COUNTRY MUSIC FEST COMING TO RED BANK

marine park stage 053113The mainstage-and-second-stage setup of RiverFest and other events at Marine Park will be replaced by two equal-sized stages for the Red Bank Country Music Festival, featuring Maggie Rose, below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

maggie roseGet out the pointy leather boots and brush up on yer twang: Red Bank’s goin’ country in June.

A new event called the Red Bank Country Music Festival will set up camp in Marine Park for two days in late June, taking over a slot on an outdoor events calendar filled last year by Sippin’ on the River.

While Sippin’ won’t be back this year, its pioneering wet-your-whistle spirit will live on, as the country-themed food-and-music event will feature wine and beer sales, only the second such event in recent history to allow alcohol consumption in a borough park.

Hosted by Red Bank RiverCenter, the event will again spotlight the culinary creations of Red Bank restaurants, said agency executive director Jim Scavone. Miller Lite is a lead sponsor

What happened to Sippin’, which was the brainchild of Red Bank Flavour, a consortium of restaurateurs? The participating restaurants were disappointed with the marketing effort and the execution of the event  by the Hoboken-based firm hired to produce it, said Scavone.

In looking to the summer of 2014, Flavour and RiverCenter turned to a stalwart ally, Ruthanne Harrison, of RUE Events, who produces the annual Guinness Oysterfest and International Flavor festivals in the White Street municipal lot.

“Ruthanne does a lot of things really well, but one thing she does especially well is marketing,” said Scavone.

With the demise of Sippin’, “we were trying to think of something different” for an event, said Harrison. Her research led her to the realization that county music sales, both in terms of downloads and CDs, outpace those of other genres in the New York metro area.

“It’s really hot right now, and we think it will bring a lot of families and other visitors into Red Bank,” she told redbankgreen.

The festival will feature national and regional acts in a variety of country styles, from glitzy country pop to bluegrass, she said.

Signed to headline is Maggie Rose, an up-and-coming national touring act with two hit records.

Also on the still-developing lineup:

After the Reign, which bills itself as “New Jersey’s premier country band,”

Ronnie Brandt & Freewheelin’, led by a guy whose father, in the early 1970s, owned a gift shop “right in the middle of where all the music clubs were” in Asbury Park, enabling young Ronnie to marinate in live music.

About a dozen more acts are expected to appear, said Harrison.

The festival will change up the traditional music festival layout familiar to fans of the now-departed Red Bank Jazz and Blues Festival and the reincarnated RiverFest, scheduled for May 30 through June 1. Instead of a giant stage at the bottom of a park hillside and a second, smaller stage at the far end of a parking lot, the country festival will employ two equal-sized stages, said Harrison.

The final layout hasn’t yet been set, but the natural amphitheater of the hill, which overlooks the Navesink River, is “probably not going to offer a direct view” of either stage, she said.

The festival is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, June 28 and 28, and will run from 1 to 9 p.m. both days.

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