Irvington councilwoman makes the most of EO’s annual Summer Jam

Photo by Chris Sykes
From left, at large Councilwoman October Hudley stands with the DJ and on stage hype man on Saturday, Aug. 25, at the 10th annual Summer Jam and House Music Festival in Elmwood Park, 33 Elmwood Ave., East Orange.

IRVINGTON, NJ — At large Councilwoman October Hudley is a self-described “house head” music fan, so it was no surprise that she turned up on stage in Elmwood Park in East Orange on Saturday, Aug. 25, for that city’s 10th annual 3rd Ward and 4th Ward Summer Jam concert and House Music Festival.

“I’m a proud house head,” said Hudley on Saturday, Aug. 11, at Irvington’s 14th annual Unity Day event, where house music legend Kenny Bobien performed. “If you know your history, then you know house music comes from gospel music. Kenny Bobien is a legend internationally. This is a legend. I am standing next to a legend. Back in the Club Zanzibar days, that’s how far we go back. I’m talking about 30 to 40 years. Yes, I am a house head and I’m proud to say that.”

It seemed as if all of East Orange was in Elmwood Park on Saturday, Aug. 25, at the 10th annual 3rd Ward and 4th Ward Summer Jam concert and House Music Festival, and anyone in the park that day got to see Mayor Ted Green dance on the stage.

In fact, Green even got into a dance battle with one of the house music performers that ended when the latter broke down and did a split from a standing position, causing the mayor to concede the match. Green took his apparent defeat in stride, however, saying it was all good.

Green previously served as the Irvington Building Department director from 2014 to 2017, then resigned to run for mayor of East Orange as the head of the Team Green in 2017 ticket. But he was in his element in Elmwood Park as the former East Orange 3rd Ward councilman who co-founded the annual end of summer Summer Jam concert 10 years ago with his council partner, 3rd Ward Councilwoman Quilla Talmadge.

“Like I say each and every day, I’m the mayor for everybody. This is our 10th annual Summer Jam Fest House Music party for today and, if you look around, we have hundreds of people that came out to enjoy these festivities,” said Green on Saturday, Aug. 25, at the event. “I’m very honored to know that, when I started right here with my council colleague, Quilla Talmadge, we started with just a few people, but this event has grown to gather people from all over — Essex County, Sussex County, even New York. We are driving a charge in East Orange that East Orange is ‘one city one community.’ We have one goal and that’s progress. Progress is bringing people together like today. You see many people out here just enjoying themselves. This is a family-oriented event today.”

Hudley said that family atmosphere of good, clean fun was the reason why she came out to Elmwood Park.

“I’m having a great time,” said Hudley on Saturday, Aug. 25. “This is really a great event.”

Green and Talmadge agreed that the Summer Jam has come a long way since it first began 10 years ago.

“Look at us now,” said Talmadge on Saturday, Aug. 25. “I said we were going to make it bigger and better than ever. This is one of the best. We have so many people here, this is really a successful and beautiful day for our Summer Jam. This is Ted’s legacy. He started it like 10 or 12 years ago and we really are having a ball today.”

Green’s City Council successor, 3rd Ward Councilman Bergson Leneus, said this was his first year attending and participating in the event as an elected official.

“This is the 10th annual Summer Jam, so you know we had to do it bigger and better,” said Leneus at the event. “Congratulations to Donyale Harris for putting on a great event. Congratulations to Mayor Green, my co-Councilwoman Quilla Talmadge and Councilman Casim Gomez and Councilwoman Tyshammie Cooper from the 4th Ward. This gets bigger and bigger every year. I’m just proud to be a part of it.”