It will be a heart to heart arts festival this coming Saturday, August 13, in downtown New Brunswick when area arts councils and theaters hold the third annual “New Brunswick Heart Festival,” featuring bands, performers and live music and dance events in a three hour festival.
The good will festival, that starts at 3:00pm, will be hosted by Bert Baron and Sharon Gordon. It will also feature a visual Arts market, craft and food vendors, Interactive activities and games, a Health and Wellness tent with a Garden of Healing, the reading of famous love letters by actors from Thinkery @ Verse, and more. The festival will take place in Monument Square, in front of the State Theater in New Brunswick. Groups from all over Middlesex County will be there to showcase the arts and the history of the arts in the county.
Live performances will be provided by music and social justice artist Fyutch, who does a blend of hip-hop, Soul, R&B, Pop and Reggae music, the latino band Sonido Latino, tap dancer Omar Edwards, Salsa dance lessons with Elvis Ruiz, dancers Grupo de Danza, Folklorica La Sagrada Familia, the New Brunswick Brass Band, a dance performance by InSpira Performing Arts and Cultural Center and more.
Kelly Blithe, an official at the State Theatre, is one of the festival founders.
“We planned it and publicized it in February, 2020, for the summer of 2020 and then, boom, the Pandemic hit. The pandemic shut down just about everything and us, too. Now, three years later, we can finally stage the festival as we actually planned and for everybody concerned that’s a big step forward,” she said. “We also have had more time to attract different and diverse arts groups, so the festival will be far more attractive than it might have been nearly three years ago.”
Donte Muse, head of the Above Arts Studio and another founder of the festival, thinks the key to its success is the participation of many arts groups outside of New Brunswick. “New Brunswick is a transitory town. We plan to bring in as performers many people from outside of New Brunswick. By doing that we will attract more people from outside of the city. Our goal here is a festival for all the people who live in Central New Jersey, not just New Brunswick.”
Kelly Blithe agrees. “I think that our first two festivals, one completely virtual and one half and half, built an audience for this festival. So you have got, in a sense, a lot of returning people plus new people,” she said.
Both Blithe and Muse see this third festival as the first in a lone ling of annual festivals. “I see, and and most involved in the planning, see it as a regular event on the area’s cultural calendar,” said Ms. Blithe.
There will also be a ‘block party’ on Morris Street, in the downtown area, that will give parents a chance to bring their kids and make the whole festival more family oriented. “So mom and dad want to go, but what to do with the kids? The block party, we think, is an answer to that,” said Muse.
The festival will be held in Monument Square, the park right in front of the State Theatre and George Street Playhouse.
“That gives the center of the county a chance to gain exposure at the festival,” said Blithe. “There is also a large indoor parking garage there, that provides easy car access to the festival,” she added.
An important part of the festival will be all of the booths filled with people from the groups they represent. “People know a lot about New Brunswick as an arts center, but we need to tell them there are probably five or six times as many arts venues as they think are here. The whole festival should give the people who come to it a much better picture of the arts in central New Jersey,” said Muse.
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