Glenridge Avenue Arts and Music Festival, Montclair (Recap)

By Gregory Burrus

I attended the 2nd Annual Glenridge Avenue Arts & Music Festival [May 7th] that took place this year to celebrate the Arts, Music & Culture of Montclair Center.  Montclair Center in Montclair, NJ is on Glenridge Avenue.  Glenridge Avenue is described as "nestled in the heart of Montclair Center, housing the iconic Montclair Book Center, amazing restaurants & unique boutiques."  The art and music festival is designed to support the community and features local artisans, live music, and lots of food. 

Family Friendly Festival 

Image: Gregory Burrus

Image: Gregory Burrus

The location of the festival is right off of Bloomfield Ave and extends down one very, very long block of Glenridge Avenue that is filled with local independent businesses.  It contains fabulous restaurants, vintage shops, and many small business which makes for a great day of shopping and having fun.  It includes an extensive selection of shops, all containing very knowledgeable staff, and they will gladly help you find what you want or need.  As they say, "you can simply get lost for hours."

Image: Gregory Burrus

Image: Gregory Burrus

Image: Gregory Burru

Image: Gregory Burru

The event is a very family-friendly activity.  Like, what’s an event these days without some form of bouncy house?  The Glenridge Avenue Arts & Music Festival has many, many parking locations around the festival area with street parking in abundance.  It’s a walkable event and you will see many families, children and many things to do for all ages. 

Dog-Friendly Event

Image: Gregory Burrus

Image: Gregory Burrus

One of the things you will notice is the folks walk with their dogs, all sizes allowed.  And, like the really big one above named Sophie, she was as friendly as they can get. She scoped out the territory, made sure her owner was safe but she was pet-able and very agreeable. 

Music Abounds in and Around

Chasing Trains  band.  Image: Gregory Burrus

Chasing Trains band.  Image: Gregory Burrus

Chasing Trains - One very cool act I encountered off Bloomfield Ave was a band called Chasing Trains.  This band was truly a syncopated group that have some absolutely wonderful vocals.  The voices were melodious, and it came through even in a very busy street environment.  They played various country-focused songs and switched up instruments and vocals.  Truly a treat to listen to, and if you can catch them, it’s worth your while. 

Brother Valiant .  Image: Gregory Burrus

Brother Valiant.  Image: Gregory Burrus

Brother Valiant – The band hit the Montclair Center Stage in the latter part of the day, and it was well worth it.  This band was wildly popular and folks lined up to listen to them. According to their site, they formed in the spring of 2013.  Brother Valiant began as a couple of friends writing folk songs in a basement in Northern New Jersey, which soon grew into an eclectic 7-piece ensemble.  Members consist of AJ Amsterdam - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Curran Banach - Banjo, Backing Vocals, Declan O'Connell - Bass, Backing Vocals, Gabriel Marr - Drums & Percussion, Joonas Juhani Lemetyinen – Trombone, Nico Galván - Tenor Saxophone, Joe Gullace on trumpet.  Brother Valiant, as they say, blends nuances of folk, rock, punk and jazz and rolls it all up into a peculiar patchwork of genre-bending sounds.  As the horns bounce, jump, and dance while playing, the drummer and the bass keep everything in tune and in place.  The strings match everyone and the vocals were tight, real, and convey a strong message with each song.  

Not Your Mother’s Hula Hoops

The Pixie Tails .  Image: Gregory Burrus

The Pixie Tails.  Image: Gregory Burrus

The Pixie Tails – This performer Pixie Tails is one extremely energetic performer.  Hula Hoops are not what they were before because what she does clearly makes it known this is not your mother’s Hula Hoop.  The performer rocks.  Besides wearing a very colorful outfit, the Hula Hoops have a new technology.  She has some amazing hoops crafted with a reflective tape.  At night, the tape glows from the flash on video camera or any bright light that causes reflections.  The hoops are cool, she is pretty cool, so check it out at  And yes, Izabelle the amazing Hula Hoop performer is for hire. 

I'm having fun so far with this family-friendly festival that allows dogs, music and Hoola Hoops and more.  Next up, we will discuss some of the vendors and the wonderful services and products they offer. 

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: Glenridge, Glenridge Avenue, art & music, art, music, band, festival