CLARK, NJ - A family-friendly rock-and-roll themed music event will be coming to Oak Ridge Park in September. The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders passed a resolution authorizing a license agreement with Game Changer World, a private production company, for a “Food Truck and Rock Carnival” on Sept. 19 and 20 at its meeting Thursday night.
“We want to make it clear; this is not Music Fest at all,” Matt Skiba of Game Changer World said. “It’s a family-friendly event that also happens to have a music component.”
The Union County Music Fest, last held at Oak Ridge Park in 2011, was a free multi-day event sponsored by the Union County Freeholders. It was held annually for 12 years until it came under fire for accounting inconsistencies and was ultimately canceled in 2012 due to budget constraints. Unlike the Music Fest, that cost the county money each year, the September event is designated in the freeholder’s meeting agenda as “revenue generating.”
The September event will include a free admission area with carnival-type activities such as pig races, face painting, amusement rides and games. There will be “a lot” of food trucks, although Skiba said the type and number were still being decided. A beer garden will be fenced off with separate security, ID checks and wristbands.
A separate paid-admission area will have two stages and rock bands will alternate between the two, playing music from 2 p.m. until about 9 p.m., Skiba said. Although the line-up isn’t set yet, Skiba said the bands would have been popular between 1995-2005 and have had one to multiple recognizable radio hits. Ticket prices are expected to range from $29 to $49 with different buying options such as single day pass, weekend pass and VIP tickets.
“Music Fest was probably ten times bigger than what this will be,” said Clark Mayor Sal Bonaccorso, who had been contacted by the county. “The fact you have to pay will take some of the crowd away.”
Logistics are still in the planning stages and Bonaccorso said he and Clark Police Chief Pedro Matos will meet with the county to determine manpower, parking and traffic needs.
Game Changer, based in Howell, NJ, owns and operates a 750-person concert and event venue. It also produces music festivals such as the Skate and Surf Festival in Asbury Park, the Electric Adventure Beach Weekend in Atlantic City and various shows at Six Flags amusement parks.
“It seems like a really great thing. It’s in the park, it’ll be a nice event,” Bonaccorso said. “Go down to the park, buy a ticket, bring a blanket, listen to some music, have some fun, enjoy it.”
The expansive Oak Ridge Park, formerly a golf course, is located at 136 Oak Ridge Road in Clark and part of the Union County parks system.