MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The 15th annual Maplewoodstock Music and Arts Festival will be held on Saturday, July 14, and Sunday, July 15, from noon to 10 p.m. each day. This free, two-day, live music and arts event will be held at Memorial Park in Maplewood.
Saturday’s headliner is Third World, and Sunday’s headliner is Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band.
Third World is one of the longest-lived reggae bands of all time, informed and influenced by funk, soul and disco. Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band travels in the channels of the Americana singer-songwriter tradition. His 2017 album, “The Gathering,” has been described as an amalgam of country, gospel and soul.
Saturday’s show will also feature Hopewell native Danielia Cotton, who pulls inspiration from classic Motown as well as Sly and the Family Stone and presents strikingly optimistic messages from abominable lows. She has opened for Buddy Guy, Derek Trucks and Bon Jovi.
And Sunday’s show will feature The Suffers. Spin magazine has described them as “a 10-piece soul collective that steeps their tracks in jazzy history with a modern twist. They’re the sort of neo-retro group you never knew music was so badly missing.”
“We aim to put on the best possible free music and art festival that we can — one with deep roots in the Maplewood community,” volunteer Maplewoodstock Festival Chairperson Drew Dix said. “We are nine of your friends and neighbors who volunteer all year long to put this festival together. We love seeing old friends and making new ones out enjoying the gorgeous weekend. So, come relax on your blankets and lawn chairs, bring a picnic basket, and enjoy a family-friendly weekend of music, art, food and the best of the Maplewood community.”
Each day of the festival features nearly a dozen bands who represent a stylistically-wide variety of rock, pop, soul, R&B, funk, folk, reggae and world beat. These bands are selected from a record-high 109 applicants in 2018 who radiate from Maplewood-South Orange to other musical communities like Montclair, New Brunswick, Red Bank and Brooklyn. The festival gives voice to local and regional talent, while lending its stage to a few artists a bit further away who can grace the Memorial Park hillside with their distinct sounds. And each day is capped with an internationally touring featured and headline act.
A total of 23 bands will perform over the two-day festival. In addition to the music, there will be local arts and crafts vendors, who bring unique offerings of handcrafted goods, like artwork, clothing and jewelry. There will also be a food court — a cornucopia of options for the whole family from burgers to tacos, from lobster rolls to Thai food, from freshly squeezed lemonade to jerk chicken — a beer garden for child-dodging parents, and a large KidZone with games, inflatable rides, crafts, and more for the youngest attendees and their minders.
The town of Maplewood also offers a senior-friendly tent for those long-time citizens who want to come out, enjoy the youthful energy, sit in the shade, and enjoy a meal from the food vendors that can be delivered from volunteers run by the Age Friendly Committee for Maplewood and South Orange.
For those hearing-impaired, Maplewoodstock also offers for the second year a volunteer-organized sign language interpretation for several hours each day, typically from 5 to 10 p.m.
“The last few years, we’ve almost become the victims of our own success, with very large crowds and some confusion about when and where tents and canopies can be erected,” Dix said. “The town of Maplewood will be clarifying their rules on this, and we will be publicizing those rules on our website in the coming weeks so that all our attendees are clearly informed about what to expect.”
A full line-up of band bios, directionsand real-time updates can be found at www.maplewoodstock.com.