Music returns to Asbury’s West Side after 40 years – Asbury Park Press
Music returns to the West Side of Asbury Park on Monday, June 27 with a concert by Gedeon Luke and the People at the new Springwood Avenue Park.
Music returned to the West Side of Asbury Park on Monday, June 27.
âTonight weâre going to celebrate,â said Gedeon Luke of the funk combo Gedeon Luke and the People at the new Springwood Avenue Park. âTonight is your time to tell the world how youâre feeling.â
More than 200 attended the show at the park, located on the block that was once home to Cubaâs Night Club. Kids played on swings at the side of the stage and adults sat on beach chairs in front of the stage — when they werenât dancing to Luke and the People. At one point a conga line developed.
âThe funk is in Asbury Park,â Luke said.
Springwood Avenue was formerly a vibrant center of music in Asbury Park where greats like Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Lenny Welch, the Broadways, Bobby Thomas, Clarence Clemons and more were either inspired by or played the avenueâs club circuit. Â The music scene, a major component of the Sound of Asbury Park, Â came to an abrupt halt during the summer of 1970 when riots tore apart Asbury Park and specifically Springwood Avenue.
Since that time, the area has been passed over for bigger redevelopment projects until now.
âIâve Â been waiting a long time for this,â said Alfred Mitchell Sr., 68 of Asbury Park, whose family home was formerly on the block, behind Cubaâs, where the park is now. Â âWhen city first took over this property, they were going to build housing and it never happened. Â I went into the service and came back right after the riots and the house was still there. All the houses used to be big and grand and they tore them down. Now, 40 years later, we get a park.â
âIâm just hoping the younger generation appreciates whatâs here, takes care of it and doesnât do anything stupid.â
The concerts, called the Levitt AMP Asbury Park Music Series, begin 6 p.m. on Mondays through Aug. 29 . A Levitt AMP (Your City) Grant Award of $25,000, won partly by a popular vote, has helped stage the series and the Asbury Park Music Foundation helped secure the grant.. Â The Asbury Park Press is a sponsor and Asbury Audio is doing the sound.
The cost of the park was more than $1 million, which came partly from Monmouth County Freeholders grants and the city, said Asbury Park Mayor John Moor.
Signs of renewal in the area include the recent approval of Interfaith Neighborâs Turf Club redevelopment project of 40 Â affordable housing units and the proposed 64-unit Michaels Organizationâs Renaissance Village is moving forward, Moor said.
âThis is going to be great,â Moor said. âThis is the first time thereâs been music on Springwood Avenue in more than 40 years.â
The public is invited to bring their own picnics, blankets and lawn chairs to the concerts, which have an open patio and lawn setting. There will also be food available for purchase at the shows from multiple food vendors.Visit the AMP web site at Â concerts.levittamp.org/asbury_park for more info.
âThis park means a lot to me,â Mitchell said.
Levitt AMP Asbury Park Music Series
(Concerts start at 6 p.m.)
July 4 — WimBash (featuring members of Living Color) and the Lakehouse Jr. Pros
July 11 — The Mayorâs Players (aka the Kevin Sanders Band) with the Dorian Parreott Ensemble
July 18 — JT Bowen and the Mighty Kings of Soul
July 25 — Quincy Mumford and the Reason Why and the Asbury Park High School Band
Aug. 1 — Dr. Cheeko and the Island Sound with Random Test
Aug. 8 — MonteRosa Band with Karen Lee & Sympathetic Resonance
Aug. 15 — The F.L.O.W
Aug. 22 — Gary U.S. Bonds
Aug. 29 — Ty Higginsenâs Harlem Teens Choir
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