“Everyone loved him – it’s amazing.”
That’s Luther Flurry, Montclair Center Business Improvement District (BID) Executive Director, talking about the late John Finnegan, a well-loved Cedar Grove musician, friend and mentor to his fellow musicians in Montclair and beyond — and an all-around good guy.
Later this month the BID will debut its new movable outdoor Montclair Center Stage, with a dedication to Finnegan. “A group of his friends were very vocal about getting a new stage up and running again. He was on the old stage a lot as a musician, so it fits perfectly,” Flurry noted. Finnegan died suddenly in September 2011.
The new Stage replaces the one at the Fullerton Avenue corner of Church Street, and will sometimes move around, so you can look for it not only on Church Street, but on South Park Street, in Crane Park, at block parties and other events, Flurry said.
A dedication concert will be held on Church Street on April 27, from 12:00 noon until 6:00, with performances by Mike Ferrara & Friends in a tribute to John Finnegan, plus Rainbow Fresh, Bern and the Brights, Owls & Lions, Gregori Lukas, Shaunie and the Walkers, and DJ Boogie Dash.
The second concert on Montclair Center Stage is on May 4, to coincide with the Montclair Film Festival; the line up will be: Vikki Williams and the Lynx Band, Guitaro 5000, Watermelon, Alma Schneider,Grey’s Light,Adam Streicher, Special Hip Hop Artist Gigg, and DJ Boogie Dash.
After that, the live music continues every Saturday, weather permitting, through the summer, with a new act taking the stage every hour, coordinated by Joann Smalls Productions with sound production by ACIEM Studios. Be sure to check the website for exact schedules and locations.
Because the stage is made up of individual four-by-eight foot platforms, it can be adjusted in size and shape, and offers some intriguing possibilities — like morphing into a 40-foot catwalk for September fashion shows. There is also a raised drummer stand to complement the basic 20 by 8 feet configuration — much larger than the current stage, and more appealing to sizable musical groups.
“This one can be taken down and stored away when not in use, and should last longer. It’s modular and reparable – anything that breaks can be fixed, and it will require less maintenance,” Flurry explained.
BID anticipates delivery of the stage next week. The organization is now seeking sponsorship for upcoming events and to cover ongoing costs; they will also be asking for donations during concerts from attendees.