Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Festival like a Family Barbecue

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Festival like a Family Barbecue

Article excerpt

Festivals -- like people -- have personalities. Which, in both cases, can sometimes change as they grow.

Not going to happen with the Rockland-Bergen Music Festival, says founder Joe D'Urso.

"This is maybe a little more of a caring vibe," says D'Urso, a Park Ridge resident. "Someone said, 'I feel like I'm at a family barbecue with famous people.' That's the vibe I want to preserve."

Southside Johnny (6:30 p.m. Saturday), New Riders of the Purple Sage (5 p.m. Sunday), Joe Grushecky & tThe Houserockers (2:30 p.m. Saturday), Hot Tuna's Jorma Kaukonen (6:30 p.m. Sunday), and Willie Nile (5 p.m. Saturday) are among the famous people at this third edition of the festival, once again situated at the German Masonic Park in Tappan, N.Y. Some 22 acts will perform on two stages, with lots of craft vendors to browse, and food and drink vendors to keep you refreshed.

"The beauty of German Masonic park is that we can never get above 4,000 to 5,000 a day, with people being comfortable and having chairs," D'Urso says. "Compare that to 11,000 or 12,000 for Bonnaroo, or Coachella. We don't have a risk of jumping that shark. Maybe there is a shark between 4,000 and 5,000, but maybe it's a bullhead and not a great white."

Something else that makes this festival different: some 15 different charities, including WhyHunger, Light of Day Foundation, Homes for Heroes, March of Dimes, and Habitat for Humanity, will have booths at the festival. Though the Rockland-Bergen Music Festival is not a benefit, contributions will be going to each organization. More important, festival-goers will have a chance to learn, sign up, get involved.

"At the end of the day, this is a music festival, and we want this to be entertaining," D'Urso says. "But we also want people to make a connection with all these organizations on the grounds. My goal is to have every music fan who goes through the gate make a personal connection with one of those organizations."

Music and charity are equally near and dear to D'Urso. …

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