine will headline the Rockland-Bergen Music Festival, which will take place at various locations in Tappan, N.Y., and Piermont, N.Y.

June 29-30: The Rock, Ribs & Ridges festival offers music, food and camping at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, with sets by Southside Johnny & the Asbury jukes also with 38 Special, The Outlaws, The Marshall Tucker Band, the Artimus Pyle Band and Blackfoot,

July 12-14: The 23rd annual (and final) Black Potatoe Music Festival takes place at the Red Mill Museum in Clinton. Artists TBA.

July 26-28: XPoNential Music Festival at the BB&T Pavilion and Wiggins Park in Camden. Artists TBA.

July 26-28: The QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning at the Solberg Airport in Readington will offer its usual attraction of colorful, inventive balloons, plus musical acts TBA and other attractions.

July 28: Hootie & the Blowfish’s reunion tour stops at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, with Barenaked Ladies opening.

Aug. 14: Kiss brings its latest farewell tour, the End of the Road Tour, to the Prudential Center in Newark.

Aug. 30-31 and Sept. 1: Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, The Traveling McCourys, The Gibson Brothers and Balsam Range will be among the performers at the Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival at the Salem County Fairgrounds in Woodstown.

Sept. 21-22: The second annual Sea.Hear.Now Festival comes to Asbury Park, with artists TBA.

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