Fourth annual House Music Festival is a big hit in Monte Irving Orange Park

Photo by Chris Sykes
Reggie Miller, right, the coordinator of the Rutgers University Male Student Support Program that operates out of Orange Preparatory Academy, stands with members of Treehouse Entertainment on Saturday, Aug. 19, at the annual House Music Festival in Monte Irvin Orange Park that the company organized.

ORANGE, NJ — The city of Orange Township hosted the fourth annual House Music Festival in Monte Irvin Orange Park on Saturday, Aug. 19, thanks to Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo and the members of Treehouse Entertainment that organized the event.

“We’re out here in Orange Park today for the fourth annual Soulful House Music Festival,” said Tanya Veltz, the president of Treehouse Entertainment on Saturday, Aug. 19. “We had a lot of vendors out here today. We had Milagros Angels giving out brochures to the community. We had the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation. We had an awesome DJ lineup, with the youngest and the legends. We had Lucky Vincent; we had Ruben Toro, the Latin Bull; we had 40 Cal; 15-year-old Jordan Pope from Baltimore; Amee Brooks; the Mayor, the monster of Jersey. It just shows that we can come out and have a community event with no violence, no type of crime at all. So come on out and dance and get ready for next year, because it’s going to be fun.”

According to Treehouse Entertainment’s vice president, DJ Guy, every third Saturday in August in the city of Orange Township now belongs to the House Music Festival.

“This is what we do,” said DJ on Saturday, Aug. 19. “We started out as a picnic and it turned into a House Music event.”

Toro, a former DJ at NY radio station 98.7 WRKS Kiff F.M., said he understands what DJ Guy meant about the house music genre’s unexpected longevity and all-around popularity.

“I came here to do a gig in Orange and let’s get ready to party in the park,” said Toro on Saturday, Aug. 19. “House music, it’s a spiritual thing. People connect with it, when it’s something that people can relate to; it will never die.”

Toro’s enthusiasm was shared by Orange natives Reggie Miller, the coordinator of the Rutgers University Male Student Support Program; elementary school teacher and youth basketball coach Sharief Williams; and former Orange High School standout running back Shawn.

“We’re out here in Orange doing our thing,” said Miller on Saturday, Aug. 19. “Club 88, the Peppermint, El Café, Club Zanzibar, going way back. All of them. It was all fun. It was all love. We stayed out all night and we caught the bus home in the morning. You got a ride down there about 12 o’clock and you caught the bus home around 8 or 9 in the morning. We had a great time. My mother didn’t have to worry; she knew I was coming back home

Miller said the best thing about events such as the annual House Music Festival is that they remind older people from his generation who grew up in the 1980s what it was like to go out and have fun with “no drama, no fighting.”

“It was cool,” said Miller. “It was all love.”

Williams is younger than Miller and graduated from Orange High in 1989, but he said he understands what the “old heads” such as him and Shawn are talking about, when they come to shows such as the annual House Music Festival and get nostalgic for the “good old days.”

“It was all good. It’s cultural music,” said Shawn. “All underground music brings you back to the ‘70s, all the way up until now.”

Williams said on Saturday, Aug. 19, “Good music never goes away.”

“You got Ruben Toro on the wheels of steel doing his thing and we’re out here having a good time today in the great city of Orange,” said Williams. “We need more events like this, with good positive vibes for the city that brings back a lot of the good old days. Good music.”

At large Councilman Chris Jackson and his wife, Carol, were among the thousands of people that filled Orange Park on Saturday, Aug. 19, for the fourth annual House Music Festival and he agreed with practically everything everyone else commented.

“We’re in Monte Irvin Orange Park, housing up. It’s beautiful out here,” said Jackson on Saturday, Aug. 19. “The rhythm is in my heart, man. It is what it is when the beat starts. I’m flashing back to the days and I’m going to hurt tomorrow, but I’m having a lot of fun. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Carol hails from Camden and said there’s a very simple reason why people of all ages love house music and come out in droves to events such as the fourth annual House Music Festival.

“It lets you be free,” said Carol on Saturday, Aug. 19. “It’s free. You do what you want and just have fun.”

Chris agreed with his wife.

“This is what it’s for us, to come out here as a community,” said Jackson. “We had people from all around Essex County and elsewhere come here for peace and love and party and dance in Orange Park. It was a beautiful thing.”