With summer just around the corner, you don't have to travel to the Jersey shore for excellent live music. At Hoboken's summer "Enchanted Evenings" series, there's a something for everyone.From swing, salsa, comedy, and alternative, to jam, contemporary and acoustic, this year's concerts in the park are guaranteed to entertain.
"Every year, the concert series gets better. We have at least one show a week during the summer, and we cover a variety of genres," said Hoboken's Cultural Affairs director, Geri Fallo. "The shows are fun for the whole family."
The concerts are held at Sinatra Park from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free and people are encouraged to bring a blanket or a lawn chair, according to Fallo.
The lineup includes reggae band Verdict on June 5; rock group Sugar Tooth on June 12; salsa singer Julio Fernandez on June 19; Cuban entertainer Raul Midon on June 23; longtime Hoboken favorite Gene D. Plumber on June 26; rhythm and blues band 747 Highjackers on July 10; Sinatra performer Ernie Contri on July 15; be-bop group the Crescent City Maulers on July 17; singer/songwriter Marshall Crenshaw on July 24; bluegrass country band Nitro Express on July 29; alternative rock band Eugene on July 31; Celtic rock band Lenehan on Aug. 7; jazz band Swingadelic on Aug. 14; Mexican sounds from Mariacchi Band on Aug. 19; jam band Bucktooth Johnson on Aug. 21; and ska band Skanatra on Aug. 28.
"The summer concerts provide us with a venue to introduce more people to our music," said Skanatra lead singer Fran Azzarto. "We always receive tremendous feedback from the summer shows."
New this year is comedy nights, sponsored by the Gaslight Restaurant. On June 27 and July 18, several comedians will take the stage at the park and make people laugh. The featured comics will include acts from Carolines, Comic Strip Live, and Catch a Rising Star.
In addition to the concerts in the park, the city has organized children's events to be held at Shipyard Park on 13th Street and Constitution Way. The kids can enjoy music from the Don Carter Jazz Trio on June 3; a reading from Mother Goose followed by '40s folk music by the Fourth Street Night Owls on June 10; music from the Amazing Incredibles on June 17; magician Silly Willy on June 24; sing-a-long with Yosi on July 8; a night of opera on July 22; arts and crafts by Echo of Art on July 29; singer/songwriter Amy Fairchild on Aug. 5; a puppet show by Bob Brown on Aug. 12; rock music by the Demolition String Band on Aug. 19; and an evening with the Actors Shakespeare Company on Aug. 26.
"Our Shipyard Park events cater more to children. Parents usually don't have too many recreational outlets for their kids, so we provide them with a formidable venue to enjoy quality entertainment," Fallo said.
Besides concerts, magic shows, theater performances and children's events, the city also offers a wide selection of movies during the summer. The show times are 9 p.m. in June and July and 8:15 p.m. in August, and screenings are held at Pier A Park on First Street and Sinatra Drive. This year's movies include Far From Heaven on June 4; Bowling for Columbine on June 11; The Pianist on June 18; Catch Me If You Can on June 25; Frida on July 9; The Hours on July 16; Adaptation on July 23; Chicago on July 30; Big Night on Aug. 6; Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers on Aug. 13; The Wild Thornberries on Aug. 20; and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on Aug. 27.
When Fallo started the "Enchanted Evenings" series in 1994, she showed a few campy sci-fi movies and a couple of live acts at the Hoboken train terminal. The demand for more summer entertainment was so overwhelming that the city decided to expand their concerts and movie selection.
"Every year I've seen our summer events improve. More and more people attend and they've gotten very popular," Fallo said.
All programs are presented by the office of Mayor David Roberts, the city of Hoboken and PNC Bank. Sponsors include The Hudson Reporter, The Applied Companies, Bon Secours, Projected Images of Hudson County, Provident Bank, The Guitar Bar, Hobson's Choice, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., La Scala, Symposia Bookstore, Anthony David's Restaurant, Court Street Restaurant, Karma Kafe, Makeovers Salon, Hoboken Dive Center, India on the Hudson, Caulfield Real Estate, The Hudson County Division of Cultural and Heritage Affairs. For information call (201) 420-2207. q