Top 12 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Morristown Jazz and Blues Festival, Kenny Chesney, more

Davy Knowles, Morristown

Davy Knowles headlines the Morristown Jazz and Blues Festival.

A roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Aug. 19.


Thirtysomething British blues-rock phenom Davy Knowles headlines the eighth annual Morristown Jazz and Blues Festival, a free, outdoor event taking place Aug. 18 at Morristown Green. He’ll perform at 8 p.m. and be preceded by another dynamic bluesman, Bernard Allison, and his band, at 6 p.m.; former New Jersey club scene mainstays LaBamba and the Hubcaps, at 4 p.m.; jazz trumpeter and vocalist Bria Skonberg at 2 p.m.; and the 13-piece United States Air Force Jazz Ensemble, at noon. Blankets or lawn chairs are recommended.

Country superstar Kenny Chesney brings his Trip Around the Sun Tour — also featuring Thomas Rhett, Old Dominion and Brandon Lay — to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, Aug. 18 at 5 p.m. Chesney’s new album, Songs for the Saints (featuring the singles “Get Along” and “Better Boat”), is currently No. 2 on Billboard magazine’s country albums chart.

The Asbury Park Surf Music Festival, which bills itself as “The USA’s #1 Surf Music Event,” takes place from Aug. 16 to 19. The main event is Aug. 18, beginning at noon, at The Anchor’s Bend at Convention Hall in Asbury Park, with Satan’s Pilgrim’s, The Madeira, Surfer Joe and His Band, Black Flamingos, Les Agamemnonz and others, plus food, vendors, a car show, a twist contest, and surf-guitar and cocktail symposiums. Other events include a kickoff party at The Seafarer Bar in Highlands, Aug. 16 at 6 p.m.; the legendary Dick Dale at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m.; and music by The Surfrajettes and The Primitive Finks and a screening of the Annette Funicello/Frankie Avalon movie “Beach Party” at The Asbury Hotel on Aug. 19.

The top seven finishers in this year’s “American Idol” contest — Cade Foehner, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Catie Turner, Gabby Barrett, Jurnee, Maddie Poppe and Michael J. Woodard — are performing on the American Idol Live 2018 tour, which comes to the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m.; BergenPAC in Englewood, Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m.; and the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. The Season 8 “American Idol” winner, Kris Allen, and the boy band Forever in Your Mind will also perform. (For a chance to win two tickets to the BergenPAC show, send an email to by midnight Aug. 16 with the word “Idol” in the subject line.)


• Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues is on a rare solo tour that brings him to the South Orange Performing Arts Center, Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m., with guitar virtuoso Mike Dawes opening. Hayward is the songwriter and lead vocalist for signature Moody Blues songs such as “Nights in White Satin,” “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Question”; he also has been releasing solo albums, occasionally, since 1975.

• The Gaslight Anthem will celebrate the 10th anniversary of their gritty breakthrough album The ’59 Sound by playing it in its entirety (as well as other songs) at the Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park, Aug. 17-19 at 5 p.m. The opening acts will be Dave Hause (Aug. 17 only), Chuck Ragan (Aug. 18-19 only) and Jared Hart.

Squeeze singer-songwriter-guitarist Glenn Tilbrook performs a show that he describes “An Acoustic and Electric Mashup” at House of Independents in Asbury Park, Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m. He won’t be bringing a band along, but his son and fellow singer-songwriter-guitarist Leon Tilbrook will be featured as a “special guest.”

“so much depends/upon/a red wheel/barrow/glazed with rain/water/beside the white chickens,” William Carlos Williams wrote in his most famous poem, “A Red Wheelbarrow.” A Red Wheel Barrow, a music and arts event space in Paterson (the city where Williams worked, as a doctor, from the 1920s to the 1960s), will present a show by Jersey indie-rock bands Speed the Plough and Wild Carnation, Aug. 18 at 6 p.m.

Little Feat members Paul Barrere (guitar, vocals), Fred Tackett (guitar, mandolin, trumpet, vocals), Kenny Gradney (bass) and Gabe Ford (drums) will perform together, under the name Funky Feat, at the Levoy Theatre in Millville, Aug. 18 at 8 p.m.

Remember Jone, Hair



The Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal presents a 50th anniversary, semi-staged, concert version of the ground-breaking musical “Hair,” with Remember Jones and the Tony-nominated Constantine Maroulis in as Claude and Berger, respectively, Aug. 15-16 at 8 p.m., Aug. 18 at 10 p.m., and Aug. 19 at 3 and 8 p.m. (see video below)

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at Drew University in Madison will begin previews of “Blithe Spirit” — the 1941 Noël Coward comedy about a novelist who is haunted by the ghost of his deceased first wife — on August 15, with the official opening night on Aug. 17, and the last performance on Sept. 2. Victoria Mack, who has acted in many STNJ plays over the last 10 years (and who also has worked on Broadway, and Off-Broadway), will make her directing debut with this production.

Comedian and actor Joey Novick will perform his one-man show “Jewish-ish: An Oy Story,” which is about growing up Jewish in Brooklyn in the ’60s, at Flemington DIY, Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m., in a benefit for the venue.


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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1 comment

Cheryl Ann August 16, 2018 - 9:54 am

Hair with Constantine Maroulis!! Sounds like the perfect weekend.


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