South by South Orange fest aims for ‘Creative Collisions’

The logo for the South by South Orange festival.

The logo for the South by South Orange festival.

“Creative Collisions” is the theme of the first South by South Orange festival, which will take place in various downtown South Orange venues, including the South Orange Performing Arts Center, June 26-28. The complete schedule will be announced tomorrow on, and that’s when tickets will go on sale, as well, at noon.

The festival begins with the Tech(ing) Ball at SOPAC the night of June 26, with more events from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 27 and noon to 5:30 p.m. June 28. Other venues will include the Above Restaurant and Bar, the Gaslight Brewery and Restaurant, and Ricalton’s Village Tavern, and there also will be a “Creative Midway” featuring various arts projects in Spiotta Park.

Performers confirmed at a Tuesday press conference at Seton Hall University included Will Calhoun (drummer of the band Living Colour), Tomás Doncker and Mike Griot (who all attended the press conference, with Doncker and Griot performing a jazz-blues guitar-bass-and-vocals duet), as well as Gypsy jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel and singer Vivian Sessoms

Stephane Wrembel will be among the performers at the South by South Orange festival.

Stephane Wrembel will be among the performers at the South by South Orange festival.

The music will be very eclectic. “We’re going to assume our audience likes more than one thing,” said Griot, who will be leading the event’s house band. Griot added that the band will put together a tribute to the late Joe Cocker featuring singer Vivian Sessoms, who has toured as a member of Cocker’s band.

South Orange village trustee Stephen Schnall, the festival’s founder, discussed some of the panel discussions that will take place, including one on creating commercial success for your art, and another on storytelling in the digital age.

As part of the Tech(ing) ball, app developers will be designing an app for South Orange, live, with what they’re doing being projected onto a big screen. Simultaneously, a jazz band will react to the developers’ work through their music. The music, in theory, then influences the developers as well.

Tickets, priced at $25 (with a discount for those who buy early), include admission to all festival events.

For more information, including a more complete list of performers, visit tomorrow.

Seton Hall is co-producing the event, though everything will take place in downtown South Orange, and not at the university itself.

Organizers are planning to make this an annual event.


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