Sometimes different ideas, genres and melodies run parallel. Sometimes, like atoms, they collide explosively. It’s those creative collisions that the second annual SouthNext event will explore and celebrate. 

A one-of-a-kind festival of music, art and big ideas,SouthNext: Create and Collide, brings together an intriguing blend of nationally and locally recognized artists, speakers and performers to act as a catalyst for imagination and innovation. The key to the entire weekend is an all-access SouthNext wristband, which can be purchased for $30 ($15 for those under 21) at southnextnj.com.

A project of the Village of South Orange, and sponsored by Saint Barnabas Medical Center, SouthNext features more than 20 creative and interactive sessions, 12 musical performances, and one giant “Creative Midway” packed with interactive art projects. A world-renowned blues band riffs while two talented visual artists (one digital, one analog) create new masterpieces. Humans become drones controlled by other humans, complete with video-capture capabilities. Local elected officials debate the pros and cons of development head-to-head… in a boxing ring. These are among the creative collisions to be expected at SouthNext.

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Kicking off the festival on Friday, June 17, is the Tech(ing) Ball, a three-story cocktail party meets creative circus that will fill the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) both inside and out.  Featured will be a ground-breaking interactive experience, where jazz musicians and online developers will create music and build a web application, side-by-side, interacting and improvising in myriad ways.

Other highlighted events include:

  • LUX – Bold, dramatic, unruly and visionary, LUX, South Orange’s latest musical explosion, merges the world of high-energy performance and symphonic music for an unparalleled musical experience. Rising-star musicians submerged in a spectacle of light perform some of the world’s most revolutionary and stirring music in radical style.  SOPAC Main Stage, Friday, June 17, 6pm)
  • Biscuits and Bourbon: Breakfast with the Studio B Honchos – Irreverent banter. Cunning observations. Breakfast cocktails. Why should Hoda and Kathie Lee have all the fun? The Studio B Honchos (Marcy Thompson & Jenny Turner Hall) are cooking up a salty morning hash with a shmear of satire. Celebrity pets?  Stupid husband tricks?  Maybe. This talk show will help attendees get beneath the curlers and deep inside the minds of a couple of tough cookies. “Biscuits and Bourbon” will be taped as part of Studio B’s forthcoming podcast series, Audio Spectacular!  (SOPAC Loft, Saturday, June 18, 10am)
  • Greatest SOMA Dinner Party Ever! – Join NPR’s David Brancaccio (“Marketplace”) as some of our local famous favorites, hiding in plain sight, talk about living and creating in SOMA while being celebrated in other media venues.  Oscar®, Grammy®, Emmy® and Tony® winners share their unique perspectives. (SOPAC Main Stage, Saturday, June 18, 1pm)
  • The Smithereens – Best known for writing and playing catchy 1960s-influenced power pop that inspired countless alternative rockers including Kurt Cobain, New Jersey’s own Smithereens gained popularity with 11, the album that spawned “A Girl Like You,” “Blood and Roses,” and “Blue Period”.  2011, The Smithereens most recent album of new material was produced by Don Dixon (who helmed “Especially For You,” the group’s breakout debut).  The album 2011 features 12 tracks and finds the seminal rockers picking up right where they left off: with irresistibly catchy hooks and rapturously fuzzed-out guitars. (SOPAC Main Stage, Saturday, June 18, 8pm ) Wristband holders can purchase discounted tickets to the show from the SOPAC box office.

Considered the first such festival in New Jersey, SouthNext serves to showcase the outstanding creative atmosphere, talent and diversity of the South Orange/ Maplewood community. Taking place across eight strollable venues in the South Orange Village Center -- SOPAC, Sloan Street, Ricalton's Village Tavern, Above Restaurant & Bar, Gaslight Brewery & Restaurant, D&I Fitness, South Mountain Yoga and Work and Play -- Saturday’s programming is scheduled from 10 a.m. to midnight and Sunday’s events run from 11 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Additionally, local business operator Work and Play will provide complimentary childcare for wristband holders on Saturday, June 18.

Visit the SouthNext website to purchase all-access wristbands and get details on the full schedule of events. Join the fun on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/southnext/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/southnextnj) and Instagram (@SouthNext) using the hashtag #SOUTHNEXT.