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Gordon Brown Discusses The Emerging Music Festival
Wave Gathering
[No] matter what happens this year, all we honestly really want is for everyone to let their guards down and come enjoy one another's company and artistry for a full weekend. - Gordon Brown
by Matt Mrowicki
The Churchills
The Churchills are one of the featured acts at Wave Gathering 2007

May 18-20, 2007 will mark the return of the Wave Gathering to Asbury Park, NJ. The second annual edition of the emerging music festival is on track to be the largest event of its kind ever held in the famous musical city. With over 150 artists scheduled to perform at 18 venues, Wave Gathering 2007 should be an exciting and memorable weekend for musicians and fans alike.

Created by Gordon Brown, who broke out of the Asbury scene to find major-label success with bands Mister Reality, Samhill and Highway 9, along with Scott Stamper and Adam Weisberg, owners of The Saint, a popular Asbury Park venue, and Larry Katz, a veteran music business attorney, the first Wave Gathering brought 2,000 fans to the ocean front community to listen to the diverse sounds being created by the area's musical community, while exploring the new venues, restaurants and shops that have sprung up on the commercial avenues.

While the festival largely features musicians from the local scene and the greater New Jersey area, musicians from around the country and even outside of the United States will be represented on the weekend's schedule.

Single-day, two-day and weekend admission passes are available to fans. Passes allows fans to walk from venue to venue to stop by and catch a set or two before moving along. It is a unique opportunity to not only hear music that you never knew was out there, but take a chance on a venue that you hadn't checked out previously. At only $40 for a full three-day weekend admission, it's not hard to make that amount cover a dozen shows or more while strolling along the beach and enjoying everything the community has to offer.

Notable performers who be participating in this year's event include Toby Lightman, Earl Greyhound, Nicole Atkins & the Sea, deSol, The Churchills, Val Emmich. Matt O'Ree and April Smith. A complete list of performers and venues, as well as performance times, can be found on the official Wave Gathering website, www.wavegathering.com. Admission passes can also be purchased online as well.

Chorus and Verse caught up with Gordon Brown to discuss this year's event and what it means to the local music scene and the community as a whole.

The 2007 Wave Gathering is set to be one of the largest events in the history of the Asbury Park music scene. To what do you contribute such considerable growth in only your second year and what are the biggest challenges with dealing with that sort of growth?

The growth has a lot to do with the amount of talent we have here and the positive overwhelming reaction to be a part of the music community as they get a chance to network with their peers. The biggest challenges we face are making sure we can fit all the artists we want to include and have enough staff to cover the whole event. We didn't expect this many bands to come on board. It's really inspiring and should be a signal to everyone about what is happening here.

Who are some of the most notable performers who will be featured at the Wave Gathering this year?

I'm not sure I should answer this question on the record. (Laughs.) I'll be shot during the festival. It's bad enough I can't get everyone in the print ads.

Are there some names that you'd like to throw out there as shows that fans shouldn't miss?

Yes ... All of them. (Laughs.)

For people who might come to Wave Gathering from outside of Asbury Park, talk about what it's like to get around from venue to venue. Realistically, how many of the 18 venues participating in this year's event would someone be able to visit over the course of the weekend?

With just a little planning, you could make it to each and every one if you really wanted to. It's not a very large city compared to most and it's very easy to get around. There will be a map included in the program guide so it will be easy to navigate. You can also go to www.wavegathering.com for a schedule and www.upstagemagazine.com for a full artist preview. Tools to help you plan your whole musical weekend.

Toby Lightman
Toby Lightman plays The Stone Pony as part of the second annual Wave Gathering music festival

Even casual music fans will know of Bruce Springsteen's connection to Asbury Park, but can you give a bit of Music History 101 of Asbury Park?

There is a great book out called The Rock and Roll Tour of the Jersey Shore (www.njrockmap.com) that is probably the best New Jersey music history lesson anyone has ever put together about our area. It was written and put together by Jean Mikle and Stan Goldstein and if anyone could give a history lesson on what happened here through the years, it would be them.

Who are some of the musicians from this scene who are making their mark on a national level today, and who do you think the next group of musicians will include who fans around the country will be hearing about?

The Churchills, Val Emmich and deSol have all been working hard out there on the road for the past few years. Paperback Radio, April Smith, Readymade Breakup, Status Green, Parlor Mob, The Gay Blades, Phil Bensen, Arlan Feiles, Last Perfect Thing and Holtz are all next in line to continue to do the same.

You've made an effort to promote the Asbury Park community as a whole, not just the performance venues. Talk about some of the restaurants and cafes in the area and the development of Cookman and Mattison Avenues that might surprise people who haven't frequented Asbury in a while.

Most people are going to be pleasantly surprised if they remember the Asbury Park of twenty years past. There is a true rejuvenation going on now with many of the new restaurants as well as the pre-existing ones. To take a look or even "walk through" the new environment being created right in your own backyard in the city by the sea, take a look at the following sites: www.asburyparkchamber.com and www.cookmanave.com.

What is the general state of the Asbury Park "rebirth"? How does the Wave Gathering fit into the redevelopment of the area and is it difficult to avoid getting involved with the political and economic issues that are so prevalent in the area?

I am going to go on record saying it's A LOT better now than it was when I first started playing in clubs. Things are finally moving forward after years of the city and the real estate sitting dormant. This festival is a document of the beginning of real change that everyone has been able to see from the outside. Just in the past year alone, so many buildings have gone up and new businesses have opened. We truly are at the beginning of the city's rebirth. There are now a few real estate moguls in town. That should also tell you things are looking up.

One of the new aspects of this year's festival will be the music industry panels that will be conducted. What can you tell us about the topic of these panels and the participants? Are these more insider events or would they be of interest to the general public?

As we bring the concept of music panels to the Jersey Shore this year, we are going to start off very basic so everyone can see what they are all about. There will be discussions about current industry topics with people that actually do the work. A&R, management, agents and artists. This will be something that all the musicians will want to be at as well as anyone from parents to kids, curious to learn how things work in the music entertainment industry. We want to educate as much as possible but also give attendees a chance to meet and ask questions to the people on the front line. You can't find an opportunity like that anywhere in our area.

What do you hope will be the legacy of Wave Gathering 2007 when that weekend is over? With such growth in just one year, what do you see as the potential of the festival and how large do you think it can become?

Well, no matter what happens this year, all we honestly really want is for everyone to let their guards down and come enjoy one another's company and artistry for a full weekend. We hope that this will be the one event every year that has nothing to do with who's better or more talented, but really being able to sample the tastes of everyone's different styles of music. That's what makes this area so great and unique. That's why we do this. We are proud to be a part of this music community and we are very proud to help bring a lot of other national and international musicians to be a part of it with us.

[ Website: www.wavegathering.com ]

Matt Mrowicki
Matt Mrowicki [[email protected]], is an Internet entrepreneur and owner of Chorus and Verse. In 2002, he founded Impression Technologies LLC (www.imprtech.com) a digital design company offering website development, graphic design, online marketing, social media and technology consulting. He has been interviewed on topics ranging from how bands can best use their websites for promoting their music to current trends in social media. He has successfully launched over 100 websites and branding projects for clients and continues to develop new online opportunities and promote effective uses of technology and online media.
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