Happening Now: Blues People International Festival Underway in Newark

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newark events blues people international festival 2016

The Blues People International Festival has returned to Newark, New Jersey for a second annual weeklong celebration of jazz, funk, salsa, and gospel music. The festival is free to the public and aims to celebrate music representative of and developed by people of African descent.

The Blues People International Festival kicked off on Sunday, December 4th at noon with performances by the DD Jackson Trio, Guy David, and Maurice Chesnut at Nico’s Kitchen in Newark. An official opening reception followed at Clement’s and featured National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master George Coleman honoring his wife, jazz organist Gloria Coleman.


Other big highlights include jazz legend Grachan Moncour performing alongside Steven Lovell on Friday at 7pm at The Blue Mirror. On Thursday night, Portuguese vocalist Fatima Santos’ Fado Group and Anthony Nelson will perform at Casa Vasca. McDonald’s Gospelfest Female Soloist of the Year Marcia Sapp will lead Gospel Bonanza on Saturday evening at Alva Tavern.

The festival will close on Sunday, December 11th with an Organ Jam of native music featuring the legendary Rhoda Scott at the Robert Treat Hotel. (See below for the full schedule).


The Blues People International Festival is named in homage to poet, writer, and activist Amiri Baraka’s classic piece Blues People. Concertgoers will get to see some of the biggest names in jazz and blues and enjoy some of Newark’s best restaurants.

Sunday, December 4th: Jazz and Blues Brunch

Featuring DD Jackson Trio, Guy Davis, and Maurice Chestnut
Location: Nico’s Kitchen @ NJPAC – 1 Center Street, Newark, NJ
Time: 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Opening Reception
George Coleman Celebrates Gloria Coleman
Location: Clement’s – 15 Washington St., Newark NJ 07102
Time: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Monday, December 5th: Valarie Adams and the Dimensions Band and Joe Taino

Location: Mr. Adams Steakhouse – 1034 McCarter Hwy. Newark, NJ
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., 9:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday, December 6th: Mimi Jones Group and Funk Salsa Urban

Location: Spanish Manor – 246 Heller Pkwy., Newark, NJ
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., 9:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Wednesday, December 7th Amina Figarova and Alexis Morrast

Location: Clement’s – 15 Washington St., Newark NJ
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., 9:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Thursday, December 8th Lady CiCi and drummer Don Williams

Location: The Redwood Café – 516 Orange Street, Newark, NJ
Time: 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, December 8th Fatima Santos’ Fado Group and Anthony Nelson featuring Charenee Wade

Location: Casa Vasca – 141 Elm St., Newark, NJ
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., 9:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Friday, December 9th Jazz legend Grachan Moncour and Steven Lovell

Location: The Blue Mirror – 257 Clinton Ave., Newark, NJ
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., 9:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 10th Gospel Bonanza with Marcia Sapp and 4 for Christ

Location: Alva Tavern at Hotel Indigo – 810 Broad St., Newark, NJ
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., 8:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, December 11th Organ Jam (Native Music) featuring the legendary Rhoda Scott

Location: Robert Treat Hotel – 50 Park Place, Newark, NJ
Time: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

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