A nod to the legendary Upstage, the Cookman Avenue club where the Jersey Shore sound was solidified, will be a part of this year’s Asbury Park Music & Film Festival.
To be held April 21 at the Paramount Theatre on the Asbury Park boardwalk, the event features the premiere of Just Before the Dawn – a documentary directed by Tom Jones. Following the screening there will be a Q&A with Jones before an all-star jam session sets off.
On the bill are E Street Band members David Sancious, Ernest Carter and Vini Lopez, as well as Sonny Kenn, Ricky DeSarno, Joe Petillo, Richard Blackwell, Albee Tellone, Chris Plunkett, Paul Whistler, Billy Ryan, Gerry Carboy, Tommy Labella and the Lakehouse Junior Pros. Jeff Kazee of the Asbury Jukes will serve as the night’s music director.
Tom and Margaret Potter opened the legendary Upstage in 1968, and even though it closed by 1971, it would become the late night jam hub for young artists like Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, Southside Johnny Lyon, Garry Tallent, and Danny Federici.
Today, the 700 Cookman Avenue building that went on to house a Thom McAn is in the midst of redevelopment and its famed stage has been removed. The legendary sign was refurbished by the local Historical Society and found a home at the Asbury Park Senior Center of Springwood Avenue
In Just Before The Dawn, exclusive interviews with musicians of the era are paired with a spotlight of the city in the 1970s and how the race riots impacted the area for years to come.
“When we started making Just Before the Dawn, we thought we were making a film about a single place and the young kids who played there and went on to stardom,” Jones said in a written statement. “What we found was so much more…a story that affects all of us about a town that has learned some hard lessons and has something to tell the rest of us about hope, strength and our future.”
The Asbury Park Music & Film Festival [APMFF] was founded with a mission to provide music education, instruments and social connections for the underserved youth in Asbury Park, historically one of the most challenged youth communities in the country.
Funds raised are earmarked for music programs like those done in partnership with Hope Academy Charter School, its Hip Hop Institute, and its Asbury Park Summer Recreation Music Camp.
The 2017 APMFF includes featured performances by Daniel Johnston and Summer Moon on April 20 at the Paramount Theatre, Robert Randolph and the Family Band on April 21 at the Stone Pony, Preservation Hall Jazz Band on April 23 at Paramount Theatre, and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes on April 22 at the Stone Pony.
Tickets are now available via www.apmff.com and at the Stone Pony box office.
The Asbury Park Sun is affiliated with the triCityNews newspaper.