Food, Performances and All That Jazz!

Kean University’s second annual Jazz and Roots Music Festival at The Enlow Hall Lawn took place on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Campus Life > Food, Performances and All That Jazz!
Food, Performances and All That Jazz!
Concert goers at the second annual Jazz And Roots Music Festival
Jean Gardere

On Saturday, Sept. 24, Kean University celebrated it's second annual Jazz and Roots Music Festival. Music lovers flocked to the Lawn at Enlow Hall in Hillside, New Jersey to listen to the sounds of jazz, blues, and reggae.

Getting ready for the performances, people from all over made themselves comfortable with lawn chairs and blankets from home. This year's performances included:

  • Event Headliner and Critically Acclaimed Jazz Vocalist Dianne Reeves.
  • New York and New Jersey band, Blues People.
  • Big Fun(k), led by longtime collaborators Don Braden and Karl Latham.
  • Soul-Reggae Band, Judah Tribe with Josh David

In between performances, festival goers could purchase food from the vendors setup on the Lawn. There were many vendors including Halal R Us and Amara’s Caribbean BBQ.

Aside from the music, there were other activities planned for guests. People had the option to have restorative massages, and purchase different products. Some could buy handcrafted artwork imbued with reiki energy, Kean Stage memorabilia and homemade clothing.

Kean Alumni and Communications Specialist Edwin Smiley was present at last year's festival. Smiley was please with the new changes at this year's event.

“For one, it’s not as chilly...last year, it was pretty cold. It’s a larger crowd for sure. I think Kean did a great job just promoting and getting out to the community," said Smiley.

In Smiley’s opinion, jazz, blues and reggae still attract so much interest decades later because they are “music for the soul,” something his parents used to tell him.

“It’s timeless," said Smiley.

Kean Alumni Genesis Moran was also please with the second annual Jazz and Roots Music Festival. Moran studied psychology and is looking at a career in social work for the future. Moran attended the festival because of its representation and community bonding.

“I think there’s definitely a form of representation that’s important to people. Being able to see yourself in performers and see yourself up on stage,” said Moran. “There’s just been so much isolation [and] so much loneliness that festers throughout our society, so I think that events like these are really nice to have.”

Two kean students decided to attend the festival together after noticing the promotional banner in from ot East Campus. Senior Psycholohy Major Alissa Powell and English and Education Major Malay Robinson were excited to see what the festival had to offer.

“I’m Jamaican, so I like the Caribbean vibes, so I’m mostly looking forward to reggae,” said Powell. “Music in itself, especially Jazz…speaks a message. People tell their story, whatever they’re going through…I feel like you can connect to them, with their pain.” 

Robinson agrees with her friend when it comes to Jazz , describing it as “music that speaks to the soul."

Powell and Robinson both wanted to thank Kean University President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D., Internationally Acclaimed Bassist/Producer Mike Griot, and the sponsors for putting this event together.

“Thank you for doing this," said Powell. " I feel like it’s definitely a sense of community…you rarely see people of my skin color having an organization and coming together and celebrating.”

“Thanks so much!” said Robinson. “It’s good to have different events like this to just split up the academic side of life as a student…this is a good break for me on my Saturday afternoon.” 

The second annual Jazz and Roots Festival was a success. Thank you to all who made it possible. Here’s to a third year!