Music Fests Jam into South Jersey

Summer concerts have evolved into vibrant communal experiences. Here's this year's lineup.

Courtesy of Beardfest

Over the past decade, South Jersey has become fertile ground for a burgeoning music festival scene with a mindful vibe. On weekends throughout the warmer months, music lovers of all ages—plus crafters, artisans, holistic healers and more—join musical performers at these cultural events that are more than just concerts. For many performers and attendees, they’re communal experiences.

“They bring like-minded people together,” says Jeremy Savo, singer/guitarist of the band Out of the Beardspace and co-founder/co-director of Beardfest, an annual festival in Hammonton.

“A lot of bands and different artistic collaborations have been spawned at the festival. Bands meet and put on shows together,” says Savo. “An artist meets a band and ends up doing their cover art. People in the yoga community meet and collaborate outside the festival. It’s a place that stimulates a lot of creative activity.”

The oldest of these gatherings, the Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival, has grown to more than 5,000 attendees a year since launching five decades ago. Most of the South Jersey festivals are much smaller. Camp Jam in the Pines and the Electric Halloween festivals each host up to 1,000 attendees each year. Two of the festivals—the South Jersey Wine & Music Festival and the Suburban Sensi Family Gathering—are new this year.

The festivals tend to be clustered in South Jersey, in large part because of the availability of affordable, festival-friendly spaces. “We’re in the middle of the Pine Barrens,” says Lori Dean-Gibson, one of the organizers of the 20-year-old Camp Jam in the Pines held at Paradise Lakes Campground in Hammonton. Paradise Lakes is home to three of this year’s festivals; Southwind Vineyard in Millville— which discontinued winery operations last year—will host two. These secluded, rural venues are ideal for some of the festival daytime activities, such as morning yoga or environmental-awareness workshops.

Discovering new artists is another festival perk. The bands, a mix of local South Jersey/Philadelphia artists and national touring acts, perform a variety of genres, including jam music, psychedelic rock, folk, bluegrass, jazz and electro house.

All this creative activity comes at a fraction of the cost of major music festivals. Even with the cost of camping included, none run more than $130 for the weekend, and many permit you to bring your own food and drinks into the festival grounds. You may never choose to leave New Jersey to attend a music festival again.

Here’s a look at this year’s festival lineup:

Camp Jam in the Pines

May 16–19
Paradise Lakes Campground, 500 Paradise Drive, Hammonton

Performers: Philthy, Dynamo, Swift Technique, Phillybloco, Gooch and the Motion and others. Special entertainment: Young-artist workshop, face painting, morning yoga, drum circle, fire spinning, tie-dye workshop. Cost, including camping: adults $60-$130; teens 12-16, $35-95; 11 and under free. For more info and tickets, click here.

Courtesy of Appel Farm Arts & Music Center

Appel Farm presents South Jersey Arts & Music Fest

June 1–2
Appel Farm Arts & Music Campus, 457 Shirley Road, Elmer

Performers: Southern Culture on the Skids, Gina Chavez, Williams Honor, Hymn for Her and others. Special entertainment: Arts Camp Pop-Up for kids, music, visual art, dance, STEAM, art of winemaking and more. Cost: single-day $25; two-day $40; two-day plus camping $60; 13 and under free. For more info and tickets, click here.

Beardfest

June 13–15
Paradise Lakes Campground, 500 Paradise Drive, Hammonton

Performers: Out of the Beardspace, the New Deal, Too Many Zooz, Anomalie, the Main Squeeze and others. Special entertainment: Music, art, movement classes, yoga, environmental awareness and more. Cost: general admission, including camping, $130; 12 and under free. For more info and tickets, including VIP and other packages, click here.

South Jersey Wine & Music Festival

June 29–30
Unexpected Farm, 1394 Piney Hollow Road, Newfield

Performers: Stealing Savannah and No Relation Band. Special entertainment: Pony rides, local wine sampling from Bellview Winery and DiMatteo Vineyards. Cost: single-day $30; two-day, including camping, $45; designated driver $15; 18 and under free. For more info and tickets, click here.

Sensi Family Gathering Music & Arts Festival

July 19–20
Southwind Vineyard, 385 Lebanon Road, Millville

Performers: Suburban Sensi, Mephiskapheles, Karina Rykman Experiment, Cheezy & the Crackers, Jah People and others. Special entertainment: Art installations, games, acoustic performances in the campgrounds and more. Cost: two-day, including camping, $75. For more info and tickets, click here.

The Jugband’s Endless Summer Fest

August 8–11
Paradise Lakes Campground, 500 Paradise Drive, Hammonton

Performers: The Jugband, Kount Funkula and the P-Funk Outlawz, Montoj, Badd Kitt and others. Special entertainment: Live band performance Thursday night during arrivals. Cost: Full festival, including camping, $100; one-day $50; 11 and under free. For more info and tickets, click here.

Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival

August 30–September 1
Salem County Fairgrounds, Woodstown

Performers: Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Travelin’ McCourys, Balsam Range, Becky Buller Band, Appalachian Road Show and others. Special entertainment: children’s stage on Saturday; informal jamming in the campground. Cost: Gate price for weekend, including camping, $125; discounts for early purchases. For more info and tickets, click here.

Electric Halloween Festival

October 18–19
Southwind Vineyard, 385 Lebanon Road, Millville

Performers: Lineup of 40+ bands to be announced in June. Special entertainment: magic show, fire performances, wrestling, awards for costumes, decorations and Hallowgames. Cost: weekend pass, including camping, $90; day pass $50. For more info and tickets, click here.


Additionally, these two festivals, each with a very different vibe, will take place in northern New Jersey:

Michael Arnone’s 30th Annual Crawfish Fest

May 31–June 2
Sussex County Fairgrounds, Augusta

Performers: Aaron Neville, the Marcus King Band and Neville Jacobs headline this annual celebration of the music and cuisine of New Orleans. For more info and tickets, click here.

Rock, Ribs and Ridges

June 29–30
Sussex County Fairgrounds, Augusta

Performers: 38 Special and Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes are the featured performers at this music-and-barbecue extravaganza. For more info and tickets, click here.

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