The dawn of spring coupled with good food and lively entertainment will bring out thousand for Hoboken's first springtime celebration, the Hoboken Art and Music Festival. Presented by the City of Hoboken and the Hudson Reporter newspaper chain, the Sunday, May 6 festival will transform Washington Street into a marketplace for over 300 artists, photographers and craftspeople, with three outdoor performance stages and over 30 international food vendors. The event, which is scheduled to be held from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Sunday, will be free to the general public.
There will be two stages that will be set up at either end of the festival, with music ranging from bluegrass, country, swing, jazz, salsa, and rock 'n roll.
This year's headliner is Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Southside Johnny first came to national attention in the mid-1970s when his former band-mate Bruce Springsteen hit it big, causing the Jersey shore music scene to explode. After Southside and E Street guitarist Steve Van Zandt both landed record deals, Van Zandt produced the first three Southside albums - while good friend Springsteen contributed to signature songs like "The Fever," "Hearts of Stone" and "Talk to Me."
Since then, Southside has compiled 25 years of live shows and 16 albums. His "Hearts of Stone" was lauded by Rolling Stone as "one of the top albums of the '70s and '80s."
Also performing at the festival is Richie Havens. His fiery, poignant and soulful singing style has always been unique since he first emerged from the Greenwich Village folk scene in the early 1960s. Highlights of his career range from being the opening act at the original Woodstock festival in 1969 to being an featured artist at the 1993 presidential inauguration.
Representing the country spectrum at the festival will be Laura Cantrell. Born in Nashville, Cantrell has spent the last 15 years living in New York City, where she is a fixture on the local music scene, both as a performer and long time proprietor of the Radio Thrift Shop on free-form station WFMU. She has recorded and performed with such diverse artists as They Might Be Giants Michael Shelley and Bricks.
Her latest Album, Not the Tremblin' Kind, which was recorded in Brooklyn and Hoboken was produced by Jay Sherman-Godfrey (Worlds Famous Blue Jays, The Zephyrs) and features such musicians as Will Rigby (Steve Earle, dBs, Matthew Sweet), Jon Graboff (Beat Rodeo, Amy Rigby) and Jeremy Chatzky (Ronnie Spector, Bruce Springsteen).
Others that are scheduled to perform are Jazz Musician Don Carter, local Sinatra/Ska fusion band "Skanatra," New Orleans Swing band Linda Ipanema & and the Dixie Cats, local rockers Seeking Homer, Klezmer pop band Raving Noah, Tex-Mex-abily musician Gene D. Plumber, Reggae group Verdict, David Stellmack, and Manny & Joy Medina.
Artists will display oil paintings, watercolors, sculpture and photography. Crafters will also be on hand selling pottery, dried flowers, jewelry, metalwork, hand painted furniture and blown glass.
A special children's area will feature hands-on activities such as sand art, candle art, bubble booth art and spin art. There will be face painting, a magic show, the Balloonatic, pony rides, a petting zoo, a moonwalk, a balloon slide and more.
Hoboken restaurants will set up street cafes offering an eclectic variety of international foods such as Thai, Indian, Greek, French, Mexican, Cajun and Italian. Vendors will feature culinary items ranging from biscotti and cappuccino to funnel cake and zeppoles; grilled chicken, gyros and butterfly fries to corn on the cob and grilled veggies.
Attendance for last year's even was estimated at more than 100,000. The festival is sponsored locally by Cablevision, the New Jersey lottery, PAT, WNEW 102.7, News 12 NJ, NJ Online, Hudson Athletic Club, The Systems Group, Outdoor Systems, and the Trust Company Bank of NJ.
If rain postpones the festival, it will be rescheduled for May 20. For more information about the Hoboken Art and Music Festival, call 420-2207.