Top 10 Arts Events of Week: Barefoot Country Music Fest, Summer Jam, Kiss, more

barefoot country preview

Carrie Underwood will co-headline the Barefoot Country Music Fest, taking place on the beach in Wildwood.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Aug. 26.


The Barefoot Country Music Festival, taking place Aug. 19-22 in on the Wildwood beach (between the two Morey’s Piers), is set to be New Jersey’s largest country music event, ever, with dozens of artists including Carrie Underwood, the Zac Brown Band, Dan + Shay, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lee Brice, Billy Currington and Jon Pardi, on three stages. The festival’s debut was originally scheduled for the summer of 2020, but was postponed to this summer because of the pandemic. See the complete schedule here.

New Jersey’s biggest annual hip-hop event, Hot 97’s Summer Jam, takes place at MetLife Stadium in with East Rutherford, Aug. 22 at 6:30 p.m., with A Boogie, DaBaby, Migos, Meek Mill, Swizz Beatz’ tribute to DMX, Moneybagg Yo, Polo G, CJ & Friends (featuring Farruko and El Alfa), DJ Megan Ryte & Friends, Rowdy Rebel & Bobby Shmurda, and Saweetie. Plus, there will be artists on the “Festival Stage” in the parking lot, before the show, including Conway, Roc Marci, Vel the Wonder, Flee Lord, Stove God Cooks, The Winners Circle (Sleepy Hallow, Sheff G and Eli Fross), Drewski & Friends, Coi Leray and Yung Bleu.

More than 20 artists are confirmed for “WE LOVE NYC: The Homecoming Concert,” taking place on the Great Lawn of Central Park, Aug. 21 at 5 p.m., with a live broadcast on CNN, CNN International and CNN en Español (the concert will be available online through CNN as well). Among the participants will be Paul Simon, Jennifer Hudson, Carlos Santana, Earth Wind & Fire, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen (making a guest appearance with Smith), Andrea Bocelli, Elvis Costello, Wyclef Jean, LL Cool J, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, The Killers, Rob Thomas, Jimmy Fallon, Journey, Barry Manilow and Jon Batiste. According to the city of New York’s web site, the concert is “a celebration of New York City’s comeback” and “will promote health, safety, and equity.”


• Kiss is advertising its current tour as “The Final Tour Ever.” They’ve done that before, but who knows, maybe this time it’s true. The band — currently featuring co-founders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons along with drummer Eric Singer and guitarist Tommy Thayer — performs at the Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, Aug. 21 at 8 p.m. David Garibaldi, a “performance painter” who has appeared on “America’s Got Talent,” opens; expect him to create paintings of Kiss and/or other musicians on the spot.

Classic-rock icons James Taylor and Jackson Browne will perform separate sets, and maybe do a couple of songs together, Aug. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden; and Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel.

Alanis Morissette, whose songs were introduced to new audiences via the jukebox musical “Jagged Little Pill” (which opened on Broadway in 2019 and was forced to close because of the pandemic, but will reopen in October), booked a tour last year (with Garbage and Liz Phair opening) that was designed to celebrate the 25th anniversary of her breakthrough Jagged Little Pill album. It was postponed, of course, because of the pandemic. But it is on again, with Cat Power replacing Phair, and will come to the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m.; and the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.


The Woodbridge Wednesdays series — free, socially distanced concerts, taking place on the Woodbridge High School football field — has had a couple of last-minute changes, with James Maddock replacing Savoy Brown, Aug. 18, and Amy Helm replacing the Honey Island Swamp Band, Aug. 25. SaRon Crenshaw opens for Maddock; Kerri Powers for Helm. (Willie Nile and Emily Duff close the series, Sept. 1.) All shows are at 7:30 p.m.

The Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center presents a free concert, “An Evening of Broadway: The Music of Stephen Sondheim,” Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. at Lincoln Harbor Park on the Weehawken Waterfront, with Broadway veterans such as Rema Webb, Jessica Vosk and Danny Gardner singing, and “CBS News Sunday Morning” contributor Nancy Giles hosting.

Veteran DJ Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow, who previously presented “Palisades Park Reunion” shows at State Fair Meadowlands in East Rutherford, will do so this year at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel. Tony Orlando, Bobby Rydell and The Capris will perform at the show, which takes place at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 26. The show is free, although donations to the Garden State Arts Foundation will be welcomed.

The foundation has been presenting free classical, jazz and pop shows such as this one at the PNC Bank Arts Center (originally known as the Garden State Arts Center) since 1999.

A radio mainstay in the New York area since the 1960s, Morrow can currently be heard from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturdays on “Cousin Brucie’s Saturday Night Rock & Roll Party” on WABC (770 AM and 107.1 FM).

Minhaj performs in New Brunswick, and Red Bank this month.


• Hasan Minhaj, the former “Daily Show” correspondent whose “Patriot Act” show was featured on Netflix from 2018 to 2010, will perform at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, Aug. 19 at 8 p.m., Aug. 20-21 at 7 and 9:30 p.m., and Aug. 22 at 7 p.m.; and at the Two River Theater in Red Bank, Aug. 26 at 8 p.m.; Aug. 27-28 at 6:30 and 9 p.m.; and Aug. 29 at 3 p.m.

These shows are titled “Experiment Time” and were booked to give him an opportunity to work on material for his upcoming show, “The King’s Jester,” which will come to larger venues from the fall to the spring, including Radio City Music Hall in New York (Feb. 25-26).


Since launching in September 2014,, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.


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