Newark NJ - If house music is your thing, then put Riverfront Park on your list of must visit venues this summer.
Throughout the summer, hundreds of people gather at Riverfront Park to listen, and dance to, house music, a genre of electronic dance music (EDM) with roots in Chicago. This regular summer event -- called Riverfront House -- has attracted thousands of music and dancing enthusiasts from various parts of the Metropolitan area for years, since its Debut in 2013.
Riverfront House began as Omar Abdulla’s response to a movement that sought to bring entertainment and life to Riverfront Park, and now, it’s become a staple summer event at a staple public park in Newark.
Abdullah, who has organized, hosted and DJ’d each event since 2013, loves Riverfront Park for its soothing and tranquil atmosphere.
“When you are down on the dance floor at Riverfront Park,” he says, “you lose reality of where you are… As if no problems are happening in your life.”
Abdullah understands how the water of the river and the trees of the park work together to transform what otherwise would be a long sidewalk with a big hill into a beautiful, mesmerizing backdrop. He explains that Riverfront Park kindles a state of happiness for many. “There are not too many places in Newark that make you feel like, ‘wait, where am I?’ ‘Why do i feel like this?’”
Like Abdullah, Priscilla Perry, a regular attendee of Riverfront House events, agrees that Riverfront Park has a special atmosphere that meshes well with the spirit of house music. “This house music event is about love, unity, coming together, nonviolence, and everyone connecting in the spirit of dance.” Perry listens and dances to house music because it makes her forget about all the negative things going on in her life and in the world.
Because house music originated in the 80s, Riverfront House typically attracts people in their late 40s, 50s, and 60s. For the past few years, however, a few teenagers and kids as young as five years old are attending.
Najah Davenport has been attending Riverfront House since 2017. The 18-year old first attended the event with her parents, but she liked it so much that she has since attended the events on her own. Most of her friends do not listen to house music and prefer hip-hop. When she brings her friends -- which is rarely, “they usually come ‘chill’ for only five minutes and then say ‘let’s go somewhere,’” says Davenport.
But that doesn’t hurt her spirit. “I have a real love for house music. I love to dance and I love the location. It’s so beautiful,” says Davenport. “This location is nicer than the other house event locations because of the water. ”
Toni Furman, who has attended Riverfront House since 2013, believes that people should make an effort to visit Riverfront House and listen to the music.
“This (Riverfront Park) is an open area. The water, the grounds, the ambiance, and the unity is simply epic,” said Furman. “If you don’t know about it (Riverfront House) you better get with it and find out what it is.”
Riverfront House will take place on July 6, August 16, and September 13.
Visit Riverfront Park on the web to learn more about upcoming events.
Born and raised in Newark, Jules-Roland Gouton is a 2019 graduate of St. Benedict’s Prep who will be attending Rutgers University in the fall.