(AUGUSTA, NJ) -- After two years off due to the pandemic, Michael Arnone’s Crawfish Fest returns to scenic western New Jersey for three days of music, food and camping June 3-5. Samantha Fish and Tab Benoit, each a renowned guitarist-vocalist, headline over 20 New Orleans and Louisiana acts that will be performing on three stages from that Friday through Sunday at the spacious Sussex County Fairgrounds.
In addition to Samantha Fish and Tab Benoit, Jon Cleary and The Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Bonerama, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Honey Island Swamp Band, Pine Leaf Boys and Jeffery Broussard and The Creole Cowboys are scheduled to perform.
The Crawfish Fest will be following all health and safety guidelines issued by the state of New Jersey and is in regular contact with the Sussex County Health Department.
Tickets starting at $35 (plus transaction fee) are available for purchase online. Single-day tickets ($40) will available at the gate. Tickets also are available for three-day onsite camping ($170, plus transaction fee). Camping ticket includes all performances, including camper-only ones.
“We cannot wait to open the gates, fire up the 45-gallon cast-iron pots, crank up the amps and let the music flow,” says Arnone, a native of Baton Rouge, La., whose event, approaching its 31st edition, is one of New Jersey’s longest-running and largest music festivals. “And our timing is good, as crawfish are in season for our show in June.
“We are grateful for the support of our sponsors,” Arnone adds, “and offer a big Crawfish Fest thank you to Bud Light, the Louisiana Office of Tourism, Twisted Tea, Livingston Parish Tourism, Bulleit Bourbon, Ketel One Vodka, Don Julio, Captain Morgan, New Jersey Lottery, Lenz Moser, Barenjager, Crystal Hot Sauce, 84RV.com, Rockin’ It DME, and Major Kia.”
Among others, there will be three namesake dishes on the menu, including boiled crawfish and crawfish etouffee. Also on the menu, all for $14 or less per dish: pork sausage/chicken jambalaya, grilled alligator sausage, po-boys (catfish, shrimp or oysters), char-grilled oysters, Southern fried chicken and more.
Advance tickets bought for the 2020 or 2021 festivals will be honored. Anyone who bought a Saturday or Sunday ticket and wants to come on the opposite day may do so.
Children under 14 are free with parent/guardian, and there will be free Cajun/Zydeco dance lessons.
No comfort pets are allowed, though service animals trained for a specific task are permitted. Parking is free.
Michael Arnone’s first Crawfish Fest was held in 1989 in Butler, N.J. It started after Arnone, who was working as an electrician in New Jersey, was homesick for Louisiana food and music. About 70 people enjoyed 300 pounds of crawfish and a pot of jambalaya while two bands played. The festival has become an annual event each year since, with the exception being 2020 and 2021. Now held at the spacious Sussex County Fairgrounds, it draws about 20,000 fans.
The Sussex County Fairgrounds is located at 37 Plains Road, Augusta, NJ, 07822, about an hour from the George Washington Bridge. It is accessible via Routes 80, 15, 206, 287 and 84.