Jackson Pines, photo by John Posada
(WARETOWN, NJ) -- This Saturday, September 16th, while Sea Hear Now takes over the northern shores of Asbury Park, another, albeit more humble, festival will be taking place just twenty-six miles down the parkway by the bay in Waretown at Albert Music Hall.
The Pinelands Cultural Society (PCS) will be hosting a free outdoor festival, complete with food, artisans, authors, historians, and musicians playing live folk and Americana music. Members of the PCS will be giving guided tours of the hall, artifacts of bayshore and Piney history will be displayed, and bands will perform from 1:00pm-5:00pm in the back parking lot, weather permitting.
Albert Music Hall was founded in the 1970s as a concert series in an old auction ring called “Sounds of the Jersey Pines”. Pine Barrens folk groups The Pinehawkers and The Pineconers presented regional music they learned growing up when South Jersey was less populated and old ways of life still reigned supreme. After raising money for over twenty years, they built their official building in Waretown in 1997 and it has grown ever since. Weekly Folk, Country, and Bluegrass concerts are held every Saturday of the year, except the last two in December.
Festival performers include The Greater Pinelands Dulcimer Society, Katie Sherwood Eaton, The Wedding Funeral, The Morning Doves, Grace Coletta, Anthony Campana, and an hour long string band set by Jackson Pines.
Katie Sherwood Eaton, daughter of Janice Sherwood, a founder of Albert Hall, will be performing some songs by legacy band The Pineconers.
The event will be held in the back parking lot behind the building, from 1:00pm-5:00pm. After, the weekly concert will be held as usual inside the building from 6:00pm-9:00pm. The festival is free, but the concert at 6:00pm is the usual $6 per head. Find that deal anywhere else!
Jackson Pines released “Pine Barrens Volume One,” this year, a collection of Pinelands and Ocean County folk songs dating from the 1850s-1950s, and will be playing original tunes and folksongs by the other founders of Albert Hall, Merce Ridgway and the Pinehawkers. This will be the final concert of Jackson Pines’ 2023 Tour.
“We’re ending our tour here because it is our musical home. If we were athletes, this would be our Madison Square Garden,” said Joe from Jackson Pines. PBS visited them in Waretown last year and made a documentary about the band and their involvement with PCS/AMH, it aired this past March in 5 states.
“There is really no where like this in the Northeast. It is truly the home of this special musical tradition. People often scoff when they hear we play folk and country music from New Jersey. They think it can’t possibly exist. Albert Music Hall shows it’s real, it exists now, it existed then, and they have the receipts to prove it. All of this will be on display Saturday.”
Kid friendly facepainting will be offered alongside craft and food vendors. Guests will be free to walk into the building for a tour or look at the PCS’s collection of historical documents and artifacts relating to Pineland culture and musical history outside. Artifacts include instruments played by members dating back to the 1970s, Sammy Hunt the bayman’s boat making equipment, and more. And don’t forget to bring your instrument, there will be open jam sessions held on the Porch and in their famous Pickin’ Shed throughout the day.
Albert Music Hall is located at 131 Wells Mills Road in Waretown, New Jersey. Parking is available in the main lot, between Albert Music Hall and the school. A rain date for the event is September 17th, 2023.