11:45                FOUNDER’S WELCOME — MIKE GRIOT
11:55-12:00.    National Anthem/ELIZA NEALS
12:00-12:20.   MAREL HIDALGO
12:40-1:10.      BILL SIMS JR
1:25-1:45.        FLOYD GRAY JR GOSPEL CHOIR
1:55-2:15.        TATIANA LIMA
3:15-4:00.        ELIZA NEALS and THE NARCOTICS
4:20-5:20        TOMAS DONCKER and the TRUE GROOVE ALL STARS
5:45-7:00.        POPA CHUBBY
7:20-8:00.        Lil BASTAD

Popa Chubby


This year, Popa Chubby, who was born Ted Horowitz, marks twenty five years of rocking the blues as Popa Chubby. Over the course of a career that dates back to 1994, he has been a force of to be reckoned with on the guitar, and his tempestuous, soulful playing has never been more powerful. An imposing figure with a shaven head, tattooed arms, a goatee and a performance style he describes as “the Stooges meets Buddy Guy, Motörhead meets Muddy Waters, and Jimi Hendrix meets Robert Johnson,” Popa Chubby is an endearing character who is one of the genre’s most popular figures.

Bill Sims, Jr.

Bill Sims2

Born into and raised by a sharecropping family in rural Georgia, vocalist and multi- instrumentalist Bill Sims Jr. is an internationally respected master of the blues. He began playing piano at age four and by fourteen he was playing professionally in a rhythm and blues group. A Warner Bros. recording artist, Mr. Sims is also an accomplished musical director and has lent his talents to many theater and film productions in New York and the United States. His film credits include Lackawanna Blues, Miss Ruby’s House, American Gangster, and the recent Cadillac Records. He was also the subject of a critically acclaimed PBS documentary, An American Love Story, in 1999. Mr Sims currently lives in NYC where he mentors a new generation of blues and roots musicians.

Lil’ Bastad


Lil’ Bastad – The tongue in cheek name is synonymous with the winning humor and unique style that instantly connects their music with their audiences. This five piece blues based band formed in 1999 through their musicianship and great love for the Blues, R&B and Funk. Lil’ Bastad combines formal “old school” style and their own contemporary feel to form a winning musical balance.

Eliza Neals


ELIZA NEALS is a dynamic front woman, multi-talented musician, confident producer and outstanding live performer plus the voice of the ’21st Century blues’ for a new generation.

Chosen for ‘Blues Magazine UK #24’ covermount CD compilation “In Safe Hands – The Next Generation of Blues Superstars” and “Breaking and Entering,” not only is it one of the finest records you’ll hear this year, it’s also one of the most eclectic.

Music For Nikhil – Sax Group


This group has been learning under the tutelage of saxophonist/composer/arranger/bandleader Virginia Mayhew for the last 3-5 years. The group has performed at various venues such as Hat City Kitchen, Arbor Glen Retirement Community, Susan Komen Run/Walk, NJ Sharing Network 5K as well as at the annual Musical Celebration and Tribute to Nikhil. The group consists of West Orange High School seniors Paulo Rojas (tenor sax), Zeke Timen (alto sax), Brendon Fils (tenor sax), Kevin Zeligson (alto Sax) and Freshman Massimo Mccormick (alto sax) and Roosevelt Middle Schooler Mathew Holland (bari sax). It’s amazing to see the progress and the level of maturity that these students have attained in a few years. We hope you come out to support them and enjoy their renditions.

The Music For Nikhil© program was launched by the Nikhil Badlani Foundation in January 2012. Currently lessons are offered to 70 middle and high school students in West Orange in trumpet, saxophone, bassoon, flute, french horn, trombone, violin and voice lessons to special needs students. Lessons are offered at no cost to the underserved children and at a reduced cost to others. For more information on the program and the foundation, visit at:

Tatiana Lima


Tatiana Lima is a singer/songwriter. Her music ranges from rock to pop while fusing classical and folk influences.

She has performed at numerous venues and events, including the Hoboken International Film Festival, Brazilian Day in Newark, and as a featured artist on Telemundo TV: Las Comadres con Gloria B. Five of her original songs have been featured in the independent film,The Three Chris’. Tatiana Lima was voted Most Popular Performer at NY Presbyterian- Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, a video reel will be playing all of her performances on the NY Presbyterian Performers Wall (performances including Grammy nominated pop stars Avril Lavigne and Natasha Bedingfield). One of her original songs was submitted to American Idol for the Finale Song (of the Finale Season) and made the top 20 out of 25000 entries. Her original song, Need You Tonight, is now in the category of duets for the Finale Season of American Idol. She is currently working with Producer, Hanan Rubinstein (Birdie Studios, Alicia Keys, and Rita Ora) on an EP which is coming out in 2017.

Tomás Doncker and the True Groove Allstars


Tomás Doncker cut his teeth as a guitarist with genre-busting groups such as James Chance & The Contortions; Defunkt; J. Walter Negro & The Loose Jointz; and many more, making him a prime mover on New York’s downtown“No Wave” scene in the early 1980s. Eventually he went international, touring and recording with Japanese jazz icons Sadao Watanabe and Masabumi Kikuchi, and producing studio and songwriting sessions with Bootsy Collins, Yoko Ono, and Grammy-nominated Reggae vocal group The Itals, among others.

Click here to see a 360 performance of Tomás Doncker and the True Groove Allstars

Marel Hidalgo

Marel Hidalgo is a eight-year-old musician from Bradley Beach, New Jersey. He started learning to play the guitar at the age of four and a half and a few months later he did his first presentation in Belmar, NJ, as a guest of local musician Tim P-Dub. At the age of six, Marel formed his first band “Marel Hidalgo & Friends”. Ever since he has performed in numerous festivals and venues including Art All Night and The Levitt Amp Music Series in Trenton, Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in New York and recently The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Marel plays mainly guitar (both electric and acoustic), banjo and bass.

Floyd Gray Jr. Gray Note Productions


Floyd’s musical odyssey began at the age of four when he would watch his Godfather play the piano and then mimic what he saw and heard.  It soon became obvious that Floyd had been gifted with the ability to play by ear.  This musical prodigy was allowed to hone his musical skills during his formative years by regularly playing the organ at the church he attended; a church which by today’s standards would be considered a “mega church”.  At the age of 18, Floyd was recruited by well-known recording artist and minister Richard “Mr. Clean” White and relocated to New Orleans, LA to pursue his passion and purpose, thus formally beginning his musical career.

Throughout his illustrious career, Floyd has traveled both nationally and internationally sharing his gift of music with the world.  Having served for over thirty years as a Musical Director, Floyd’s most notable accomplishments include performing in packed coliseum across France to over 20,000 concert-goers; the McDonald’s Gospel Superfest where he accompanied Cissy Houston on the Hammond B3 along with Nat Adderly Jr. for what has now become a record breaking event in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest choir. Floyd has taught on topics that include choir directing, praise and worship, musicianship, vocal techniques, choir decorum and stage presence.

Whether teaching music, directing a choir or musical production, mentoring up-and-coming musicians or simply playing his beloved organ, this prolific musician has been and continues to be a constant fixture on the music scene.  Although he is in such high demand he found time to form and create a new musical group called The Tri-County Chorale, a group whose musical repertoire focuses on both traditional and contemporary gospel music.

“Best of the Fest” — Volume II

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