Surprising twists at WNTI Stage festival



WNTI Stage is putting a new twist on the rock and roots music festival formula by booking, in addition to some of the usual suspects (i.e., the kind of bands and singer-songwriters who perform at festivals like these), ’60s pop idol Chubby Checker.

Checker — who is still, apparently, twisting at 73 — will headline the last day of the festival, July 19, following the Grand Slambovians, on July 17, and The Smithereens, on July 18. The festival, which is sponsored by Hackettstown-based radio station WNTI (91.9 FM), and which evolved out of the now-defunct Knowlton Riverfest, has one other curveball up its sleeve, too: The Ed Palermo Big Band’s tribute to Frank Zappa, July 17.

(And here’s an interesting piece of trivia: Steve Forbert, who plays immediately before The Smithereens on the main stage on July 18, co-wrote “Groovy Tuesday” from The Smithereens’ 1986 debut album, Especially for You. Perhaps they’ll take advantage of the opportunity to perform the song together?)

The festival takes place at the Lions Club Pavilion in Columbia. To buy tickets and get other information, visit

Here is the schedule:

Main Stage
7 p.m.: Ed Palermo Big Band (Frank Zappa tribute)
9 p.m.: The Grand Slambovians

Cafe Stage
6 p.m.: The Steve Kirchuk Trio
8:30 p.m.: The Dirty Blondes

Main Stage
12:30 p.m.: WNTI Band (featuring WNTI disc jockeys)
2 p.m.: Crop Circle Agents
3:30 p.m.: Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentleman
5 p.m.: Defending Champions
6:30 p.m.: The Steve Forbert Trio
8:30 p.m.: The Smithereens

Cafe Stage
Noon: Don Eliker
1:30 p.m.: Irish Harpers
3 p.m.: Carlos Gonçalves and Mace Gill
4:30 p.m.: Skysleeper
6 p.m.: Alex Radus Trio
8 p.m.: Natalia Zukerman

Main Stage
12:30 p.m.: Gospel Artists TBA
2 p.m.: Chocolate Steele
3:30 p.m.: Philadelphia Funk Authority
5 p.m.: Chubby Checker

Cafe Stage
Noon: Jesse Bardwell (of the Quimby Mountain Band)
1:30 p.m.: Tim Rice
3 p.m.: Nalani & Sarina
4:40 p.m.: Bill Kelly


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1 comment

Scott Cumming July 21, 2015 - 9:17 pm

It was an absolutely fantastic weekend that you should not miss next year!
Incredibly affordable ticket & top notch music!


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