What’s Going On In My Neck of The Woods - Essex County Events, June 2016


By Gregory Burrus

A number of wonderful events have occurred since my last update of "What’s Going On" In My Neck of the Woods.  We will update you with reviews of those events but for now here’s an update on the major  Jazz, Blues, Art and a few other community events around Essex County, N.J.

Open Orange Art Show (Now thru June 11th)

Image: Gregory Burrus

Image: Gregory Burrus

Open Orange 2016 - Love Art?  Well how about a juried art show where the judges are selected to display the work of 38 artists with a total of 103 pieces of art work.  I attended the opening reception on Thursday, May 12 at the Firehouse Gallery and Common Space at 580 Forest St, Orange, NJ.  The show has some amazing, truly beautiful art pieces.  I highly recommend you check it out, as the show runs through June 11, 2016.

Blues in the Loft with Mike Griot and Friends (June 5th)

Image: Gregory Burrus

Image: Gregory Burrus

Hot off the wildly successful NJBA Blues Muse 2016, a new Blues in the Loft series starring Mike Griot and friends takes place on June 5th.  This show features Bill Sims Jr., Eliza Neals, Tomás Doncker and Mike Griot.  The internationally-acclaimed bassist and musical director will lead this all-star ensemble in a journey through the blues and all of its unique musical destinations.  This is a small intimate cabaret-style setting in the loft of the SOPAC center.  Advance ticket reservations are highly recommended for this must-see event!  Last year’s Blues in the Loft featuring Mike Griot & Friends sold-out early, so go check it out at www.sopacnow.org/blues-in-the-loft-mike-griot/

South Orange Village Center Alliance’s Downtown After Sundown Music (May 27th - June 25th)

Image: Gregory Burrus

Image: Gregory Burrus

Finally starting May 27 through the summer will be the long running South Orange Village Center Alliance’s Downtown After Sundown music series.  This very popular Downtown After Sundown evening of concerts that I attend every year has returned to South Orange Village Center, and just about every musical genre from acoustic to zydeco, jazz to flamenco will be represented at these free concerts.  Concerts occur every Friday and Saturday evening from 7:30pm to 10pm.  Check the schedule, as holiday weekends like this upcoming weekend (Memorial Day) have concerts on Sunday evening also.  Scheduled live music performances this weekend include the groups Score, on May 27 on Sloan Street, and NoName James in Spiotta Park.  As we say every year, grab some dinner, grab a lawn chair and get set for some great live music.  You can check out the South Orange Village Center Alliance full live music schedule for this weekend at  http://www.sovillagecenter.org/pub/gen/news/574/fulltext

South Orange Maplewood Studio Tour (June 4th - 5th)

Image: Gregory Burrus

Image: Gregory Burrus

The 13th Annual South Orange Maplewood Studio Tour with nearly 80 amazing artists in studios, galleries and group exhibitions is truly an art lovers dream.  It’s a great day to appreciate the art, buy some and enjoy strolls along the tree-lined streets of South Orange and Maplewood, NJ.  Scheduled for June 4th and 5th, you can learn more in an article I wrote earlier here on Jersey Indie at http://www.jerseyindie.com/have-a-great-time-at-the-2016-south-orange-maplewood-artists-studio-tour/ and you can get your map of the SOMA Studio Tour at http://www.studiotoursoma.org/tour-map

SouthNext Festival (June 16th - 18th)

Image: Gregory Burrus

Image: Gregory Burrus

On April 4, 2016 South Orange Village Trustee Steve Schnall announced the dates for the SouthNext festival in South Orange, NJ.  The SouthNext festival (formerly South by South Orange) is a 3-day affair that runs from June 16 to June 18, 2016.  SouthNext focuses on "the intersection where art, music, and provocative ideas meet and the creative explosions that come from connecting and collaborating."  I attended last year and it was an absolute ball all 3 days.  Learn more from reading my article on last year’s SouthNext festival on Jersey Indie at http://www.jerseyindie.com/southnext-festival

Taj Mahal Trio at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (June 30th)

Also know that at the end of June (6/30), Taj Mahal will be on the main stage of the 400 seat theater of the South Orange Performing Arts Center.  Taj Mahal, one of the most prominent and influential figures in late 20th century American Blues and Roots music, is a 2014 recipient of the Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award alongside such luminaries as Jackson Browne, Loretta Lynn, and Flaco Jimenez.  Though his career began more than four decades ago with American Blues, Taj Mahal has broadened his artistic scope to include music representing virtually every corner of the globe – the Caribbean, Africa, Latin America, Europe, the South Pacific and so much more.  Taj Mahal is a music legend and an international treasure.  This two-time Grammy Award-winner will have his show MC’ed by the acclaimed bassist Mike Griot of the North Jersey Blues Alliance, so the night promises to be a lot of fun.  Learn more about this treasured event at http://www.sopacnow.org/taj-mahal

So that’s what’s happening concerning major events in June, so come on out, look me up and have a good time. 

About the Writer

Gregory Burrus is a supporter of local businesses, community events, jazz, blues musicians and local art exhibitions.  On a regular basis Gregory promotes art, music, business, history, government and local community events through social media marketing, writing articles, blogging and photo journalism.  Gregory Burrus resides in beautiful, historic town of South Orange, New Jersey, the home of beautiful gas lamps, many historic buildings, some wonderful old trees, the South Orange Performing Arts Center, Seton Hall University, South Mountain Reservation and many gorgeous, vibrant, growing communities in the surrounding North Jersey towns and cities of Essex County.  Having fun living life while helping others. Connect with Gregory Burrus:  Facebook | Google+ |YouTube | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Vimeo

Keywords:  South Orange, ‎music, band Jersey, blues, events, blues, jazz, Hat City Kitchen, SouthNext, jazz jams, Mike Griot, Tomas Doncker, Debra Devi, South Orange Performing Arts, Gregory Burrus, festival