Budding star Maggie Rose is the headline attraction for the Rockin’ Country Festival that commandeers Marine Park for two days and evenings of family-friendly activities, foodstuffs and freewheelin’ sounds this Saturday and Sunday.
The folks at Red Bank Rivercenter haven’t exactly “rued the day” they first joined forces with special-events promoter Ruthanne Harrison, producer-proprietor of Asbury Park-based Really Unbelievable Events. From the annual Guinness Oyster Festival to the International Flavour Fest, the RUE brand has been attached to some of the best-received mashups of local/ regional music and cuisine in the borough’s long history of destination attractions. This Saturday and Sunday, they’ll be doing it all with a pronounced twang, as the first-ever Red Bank Rockin’ Country and Food Festival takes over the waterfront walkways and natural amphitheater of Marine Park.
Running between noon and 9 pm on June 28, and from noon to 7 pm on June 29, the weekender promises the participation of 20 Red Bank restaurants (some featuring special BBQ and country-picnic favorites for the occasion) — along with a sonic smorgasbord that offers up homegrown and national acts ranging from mainstream Nashville to Shore-based “seagrass” and tattooed hipster Americana. Toplining the out-of-town entertainers is Margaret Durante, a/k/a Maggie Rose, a Maryland-born vocalist (and former auxiliary member of regional Boss tributeers The B Street Band) whose star has been on the ascendant through a string of solo recordings that have included “I Ain’t Your Mama,” “Better,” and the Comcast SportsNet football anthem “Get Ya Game On.” She’ll be performing the sweet-spot Saturday night set at 7:15 pm — part of a duelling-stages diptych of live music, for which the deep-fried schedule details are available right here.
Fans of the Jersey Shore’s smallish but satisfying roots-country music scene would do well to catch a handful of their local favorites in a friendly open-air setting this weekend — among them Michael Patrick, the Monmouth County based singer and guitarist who’s slated to perform sets with his two bands — the all-original Suburban Hillbillies, and The Ring of Fire Band, a tribute to the legacy of Johnny Cash that’s more inspired by the Man in Black’s awesome spirit, than casino-impressionist style. The young Asbury Park band Harper’s Fellow ably represents the new generation of back-to-basics strummers and songcrafters, while veteran Ronnie Brandt brings his road-tested authority and audience-pleasing skills to his band project Freewheelin’, as well as his engaging “History Hoe-Down” Cowboy Sing-Along for kids. There’s lots more where that came from, including “Jersey Strong” journeymen After the Reign, honkytonk specialists NashEast, plus fellow Garden State-connected countryfolk Robin DeLorenzo, Nikki Briar, Apryl Evans, Scott DeCarlo and the proverbial Many More.
Also on tap are Line Dance sessions with Silver Spurrs, mechanical bull riding, kids’ activities, and a selection of “unique, upscale vendors.” Take it here for the roster of participating food vendors. Admission to the festival area is $5 per person (kids 10 and under get in free), and portions of proceeds are dedicated to the benefit of Red Bank RiverCenter, the Red Bank Public Library, and the Red Bank Education Association.