Labor Day Weekend near the Jersey Shore is catching a huge buzz thanks to Souper Groove 4 Music & Camping Festival. Building on the success of last year’s festival, which doubled in size, Souper Groove Music & Camping Festival has upgraded once again by adding national superstars to the lineup of over 60 acts.
Calling to mind the spirit of Woodstock, Bonnaroo and Gathering of the Vibes, what is now the serene scene of a Latvian Cultural Center will transform into a rocking concert venue with jamming blues riffs, swirling projection light show and tye-dyed bliss. Souper Groove 4, to be held on September 4-6, is a unique event for the Monmouth/Ocean County area. It’s an intimate music and camping festival that will feature over 60 of the top blues, jam, rock, bluegrass, funk, reggae, EDM and acoustic acts that New Jersey has to offer, along with upcoming acts from PA, CT, MA and NY.
Souper Groove’s past events have been runaway hits. “We hit capacity the last 2 years,” said Booking Coordinator David Caverly. “The festival attendance and feedback have been great, so this year we added an extra day and some legendary musicians like Bernard Purdie. Plus, we’re stoked that it’s three days of summer this year. It’s going to be the perfect end-of-summer bash.”
Reviews and word-of-mouth buzz from the previous festivals are extremely positive, with many repeat customers raving about the event. Souper Groove combines music with camping in one location and is unlike anything in the Monmouth / Ocean County area. Priedaine is the gorgeous Latvian Cultural Center on Route 33 in Freehold, NJ. “It’s a jewel of a place, the grounds and facilities are wonderfully maintained,” said Jeff Mahajan, a producer of the event and guitarist of the headlining band, Turtle Soup. “Plus, they’re very supportive about having a music festival there.”
The main attraction is the music, and featured performances include 3 sets by headlining band and hosts, Turtle Soup. Plus, the festival will feature top acts such as Pink Talking Fish (a tribute that does mashups of Pink Floyd, Talking Heads and Phish songs), and a “Souper Jam” with Bernard Purdie (James Brown, Steely Dan), TM Stevens (James Brown, Steve Vai), Todd Stoops (RAQ, Kung Fu). The Tri-State area’s hottest Grateful Dead tribute band, Splintered Sunlight, will celebrate GD50 in style with a daytime set outdoors. Local ‘Jam band’ legend Mark Diomede will lead his Asbury Music Hall of Fame band, the Juggling Suns. The Nicole Atkins-produced band, Glycerine Queens, Asbury darlings Battery Electric, and fusion shredders Karmic Juggernaut are noted return performances. New this year are Turbine, Cocktail Montoj Phenomenon plays Umphrey’s McGee, Rougues on the Run feat. Bernard Purdie, Deal Casino and The Union.
Turtle Soup, the band hosting the festival, is on a hot streak since selling out Souper Groove 3. They had a feverish, roiling crowd chanting their name during an afterparty for Umphrey’s McGee and Lettuce at the Stone Pony. They have been in the studio and are playing more cohesively than ever, as shown on their latest single, “Alive.” Going from opening shows for moe., Furthur, Blues Traveler, Papadosio, Gov’t Mule and others to headlining the legendary Stone Pony on their own accord, the excitement is palpable. “It’s remarkable to experience the effect Souper Groove has had on our scene here in Central NJ.” Mahajan commented. “People around here look forward to Souper Groove because it combines the best bands of the area with this amazing alternative venue. Every band plays to the best of their ability, knowing they could come out of Souper Groove with hundreds of new fans. We couldn’t be happier that it caught on the way it did and has such a huge and positive impact with our local community.”
There also are several activities planned for the festival, such as sunrise and moonrise yoga, hula hoop classes, face painting, a children’s tent, and more.
Food and craft vendors will be on site at the festival for patrons to shop and eat, and several local businesses have also lent a hand with sponsorship, advertising, and donations.
Tickets for Souper Groove Music & Camping Festival are $75 advance, $90 day of show for a full 3-day pass (includes camping, music and activities), and are available via their website www.soupergroove.com. Day passes are also available. Children under 12 are admitted free.