Large-scale events making a New Jersey comeback in 2021
It had been pushed off a few times already from its original April 2020 date, but the Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival scheduled for early June 2021 is "on like Donkey Kong" for up to 15,000 ticket holders, rain or shine, according to Jon Henderson with Good Time Tricycle Productions.
The annual three-session event has been shifted from its typical home at the Convention Center to 1.3 million square feet of outdoor property at Bader Field, where face coverings will be optional.
"The need to call an audible may actually be in the festival's long-term interest," Henderson said of the venue change. "I do believe, to an extent, that attendees' mindsets have changed toward indoor events — and I don't know how long that is going to last."
Mid-March last year, large-scale events such as festivals, carnivals and concerts would be scratched for the rest of 2020 due to the threat of COVID-19. In the final part of our series about summer at the shore during recovery from the pandemic, it's evident that there will be plenty of opportunity for New Jersey residents to flock en masse to events that had no shot at occurring last year.
"The way to explain 2021 is like every event is Christmas Eve, because we're all so excited, and then the actual event itself is like Christmas Day," said Howard Rosenblatt, owner of Mega Bite Events.
The Somerset-based company has a crowded calendar of festivals and movies planned through the end of 2021, including a food truck and music festival at Middletown Sports Complex on Aug. 21.
"We expect to put potentially 3,000 people through the door, 15 to 18 food vendors, live bands, a whole bunch of other activities," Rosenblatt said.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday scratched the mask mandate for outdoor public spaces. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its guidance to note that fully vaccinated individuals don't need to socially distance or wear a mask, indoors or outdoors.
"Pretty much all of the traditional events that would normally have occurred during the course of the summer that didn't happen last summer, they just flipped back up this summer," said Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron.
The Barefoot Country Music Fest, featuring major acts like Carrie Underwood and Zac Brown Band, is scheduled to take over the Wildwood beach for three days in late August. Byron said a Latin festival is slated for a couple weeks prior.
"Even if we needed to have any kind of social distancing, that would certainly never be an issue on our beach," he said.
Carnivals that stop yearly in New Jersey will make a comeback as well in 2021. Thursday marks the launch of a 12-day carnival in Asbury Park, at Bradley Park across from Convention Hall.