In the late 1960’s, Asbury Park’s Upstage Club was the place where local musicians could gather to jam until dawn. Jam sessions included Bruce Springsteen along with future E Street Band members Garry Tallent, Danny Federici, Davey Sancious, Vini Lopez, and Miami Steve Van Zandt as well as Southside Johnny and many others. In contrast to Asbury Park’s long history of segregation in musical venues, the Upstage was open to musicians of all races and backgrounds. The July 1970 riot led to the eventual closing of the Upstage Club and the gradual decline of Asbury Park. Now that Asbury Park is experiencing a revival, Tom Jones’ forthcoming film about the Upstage Club examines the power of music to bring people together. The film captures the story of the Upstage Club and the Asbury riots from the musicians, residents, protestors and local businesses who lived through it and its aftermath, and looks for the light that experience can shed on the road forward.
As part of the Second Annual Music In Film Festival in Asbury Park, director tom Jones will present select clips from the rough cut of the Upstage Project and lead a panel of guests who can comment on issues raised by the film about music, Asbury Park and conflict resolution. The panel will include Ed Johnson, former Mayor of Asbury Park, Classic Urban Harmony’s Charlie Horner, music historian and expert on Asbury’s West Side musical heritage, Jon Leidersdorf, founder of the Lakehouse Music Academy, and Bill Arzt, a founding member of the Upstage house band, Margaret & the Distractions.
The panel will begin at 6:00 PM Saturday April 9, at the 629 Gallery, 629 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park NJ.