For more than two decades, The Black Potatoe Music Festival has been a highlight of the New Jersey summer concert season, presenting established stars such as Levon Helm, Jorma Kaukonen, Dickey Betts, The Smithereens and Buckwheat Zydeco, as well as countless independent artists worthy of more exposure. But the festival’s 2019 edition — taking place at the Red Mill Museum in Clinton, July 12-14 — will be its last, organizer Matt Angus has announced.
In a letter to fans, Angus — who performs annually at the festival with his band, The Matt Angus Thing — explained why he believes the festival has “run its course.” One main reason is that he moved to Arizona three years ago, and it’s difficult to organize a festival from so far away. Another is that he has a number of unfinished recording projects that he wants to spend more time on.
“The Matt Angus Thing has a full album with Pinetop Perkins that we have never mixed or mastered,” he wrote. ” There are also unreleased recordings with Garth Hudson, Bernie Worrell, Honeyboy Edwards and Levon Helm, all of which I would love to spend some time on.”
Angus is also working on a movie, “The Decade,” which will have a soundtrack of independent music.
“Black Potatoe is not ending, we are changing our physical location and adjusting our focus with the same intent of moving new creative independent projects forward,” he wrote.
“Black Potatoe is not going away. Independent music is not going away. The struggle for amazing artists to get heard is not going to stop and they continue to need your help and support. Whatever community, no matter how big or how small we have created, it must continue to support those independents that have all the talent in the world but no place to shine. Indie music shines because of those who listen, because of those who support, because of those who care. I know the potatoeheads do all three and will continue to.
“I thank you all for an incredible 23 years and I look forward to seeing you all in the future — maybe at a film screening, maybe as I tour with an acoustic duo or a four-piece punk band (probably not practical). I will be around, I will be listening and I will enjoy hearing of the great finds from those of you that have enlightened me over the years.”
The lineup for the 2019 festival has not been announced yet; artist submissions are currently being taken. For information and updates, visit the festival’s Facebook page.