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3rd Annual Highlands Festival At Waterloo Announces Musical Lineup

originally published: 07/30/2015

3rd Annual Highlands Festival At Waterloo Announces Musical Lineup(BOONTON, NJ) -- The New Jersey Highlands Coalition (Coalition) has announced the music lineup for the 3rd annual Highlands Festival at Waterloo (Highlands Festival) to be held September 19-20, 2015 at Waterloo Village and Concert Field in Byram and Allamuchy, NJ.  For the past two years the festival had only utilized the historic Waterloo Village area, this year it has expanded to also include the Waterloo Concert Field. This environmental festival is a “Celebration of all Things Local” and promotes local music, food, art, history, cultural and natural resources.

“We continue to grow in size and scope as we host our 3rd annual Highlands Festival at Waterloo,” said Julia Somers, Executive Director of the Coalition. “This festival aims to raise awareness in a fun and interactive way about how important our natural resources are and in particular, to showcase that our precious water source here in the Highlands benefits much of the region.”

This rain-or-shine event is open to people of all ages and features a range of activities, including musical performances, a children’s corner, a local food court, beer garden, crafts and fair trade marketplace, historical tours, animal demonstrations, various workshops, kayaking, and guided nature hikes. A full schedule of events will be released soon. New also this year is the ability to camp at Waterloo during the festival. Festivalgoers that wish to camp are highly encouraged to reserve in advance online, due to the limited amount of spaces available.

The Highlands Festival celebrates Waterloo Village’s past glory as a renowned musical performance venue, enriched by its historic nature and the wealth of musical talent in New Jersey and surrounding areas. In keeping with the locally driven mission, the festival aims to highlight musicians with ties to New Jersey and our local tri-state area.

The new performers include the following list of artists slated to perform in the 3rd annual Highlands Festival at Waterloo:

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·      Atlanta Café Band

·      Joe Cirotti

·      Lost Ramblers

·      Milkweed

·      Turkey Farm 5

·      Willie Nile

List of performers previously announced last month:

·      Brown Rice Family


·      Craig Thatcher Band


·      Garland Jeffreys


·      Hub Hollow


·      Nadïne LaFond


·      Occidental Gypsy


Current Highlands Festival at Waterloo Weekend Music Schedule (Subject to Changes):

Saturday, Sept 19th

12:00 pm

Turkey Farm 5

1:15 pm

Atlanta Cafe Band

2:30 pm

Occidental Gypsy

3:45 pm

Billy Hector

5:15 pm

Craig Thatcher - BADGE

7:00 pm

Nadine LaFond Band & Brown Rice Family

Sunday, Sept 20th 

Hourly beginning at 12:00 pm throughout Historic Village

Lost Ramblers


12:00 pm

Hub Hollow

1:15 pm

Joe Cirotti with Milkweed


2:30 pm


3:45 pm

Garland Jeffreys


5:00 pm

Willie Nile


The Coalition is thrilled to bring more music back to Waterloo and to continue adding to the tradition of presenting exciting performances for music enthusiasts. Over the years, other well-known acts such as the Beach Boys, Judy Collins, James Taylor, Willie Nelson, Phish and the Metropolitan Opera have performed at Waterloo.

“Music truly brings people together,” said Mark Clifford, Musician Coordinator for the Highlands Festival. “We believe we have curated a fantastic weekend of performers that will offer a terrific blend of an eclectic array of musical genres that will please people of all ages.”

Tickets are now available online for the Highlands Festival at Waterloo. Tickets purchased in advance are $15 for one day; $25 for both days; and $25 for a campsite reservation. At the gate, tickets will be $25 for one day; $40 for both days; and $45 for a campsite if spots remain. The festival is open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday. To purchase tickets online and for more information about the festival, please visit the festival website at:

The current list of sponsors for the 3rd annual Highlands Festival at Waterloo are: Hudson Farm, Sussex Honda, Intercar Inc. Sprinter Mercedes-Benz, Jersey Central Power & Light – A FirstEnergy Company, Thorlabs, The Smarties Company, Investors Bank, Andrei Jackamets Photography, The Merrill G. & Emita E. Hastings Foundation, Morris County Municipals Utilities Authority, Gene Sheninger Border Collies, Sierra Club – Skylands Chapter, and Homegrown Radio NJ. The festival is also supported in part by a marketing grant from The New Jersey Department of State Division of Travel and Tourism.

About Musicians

The Atlanta Café Band is an original band, with American roots. Steeped in traditional blues and country, the bands members have been playing together in and around New Jersey for roughly 35 years. The bands original tunes traverse all genres of music, from blues to country around to contemporary, then dipping the toes into a bit of jazz. This musical cocktail is pleasing to all ages and musical tastes.  Over the years, the band has enjoyed sharing the stage with many great musicians and artists, many of whom they have created a lifetime bond with.  The band consists of: Wallace Wrede on bass, vocals and banjo; Paul Sobolewski as lead on guitars and vocals; Bob Vnencak on drums and percussion; Charlie "O" Ohlweiler, on lead vocals, guitar and harmonica. For more information:


Brown Rice Family roots are guided by a strong belief in the natural flow of things and provides a distinctively organic World Roots Music, which encompasses jazz stylings, afrobeat, reggae, rock, Latin rhythms, hip-hop and funk. The band formed while members were attending the City College of New York. It began with its founding members Yuichi and former member Joe Jang who both shared the belief that one should live in a healthy environment and eat naturally grown food. They came across brown rice, which is one of the healthiest foods to consume, which led them to envision molding a band deeply rooted in a strong foundation and one that makes music listeners feel alive, thus led to name the band Brown Rice Family, which has now grown to include eight members from around the globe. For more information:

Craig Thatcher Band has been entertaining audiences around the world with their exciting brand of blues/rock music since 1993 and is based out of Pennsylvania’s northeaster Lehigh Valley.  Along with Craig on guitar and vocals, the band features Wayde Leonard on bass and vocals, and Don Plowman on drums. They have released two CD’s – Because of You and Temptation that contain much of their own original material written by Craig. In 2005, Craig and James Supra released an acoustic blues CD called Hard Times that won several awards. The Craig Thatcher Band has appeared as an opening act for many major acts including Buddy Guy, Johnny Lang, Train, and Roomfull of Blues to name just a few. Since 2008, Craig has also been performing with Simone, daughter of world-renowned song stylist and pianist Nina Simone. For more information:

Garland Jeffreys is from Brooklyn and is of African American and Puerto Rican decent. Early on Jeffreys started out playing Manhattan nightclubs and he began to explore racially conscious themes in his work. Jeffreys founded Grinder’s Switch with musicians from the Woodstock-area in 1969 and then in 1973, Jeffreys released his first solo album entitle Garland Jeffreys. His song “Wild in the Streets,” written after hearing about a pre-teen rape and murder in the Bronx has become a popular anthem for the skate community and covered by a number of other musicians. He went on to release five albums in five years and then took a long hiatus, after which he released Don’t Call Me Buckwheat, which he devoted to the complexities of race in America. Jeffreys has been featured in the documentary The Soul of a Man and has performed with other entertainers such as Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band. For more information:

Hub Hollow members from Peapack, NJ have been playing together for 20 years. Their beautifully blended vocals and intricate melodies reflect a life of creating music together. Hub Hollow was officially created eight years ago, crcating a loyal fan-base on the strength of their unique versions of traditional bluegrass tunes and warm and inviting original material. The band consists of Jill Turpin on vocals, Jason Frigerio on mandolin and vocals, John Turpin on guitar and vocals, Tim Ryan on bass and vocals, and Daniella Fishetti on fiddle. For more information:

Joe Cirotti is a multi-instrumentalist based in Hacketstown NJ. He performs solo and with his band, Only Living Boy. His rock band, Only Living Boy, has been touring for many years and is known for Cirotti's mastery of the Fender Stratocaster and distinctive vocal tone. Cirotti's songwriting recently took a turn towards the acoustic side and last year he released his first solo album "Mood Swings".   Milkweed and Cirotti will also be joined by Flanders native Mike Alexander, a well-known hired gun who is know for his "dragon-slaying" Mandolin runs and authentic, hard-hitting banjo style.  The group will perform a colorful collage of their original music. For more information:




Lost Ramblers formed in 1978 and have been making music in the Eastern Mountains of Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey since. They specialize in bluegrass and old timey music, as well as offer an eclectic mix of Celtic, jazz, polka and klezmer tunes. For more information:


Milkweed is an American string band that hails from the great American town of Binghamton, NY. Their band and music is ever growing and ever changing. The band draws on inspiration from folk, bluegrass, straight country, blues, world and pretty much anything else you can think of. Milkweed formed about four years ago when two best friends, Jackie Colombo and Claire Byrne, decided to play some folk and old blues tunes together at a couple of local bars. The band only grew from that point. Recently they had some more changes and evolved further with the addition of the newest members Brian Vollmer and from New Jersey, Pete Lister. They are currently working on building up their non-stop touring schedule and planning to record some new tracks at the studio. For more information:


Nadïne LaFond returns to the stage at Waterloo, having performed for our festival last year. LaFond was raised in New Jersey and her Haitian roots influence her music. Throughout her life she was immersed in multicultural music and fell in love with jazz and blues, which inspired her to experiment with creating her own music. Nadïne has performed as a member of, co-songwriter and vocalist in multiple bands before shifting focus to working on her first solo album. Her fearless voice, which comes from her many years as a jazz vocalist then back up and lead singer in a Pan African ensemble, rock/funk group and jam bands, coupled with her stage presence, allows her to connect with her audiences when she performs. For more information:


Occidental Gypsy plays an exhilarating blend of gypsy swing, jazz and world music that entraptures the listener with a lightning fast, complex acoustic sound, rounded by sultry smooth vocals reminiscent of the first era of swing. Nationally recognized Occidental Gypsy plays a dynamc, multi-genre mix of original vocal and instrumental pieces, as well as notable covers like a ‘gypsyfied’ take on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” The Boston Globe has named them a “Best Bet for Weekend Entertainment,” and musician David Bromberg said of the group, “great singing, fantastic guitar and violin work, with high energy originals that leave the crowd crazy. An awesome band.” The band has shared the stage with greats like Rikki Lee Jones, Jorma Kaukenen, Stanley Jordan, Joe Sample, Tony Rice, and David Bromberg. Band members have also participated in side projects that have brought them around the world alongside legends, like Eli Bishop, who has toured with Wynton Marsalies and regularly performs at Jazz at Lincoln Center. For more information:

Turkey Farm 5 originates from Chester, NJ and formed in the fall of 2013 under the leadership of Josh Chaffee. The band is made up of Josh Chaffee on vocals and guitar; Mike Alexander on electric mandolin and banjitar; Joe Biglin on vocals and keys; Jim Lashway on vocals and bass; and Matt Fordney on drums. These five dynamic men have been making music that will delight and intrigue audiences. They specialize in styles of music ranging from bluegrass, funk, rock and roll, Latin, and many others. For more information:


Willie Nile has been performing for three and a half decades as a recording artist. He has earned a reputation as a fiercely committed rock ‘n’ roller and a singularly insightful songwriter. It is Nile’s introspective side that fuels If I Was A River, a deeply compelling ten-song collection that diverges from his usual sound, while affirming the remarkable melodic and lyrical skills that have long endeared the artist to his passionately loyal fan base. Nile worked with Grammy-winning producer Stewart Lerman (Boardwalk Empire, Antony and the Johnsons, Loudon Wainwright III, Dar Williams), who has worked on seven of Nile’s prior releases. The material was recorded in an appropriately spare environment that helped to capture the songs’ intimacy and immediacy. He also employed the same Steinway Grand piano that he’d played 34 years earlier on the evening of the death of John Lennon, while both Lennon and Nile were recording at Manhattan’s Record Plant. When Nile was working on If I Was A River, the legendary piano was residing at Hobo Sound in Weehawken, NJ, where he recorded the new album with a minimum of embellishment or trickery. It’s hard to think of many other artists who are doing some of their best work in the fourth decade of their careers, but Willie Nile continues to seek out new creative challenges and conquer new musical territory. For more information:


About New Jersey Highlands Coalition

The New Jersey Highlands Coalition hosts the Highlands Festival to raise awareness about the natural resources of the NJ Highlands region, to promote the missions of the NJ Highlands Coalition’s 80+ nonprofit member organizations, and to fund the Small Grants Program which supports local grassroots organizations.  As a nonprofit organization in Boonton, New Jersey, the New Jersey Highlands Coalition works to protect, restore, and enhance the water and other natural and cultural resources of New Jersey's Highlands, now and for the future.  The Coalition serves eighty-eight municipalities in Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties that are protected under the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act in addition to the 5.4 million state residents who depend on the Highlands for drinking water.  For more information on the NJ Highlands Coalition or to become a member, please visit the organization’s website:

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