Newark Downtown District & NJPAC Present A Free Community Concert

The Newark Downtown District is the vibrant setting for a free community concert celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Newark Downtown District (NDD) on Tuesday, Oct. 16. Presented in partnership with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), this special event features live music by The Commodores and Eric Benét, soul and R&B hits with DJ Felix Hernandez, and appearances by radio personalities Shaila Scott (WBLS 107.5 FM) and DJ Wallah (HOT 97) as co-hosts."What better way to celebrate 20 years in Downtown Newark than to jam out with the entire community?" said Anthony McMillan, Chief Executive Officer of the Newark Downtown District. "We can't wait to enjoy a night to commemorate what's been done and to cheer what's to come!"

The festivities start at 5 p.m. at NJPAC's outdoor Chambers Plaza, 1 Center St., rain or shine. The music gets under way with Felix Hernandez, whose broadcasts of "Rhythm Revue" are heard on WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM and stations throughout the metro area. The Commodores have been releasing chart-topping hits for three decades, among them "Machine Gun," "Three Times a Lady," "Slippery When Wet," and "Brick House." The band, which sold more than 60 million records for Motown, continued onward through the 1983 departure of co-lead vocalist Lionel Richie to earn a Grammy Award for "Night Shift."

Four-time Grammy Award nominee Eric Benét ("You're the Only One," "Sometimes I Cry") scored his breakthrough single, 1999's "Spend My Life with You," by teaming with Tamia, his memorable duet partner. He has toured with fellow contemporary R&B standard-bearers Anthony Hamilton and Lalah Hathaway. "This autumn concert is a special bonus for Newark residents, workers and visitors who love the vibe of the Arts Center's outdoor summertime events," said NJPAC Executive Vice President and Executive Producer David Rodriguez. "Count on great music, dancing, food trucks, an open-air bar and more as we join in the salute to 20 years of the NDD." About half a dozen food trucks will sell eats and treats ranging from cheesesteak sandwiches and empanadas to chicken-stuffed pastry puffs and ice cream. NICO Kitchen + Bar at NJPAC will be open throughout the concert and its outdoor grill will serve up burgers, hot dogs and barbecue chicken. A Biergarten will be open for beer, wine and mixed drinks.

The NDD works hard to enhance the quality of life for those who live, labor, and leisure in Newark, by providing supplemental cleaning and safety services, as well as physical improvement, marketing, and event programs. The NDD is privately funded through a special assessment on district commercial and residential properties, billed and collected by the city's tax collection department and turned over to the NDD for operation management. The NDD is overseen by a Board of Trustees consisting of business and property owners within the District, representatives of non-profit organizations, as well as municipal officials and staff. Every year since 1998 has been a proud and significant one for the NDD, but this year is a different kind of special. Twenty years ago, the NDD was organized by a Newark Municipal Council ordinance with the promise to "service the downtown community in formulating, promoting, and implementing the economic revitalization" of the Central Business District. Twenty years later, the NDD has gone above and beyond by adding vibrant color, flavor, detail, and culture to the downtown community.

For details on upcoming events celebrating the NDD's 20th Anniversary, visit or follow them on:
Twitter: @downtownnewark
Instagram: @newarkdowntowndistrict

About the Artists
The Commodores
For three decades, the Commodores have remained a force in the music industry. "The Legends of Motown," "Hit, After Hit, After Hit," "Grammy Award Winners," "All the Emotion, All the Excitement," "If You Haven't Seen Them Live, You Haven't Heard the Commodores."

The Commodores aren't just any group. They have staying power. Just like their hit song "Brick House," the Commodores have created a foundation that just won't budge. After churning out hit after hit in the Motown days, the Commodores still hadn't achieved Grammy recognition. This wasn't to be until 1986, without Lionel Richie, when the Commodores released "Night Shift."

In 1968 the group was formed while all the members were in college at Tuskeegee Institute. After being discovered by Berry Gordy, the Commodores went on to sell over 60 million records for Motown. With hits like "Machine Gun" and "Sail On," the Commodores became proven artists.

The Commodores haven't rested on their early hits and continue to put out quality work. With the creation of their new label, the Commodores released "Commodores Hits Vol. I," "Commodores Hits Vol. II," "Commodores Christmas" and "Commodores XX-No Tricks." The newest CD, "Commodores Live," was recorded during the group's 1997 U.S. tour and released in 1998 along with the TV special of the same name.

The successful Commodores of the present have not only produced six new albums and embarked on a world-wide tour, but have created their own record label, Commodores Records and Entertainment. Today the Commodores stand not only as talented and successful musicians, but as artists determined to continue their success into the future.

Eric Benét
>From barefoot dreadlocked troubadour to suave standard-bearer for contemporary R&B, four-time Grammy nominee Eric Benét may have changed his look, but one thing has remained consistent: his dedication to crafting authentic music that engages the soul.

The Milwaukee native's early days were first as the singer for Gerard, a pop group in the late '80s. Later, as a founding member of the band Benét with his sister Lisa and cousin George Nash in the early '90s, Benét began experimenting with all the voices he was hearing in his head. "Back then I was discovering who I was artistically," he recalls. "I was so influenced by Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Chaka Khan, The Beatles and Queen." Benét ultimately went straight to Warner Bros., which signed him as a solo artist in 1994. His 1996 solo debut "True to Myself" put both music fans and the industry on notice. But it was the 1999 sophomore set "A Day in the Life," featuring "Georgy Porgy" and his first No. 1 R&B single, "Spend My Life with You" featuring Tamia, that hit home.

What doubled as Benét's career breakthrough became a gold record that later notched his first Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group. Since then, the singer has released five more studio albums, scored more hits including "You're the Only One" and "Sometimes I Cry" and added three more Grammy nods - the most recent in 2012 for Best Traditional R&B Performance for "Sometimes I Cry." "Eric Benét," his latest studio album, includes the tracks "Sunshine" and "Spend."

Felix Hernandez
Felix Hernandez has been active in media/marketing consulting, concert and events production and promotion, and radio production since 1985. He has worked with major entertainment centers, radio stations, media production companies, ad agencies, publishers and record companies in New York and other markets.Hernandez created and hosts "Rhythm Revue," New York's first and longest-running radio show dedicated to classic R&B and soul music. Now in its 31st year, "Rhythm Revue" has been broadcast by WBGO-FM, WBLS-FM, 98.7 KISS-FM, Sirius Satellite Radio and WTJM (Jammin' 105). Hernandez was also part of Sirius XM's first team of programmers for five years, where he developed several music channels. In 1991, Hernandez launched the "Rhythm Revue Dance Party" in New York City. This event has taken place at Roseland Ballroom, the Highline Ballroom, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Hornblower yachts, and numerous other venues throughout New York and the region. For 26 years, Hernandez's dance party has drawn over 20,000 people each year for sold-out events.

About the Newark Downtown District (NDD)
The Newark Downtown District, Newark's special improvement district of the central business area, is a privately funded 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, dedicated to revitalizing downtown Newark by improving the economic viability of the central business district. The NDD also works hard to enhance the quality of life for those who live, labor, and leisure in Newark, by providing supplemental cleaning and safety services, as well as marketing and physical streetscape improvement programs

Related Articles View More New Jersey Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You

Before you go...

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram instagram