Reggae Festival Near Bergen, New Jersey

by Laurie Rappeport
The annual Reggael Festival in Newark brings reggae to New Jersey fans.

The annual Reggael Festival in Newark brings reggae to New Jersey fans.

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Reggae fans, music lovers and families looking for a family-friendly activity can check out the annual New Jersey International Reggae Fest, held each year in Newark, New Jersey, 29 minutes north of Bergen. The festival grew from an initial smattering of local reggae artists to today's gathering of some of the best-known reggae musicians working in the field. The annual August festival attracts people who come from many different areas to enjoy the lively atmosphere.


Newark has hosted the annual reggae festival since 2000. G City Enterprise produces the festival together with Jeawin Entertainment and the Jamaican music website. Festival sponsors include CCB International, Race Entertainment, and Street Music Promotion. In recent years, festival producers have begun to bring in more "roots-reggae" and downplay the dancehall dimension of reggae, aiming to offer a family-friendly reggae festival to area residents and visitors.

Festival Today

As of 2010, the festival draws between 3,000 and 5,000 people. Interested individuals may obtain tickets through Road Block Radio (, one of the festival's sponsors. In addition to the live reggae music, the festival features native arts and crafts, authentic Caribbean cuisine and a variety of cultural activities which are representative of the various Caribbean nations.

Festival Performers

The New Jersey International Reggae Festival attracts some of today's best-known reggae artists including Marcia Griffiths, Baby Sham, Cocoa Tea, Freddie McGregor, Tarrus Riley, Gramps Morgan, and Duane Stephenson. Chino and Laden have also performed at the festival.

Other Newark/Bergen Sites

Visitors who come to the Bergen and Newark areas to experience the reggae festival may take advantage of some of the region's other sites of interest. The African Globe Theatre Works in Newark features productions of interest to people of African descent. The Art Gallery of Newark exhibits original art by world-renowned and regional artists which include paintings, graphics and sculpture. Parents may wish to take their children to the New Jersey Children's Museum in Paramus where the children can experience interactive, hands-on exhibits which include a real fire truck, a helicopter, a fossil/dinosaur cave, a ballet studio and a medieval castle.

Photo Credits

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