Public Info

Sheila E. Headlines Union County’s Free Rhythm & Blues by the Brook Festival, June 1

Free music festival kicks off summer schedule of free outdoor concerts, movies and live theater in Union County parks

Union County, NJ – The phenomenal Sheila E. tops this year’s Rhythm and Blues by the Brook free outdoor music festival presented by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Music fans of all ages are invited to bring their dancing shoes and enjoy a full afternoon of music, movement and family activities at Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield, rain or shine, on Saturday, June 1.

Also appearing on the bill are:

  • Thomas McClary and the Commodores Experience
  • Dean Shot and the Solidsenders tribute to Howlin’Wolf
  • Plainfield’s own Bindi Liebowitz of NBC’s The Voice, Season 11

“Rhythm and Blues by the Brook signals the start of free outdoor concerts and movies that everyone in Union County can enjoy together,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski. “In this time of history-making events for women, we are also very proud to present Sheila E, one of the most-recognized artists in American music, whose work has had a global impact.”

“Cedar Brook Park is a jewel in the crown for Union County, and it is a real pleasure to see residents and visitors alike gather here in Plainfield with friends and family for an afternoon of music, community, and healthy outdoor fun,” said Plainfield resident and Freeholder Rebecca Williams.

Sheila E. is best known for her legendary collaborations with Prince as well as several stints with Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band, her work on Cyndi Lauper’s At Last album, numerous solo projects, live performances, and television appearances, and her memoir, Beat of My Own Drum.

Her latest album, Message 4 America, reflects her connection with the past, present, and future of American music and the global community, featuring cameos with Ringo Starr, George Clinton, and Candy Dulfer.

“This album is a call for us to rise up and stand for something that is greater than our self-interest. In this album I use the most incredible music from the past to speak to this confusing time that we live in. The tracks on this album are some of the greatest protest and revolution songs and are reinvented to fit current times,” she explains.

This year’s Rhythm and Blues by the Brook festival will run from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., with DJ Bookeem serving as the MC throughout the day.

Thomas McClary’s Commodore Experience

As always, Rhythm and Blues by the Brook will feature free children’s activities including inflatables, pony rides and a petting zoo, from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The event also includes a marketplace featuring food vendors, a free car show presented by G-Wiz, and a health and wellness fair by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.

Also included in Union County’s schedule of free outdoor events:

Summer Arts Festival: Bring a towel or yoga mat for free UC Fit Yoga sessions beginning at 6:30. The concerts begin at 7:30.


Echo Lake Park, Mountainside – Friday, June 21

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra


Echo Lake Park – Wednesdays beginning July 10

July 10 – Radio Petty (The Best of Tom Petty)

July 17 – Verdict

July 24 – Black Dog (The Led Zeppelin Tribute)

July 31 – Marc Muller’s Grateful Jamband (Grateful Dead)


Oak Ridge Park, Clark – Wednesdays beginning August 7

Aug 7 – American Rapture

Aug 14 – Rob Paparozzi’s Juke Joint

Aug 21 – Hey Bulldog (Tribute to the Beatles)

Aug 28 – We May Be Right (The Billy Joel Experience)


Family Fun and Flix: Bring your best moves to the movies! Enjoy a family fun DJ dance party beginning at 7:30 p.m. each evening, followed by a movie at dusk.


July 9 – “A Dog’s Way Home,” Wheeler Park, Linden

July 16 – “Hotel Transylvania 3,” Warinanco Park, Elizabeth

July 23 – “Lego Movie 2,” Warinanco Park, Elizabeth

July 29 – “Hotel Transylvania 3,” Rutgers Ave. Park, Hillside

July 30 – “Spiderman-Into the Spider-Verse,” Warinanco Park, Elizabeth

August 6 – “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Meisel Park, Springfield (a National Night Out event)

August 12 – “Incredibles 2,” Tamaques Park, Westfield

August 13 – “Incredibles 2,” Warinanco Park, Elizabeth


Shakespeare in the Park: Performances by The Shakespeare Theatre Company of New Jersey


July 19 – Trailside Nature & Science Center, Mountainside – 6:30pm

July 28 – The Shakespeare Garden at Cedar Brook Park, Plainfield – 12:30pm


Other summer fun in Union County includes the Walter E. Ulrich Memorial Pool in Rahway and playgrounds with spray features at Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield, Mattano Park in Elizabeth, Warinanco Park in Roselle, Rizzuto Park in Union, Ponderosa Farm Park in Scotch Plains, Snyder Avenue Park in Berkeley Heights, and the newly opened Wheeler Park in Linden. The Loop Playground in the Watchung Reservation includes a cooling mist feature.

For rainy day activities, visit Union County’s Trailside Nature and Science Center. Admission is free seven days a week. A modest fee applies to special events and activities including the Wednesday afternoon matinee series.

For hours, locations, and more details about all Union County parks and activities visit or call the Department of Parks and Recreation at 908-527-4900.

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