The annual Lincoln Park Music Festival (LPMF) is the largest music experience rooted in traditions of the African American and Afro Caribbean diaspora in the tri-state region.  LPMF has expanded into an audience of 50,000-60,000 international attendees that comes together, over two weekends, to experience multiple genres of music including Gospel, Jazz, House, Hip-Hop, Rhythm & Blues, Reggae, Dancehall, Soca, Kompa, and of the Latinx/Hispanic diaspora, as well as film, tech, and music business education. 

Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District (LPCCD) will host the 15th Anniversary over two weekends, July 27th-31st and August 5th-7th with a broad array of musical genres including Gospel, House, Hip-Hop, Soulful Alternative/Mash Up, Reggae, Dancehall sounds and of the Latinx/Hispanic Caribbean diaspora.

The festivities will begin on Wednesday, July 29th from 5 pm-9 pm with the renowned Lincoln Park Music Festival “Gospel Night In The Park” starring Le’Andria Johnson, season 3 winner of the BET gospel singing competition show Sunday’s Best.  Le’Andria Johnson’s 2011 smash album The Awakening of Le’Andria Johnson hit #1 on the Gospel music charts. Provenance Music Group, the internationally renowned gospel music ensemble has shared the stage with a myriad of noted performers and with rising celerity and captivated live audiences through their nationally broadcasted television appearances in Newark, NJ; London, UK; Barbados; Japan; and Bobby Jones Gospel in DC.  Dynamic New Jersey-based contemporary Gospel ensemble Anthony Ponder & Ministry’s Desire (APMD) is an aggregate of singers rooted in ministry.   Their brand-new single. “God Won’t Fail” is written by Ponder, Melissa Tatro, and Jonathan Ponder.  The single is released by Enon Music Group and is available on all digital music outlets now.  “God Won’t Fail” is from APMD’s forthcoming album, The Grateful Project, which will be available this fall.   Rounding out the evening is a plethora of voices of Newark’s faith community and its choirs.  Lincoln Park Music Festival “Gospel Night In The Park” is hosted by City of Newark Councilwoman At Large Rev. Louise Scott-Rountree and Rev., Kevin E.. Taylor of Unity Fellowship Church NewArk.
A new addition to the extended opening festival week is Newark Symphony Hall’s Step 4 Step Soul Line Dancing featuring Guest DJ Chris Blues of We Dancing Over Here (WDOH). An underground phenomenon, “Soul Line Dancing” in the BIPOC community is a subculture all its own. The genre traces its roots to Africa, the Caribbean, and the Harlem Renaissance and now spreading across the United States. Co-Founders of Step 4 Step Soul Line Dancers include Andrea “Lil Bit” Mason, Jillian “Lady J” Barrick, and Douglas “X-Man” Hawkins. Newark Symphony Hall’s Step 4 Step Soul Line Dancing takes place Thursday, July 28th from 6 pm-8:30 pm.

Leading into the weekend is “Rodney’s House”, a celebration of the life of the late Rodney M. Gilbert, Newark’s beloved “Mural King” whose Yendor Arts and Yendor Theatre Company are continuing his legacy and impact in the City of Newark.  The aptly named “Rodney’s House” memorializes Gilbert’s love of House Music and his history of opening his actual former home, on Spruce Street in Lincoln Park, for “house heads” to come to eat, drink and relax during the Lincoln Park Music Festival weekend each year.  “Rodney’s House” is open to all in Lincoln Park, Friday, July 29th from 5 pm-9 pm.

On Saturday, July 30th starting at 11:30 am is the standard bearer in outdoor dance music in Newark, NJ – the Lincoln Park Music Festival “House Music Day” – with DJ Mike Dunn of Chicago’s Chosen Few DJs; DJ Danny Krivit; the icon Barbara Tucker; DJ Kamala; vocalist Sara Devine; DJ Shawn Lover; singer Aaron K. Gray; and DJ Chris Flowers.  Mainstay hosts Ms. Theresa and Eddie Nichols will emcee.
Closing out week one on Sunday, July 31st is Hip Hop Culture Day starting at 12pm with a celebration of the 40th Anniversary of The Awesome 2 with special guests Nice & Smooth and other surprises!  The Awesome II are an American hip-hop and radio duo made up of Special K and Teddy Tedd who both grew up in northern New Jersey, in Passaic and Hackensack, respectively.  For almost two decades, they purchased air-time on New York’s time-brokered station WHBI-FM 105.9 which broadcast of our Newark, NJ (later WNWK).  The Awesome Two Show began on May 18, 1982, and the duo has been active in radio since, marking their 40th Anniversary in 2022.
Along with the World Supreme Team, Chuck Chillout, Red Alert, Hank Love and DNA, Afrika Islam, and Mr. Magic and Marley Marley, they were among the first generation to adapt hip-hop to the radio. Ahooga! The 40th Anniversary of The Awesome 2 exhibition will be on display at Cement Gallery, 6 Crawford Street, in Newark, NJ to coincide with the first week of the Lincoln Park Music Festival July 26th-August 1st.
For more information about Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District and its 15th Anniversary Lincoln Park Music Festival, connect with @LincolnParkCoastCulturalDistrict and @LincolnParkMusicFestival on Facebook

Photo Credits: Lincoln Park Music Festival