Although called Jersey City’s Fourth of July festival, the events at Exchange Place on the holiday evening turned Jersey City into one big disco party. Montgomery Street for blocks leading up to the main stage area was so packed with people it seemed impossible to move. But with rapper Snoop Dogg headlining, it was impossible not to move.
The rapper gave new meaning to the old musical metaphor about dancing in the streets. Even if you didn’t like rap music, Snoop Dogg somehow got you to move your feet.
Mayor Steven Fulop, who launched the annual festival three years ago, said attendance was “off the charts” the entire day.
“The day went well,” Fulop said. “Vendors did well. Children’s carnival did well. And most importantly, the Jersey City Police Department and law enforcement provided a safe place for families. Jersey City broke every attendance record we had through the day and into the night. The show was great, and the fireworks were great, although I wish we hit the 9:35 p.m. launch instead of the 10:10 launch.”
The fireworks had to be concluded by 11 p.m. by local law, but it was clear that the music was going to run late even as early as 5 p.m. when the Paris-New York Band, scheduled to go on at 4:45 p.m., had not yet taken the stage.
“The artists went over, which was out of our hands,” Fulop said. “However, most importantly, it was a safe event, which was our number one priority as we had 150,000 people to manage. This is where we spent all our time over the over the last month. Thank you to the law enforcement that were out there and made this possible.”
“The day went well. Vendors did well. Children’s carnival did well.” – Steven Fulop
Joined by Akon
It was clear that nobody was going to cut Snoop Dogg short when he finally came on, playing some of his classic tunes and bringing out Akon, providing an added thrill. Akon, 45, attended Dickinson High School in Jersey City, and so his appearance was something of a homecoming.
The music kicked off at noon with DJ Billy, followed by the National Anthem performed by Isabella Temple. Then the real party started as Bubble Queen Music took the stage, and was followed by Radio Daze, The One & Nines and The Bomb Digz.
The Bomb Digz was a boy band act that delivered tasty R&B tunes and, as one shouted from the stage, “We’re only 17 years old!”
The large and very powerful Paris-New York Band opening the evening with a mixture of Latin pop, R&B, as well as pop classics, all delivered a full volume and with a more than acrobatic stage show.
Michael Brun and later Bayli kept the growing crowd warmed up for the arrival of Snoop Dogg, who overwhelmed everything that came before with the stage dynamics that define his musical reputation.
Snoop Dog took the stage at about 9:20 p.m. and performed “Gin and Juice” and “The Next Episode,” before bringing on Akon to perform “Soul Survivor,” “Locked up” and other tunes.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.