The Southern Shore Music Festival starts tomorrow in Millville, NJ – but festival attendees and TriState Indie readers might not know a bit of the history behind the festival.  Promoter Bob Rose filled me in on the details.  “The festival began as the Bridgeton Folk Festival nearly thirty years ago in the city of Bridgeton, NJ where it enjoyed a twenty-three year run.  Five years ago, we moved the festival from Bridgeton to Millville and relaunched it as the Southern Shore Musical Festival.  I was involved with Bridgeton from the very beginning – and I’m continuing that with Southern Shore.”

While the lineup has certainly changed over the years, the festival has always furthered a mission of providing a mix of local, regional and nationally touring acts to festival fans.  “We’re especially excited to have not one – but two – members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame play this year’s festival.” Leon Russell and Jaimoe (previously of the Allman Brothers) are headlining. Justin Townes Earle and Deer Tick, both fresh off appearances at last weekend’s Bonnaroo Festival, will be doing a meet and greet in conjuction with Tri State Indie.  “We really stepped up our marketing efforts this year and the meet and greet with Justin and Deer Tick has drawn lots of interest.”

Some of the great artists who played Bridgeton, included: The Neville Brothers, Los Lobos,Ani Di Franco, Dar Williams, Arlo Guthrie, Richard Thompson, Keb Mo’, Rick Danko & Garth Hudson of the Band, Paul Barrere & Fred Tackett of Little Feat, Terrance Simien, Leon Redbone, Chris Smither, Leon Redbone, Del McCoury Band, Richie Havens, Patty Larkin, Robin & Linda Williams, Moxy Frouvous, Jeff Lang and late Steve Goodman who composed “City of New Orleans”.

Festival promoters are constantly looking at ways to diversify their offerings for a new wave of fans and attendees, and Bob is no different. “Our fans have come to expect a certain calibre and mix of performers – and I want to provide that and continue to grow this festival.  There’s a lot of history behind this festival, and attendees know that.  But we also want to expose a whole new group to what we’re about here.  By diversifying our bookings, we’re doing that here.”