The SouthNEXT Festival — an eclectic mix of music, art, ideas and fun in South Orange Village — continued to build on its success in its third year.
The event — which bills itself as weekend of “creative collisions” — included panels on hot button social and political topics, health and wellness sessions with South Mountain Yoga, the transformation of the Sloan Street parking lot into a Big Top, an outdoor DJ keeping the vibe going day and night, food and drink (thanks to South Mountain Tavern for the kegs!), an intergenerational game of Jeopardy, musical acts at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, the construction of an elephant by local artists — and so much more.
Discussions and presentations included recent gubernatorial candidate Jim Johnson speaking on the importance of the cultural arts in society; a look at artists before and after their recent immigration, and Mayors Ras Baraka of Newark, and Marc Morial (New Orleans) speaking with Khalil Muhammad on how to shape political agendas.
Musical performances included Marry the See, Tori Erstwhile and The Montys, The Mess We Made, Stuff Brothers, Ricky Persaud, Sputnick 5, the South Orange Youth Choir and Lux.
“We attracted a highly diverse population, with a wide group of attendees from geographic areas and demographic groups; several who were new to South Orange and our events,” said South Orange Trustee Steve Schnall, who founded and guides the festival.
The event also attracted a wide range of ages. All in all, Schnall called this year’s SouthNEXT Festival “successful and fun.”
SouthNEXT was sponsored this year by RWJ Saint Barnabas Medical Center, Seton Hall University, Investors Bank, South Orange Country Day School, Sam Joseph (Berkshire Hathaway) Ben Garrison (Coldwell Banker), Mark Slade (Keller Williams) and Stop and Shop.
Most photos by Matt Peyton: