Despite some setbacks in recent years, the New Jersey independent music scene has never grown faster or become as popular as it is today. From Atlantic City to Asbury Park, the state’s music scene has bounced back from a difficult few years to become one of the most vibrant in the country. More and more artists are being inspired to create music and perform at local venues, festivals, and an increasing number of functions. This is because the Garden State continues to ignite the local music scene to bring musicians and fans together. Here are the three main drivers.
Famous Live Music Venues Continue to Support Local Music Industry
As the cost of living and rent prices increase, live music halls have struggled to keep afloat. Despite these challenges, there has been a drive to save famous music halls and keep the local music scene going. The Lizzie Rose Music Room, a 70-seat music venue inside an old 1846 Victorian customs house, reopened last year after being forced to shut down. The hall is famous for hosting a wide range of local bands, ranging from tribute bands to world music and country and blues acts. Another famous location is the White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, which recently celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2022. Sean Saadeh, Executive Vice President of Entertainment for Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, said, “We cannot wait to bring additional entertainment to the Jersey City community while we continue to make it a destination for artists, performers, partners, and guests to come.” For electronic music fans in Asbury Park, music venue Porta has put on numerous high-profile shows, including DJ Greg Dinero. This investment in venues is helping to ignite the New Jersey music scene.
Increasing Number of Events For Local Function Bands
One of the most popular side hustles for New Jersey local bands is playing at events. In particular, weddings have seen an uptick in the US and across the globe, which has become a big financial driver for local bands. Local musician Gerry Rosenthal from Highland Park told New Jersey Stage that his local wedding band, The Jersey Joint, had taken off since 2021, and he was fully booked for the following year and into 2023. This allowed him to continue to earn money and work on his other bands. The Garden State has seen one of the biggest jumps in the number of weddings in recent years, with a 24.4% increase between 2021 and 2022. This has helped the local music economy keep its head above the water, and this is a trend that is being seen across the globe. A 2023 wedding report in the UK also saw a boom in weddings after the pandemic, with 200,000 more weddings than pre-pandemic years. This has also led to an uptick in wedding bands for hire, ranging from live DJs to full Motown bands. The reason why these bands in New Jersey and across the world have been able to keep going and ignite their local music scenes is due to an increased demand for live music and the memories created by a live band.
Festivals and Concerts Promoting Local Bands
New Jersey has continued to support local bands by putting on concerts. For example, the Shore to Rock Hunger concert in May at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank featured local bands coming together for a good cause. Local songwriter artist Jack Thistle was one of the headliners alongside G.E. Smith, the acclaimed American guitarist. Next year, the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival will continue the tradition of promoting local beer and local bands. In 2023, local bands Dentist and SensaMotion were two of the main headliners. It is these concerts and festivals that are giving local bands a platform and helping the music scene stay dynamic.
The New Jersey music scene has never been healthier, and despite recent years being increasingly difficult for local musicians, the above points continue to drive the local music scene.
Author: Kirsten Gonzales