Concert series kicks off in Geick Park next week

Tributes to Elton John, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Bon Jovi featured

OLD BRIDGE – It’s summertime, and in the township, that means time to break out the picnic basket, cooler and lawn chairs, and head to Geick Park for an evening of live music under the stars.

The Summer Music Series kicks off at 7:30 p.m. July 8 with a show by The Zanzibar Band, and continues each Tuesday through Aug. 5.

That’s right, Tuesdays this year. The Old Bridge Cultural Arts Committee decided to break from the traditional Wednesday schedule, hoping to change their luck and get some clearer nights.

“Wednesday was bad for us. There was too much rain,” Committee Chairman Rob Reckhow said with a chuckle about the superstitious move.

Reckhow and the other committee members narrowed down a lengthy list of possible bands and came up with a selection that they expect will appeal to young and old. They also continued with the tradition of presenting one local band, in this case The Zanzibar Band, some of whose members hail from Old Bridge. The cover band performs a variety of hits from the 1960s to the present.

The summer schedule then features a double bill on July 15, with performances by both the Elton John tribute band Bennie & the Jets, and Billy Joel cover band 52nd Street. Reckhow expects the night to attract a large crowd.

“They both play a lot of popular music that people can relate to, and that’s what we want,” he said, noting that Benny & the Jets was a big hit when featured in the series two years ago.

On July 22, the series features a movie, whose title will soon be announced, instead of a concert. The movie will likely be a musical that will appeal to children and their parents, Reckhow said.

“We used to have a movie once in a while in the spring or the fall, but this seemed like a better venue for it,” he said.

Music returns July 29, with Runaway performing the music of Bon Jovi. Reckhow expects the band, which performed as part of the series three years ago, will attract a younger audience.

OnAug. 5, the series wraps up with Simply the Best, a tribute to the music of Tina Turner, another “really popular” attraction for several generations, according to Reckhow.

While the concerts have typically drawn an audience of 200 to 300, the Cultural Arts Committee is optimistic that more residents will come out this year. Reckhow noted that everyone is free to bring their own food and drinks, though a concession stand is usually open in the Route 516 park.

“We always hope each year will be better than the year before,” Reckhow said. “And last season was pretty good, I have to say.”

Though organizers are hoping to get away from the rain of the past, each show will have a rain date of the following night. The rain date for the July 22 movie is Aug. 13. For weather inquiries, call the hotline at 732-721-5600, ext. 2190.

– Brian Donahue