The Day the Surf and the Music Died

A minor league baseball team and a beloved music festival are South Jersey’s latest recession casualties.

This week, we heard bad news from both the Atlantic City Surf and the Appel Farm Arts & Music Festival. The Surf, a minor league baseball team in the Can-Am league, folded. The festival, which takes place every summer on a Salem County farm, announced a one-year break.

The Surf came to Atlantic City eleven years ago, with a shiny new stadium built with $15 million of public funding. Surf games were affordable, family-friendly options in the East Coast’s sin city, but the team never drew a big crowd. Last season’s average attendance fell under 3,000 people a game in a stadium that could fit double that number.

The Appel Farm Arts & Music Festival is a once-a-year event, but its hiatus is still a disappointment. For the last 20 years, the festival has brought thousands to Salem County for a weekend-long presentation of acts that have included Jackson Browne, Rosanne Cash, and the Indigo Girls. The recession plays a factor, of course, but so does a $100,000 proposed cut in state funding. Appel Farm will still hold a four-hour concert on June 7 to raise money for scholarships in association with the Appel Farm Arts & Music Center.

It’s bad news all around, not only for the people who enjoyed attending Surf games or the Appel Farm concerts, but for the people who made both happen. The last thing South Jersey needs right now is fewer jobs.

Need a glimmer of hope? Here’s one: Lucy the Elephant—a great Jersey Shore icon— has opened her doors for the season. She can’t bring back the Surf or the music, but she’s one old reliable in an uncertain economy.

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