Founded by noted music journalist Bob Makin, whose “Makin’ Waves” column has been a mainstay of the New Jersey music scene for many years, the Makin Waves Music Festival celebrates its 31st year and kicks off the summer concert season.

Spread over two locations, the event begins 7 p.m. to midnight Friday, May 17; 2 p.m. to midnight Saturday, May 18, and 2 to 10 p.m. Sunday, May 19 at Brighton Bar in Long Branch, New Jersey; and 7-11 p.m. Monday, May 20, Happy Mondays at the Wonder Bar, in Asbury Park, New Jersey. The Makin Waves Fest will feature 24 bands, drink specials, food, a chair massage kiosk, and offers sponsor-provided giveaways.

Des & The Swagmatics

Presented by the Brighton Bar and Happy Mondays at the Wonder Bar, in association with The Aquarian Weekly, Light of Day Foundation, Reg Santana Presents, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Wave Resort, Makin Waves Fest will feature 24 New Jersey-based music acts, as well sponsor giveaways. At the Brighton, the fest also will include Tito’s Vodka drink specials and chair massages by co-sponsor Massage by Design.  On Saturday and Sunday, the fun also will include gourmet sliders from co-sponsor The Outslider food truck.

The music will include four great Jersey indie acts on May 17 at the Brighton: The Cryptkeeper Five, TV Tramps, 40 Pound Hound, and Christine Mitchell. Admission is $5.

Secret Sound

May 18 is a Brighton reunion of many of the bands who have played there for the past 31 years, including:

  • Solace, featuring members of Godspeed and Social Decay
  • The X-men, a reunion of Brighton owner Greg Macolino’s beloved band
  • Defiance Engine, featuring members of Daisycutter, Solarized and Dirge
  • Full On Empty, featuring members of Negative Sky and The Atomic Bitchwax
  • Ribeye Brothers, featuring members of Monster Magnet and The Atomic Bitchwax
  • 19DRT, featuring members of Daisycutter and Dime Bag
  • Tom Kanach, the front man of Well of Souls and Mischief
  • Jon Caspi & The First Gun, popular punk band fronted by Jersey rock veteran Jon Caspi.

Opening the 3 p.m. May 18 show will be Brighton newcomer Ezra Caspi, the talented teenage singer-songwriter son of Jon Caspi. The fun will continue to midnight. Admission is $10.

For more info about both the May 17 and 18 shows at Makin Waves Fest, visit the event page at

Defiance Engine

The celebration also will include the Third Annual Makin Waves Jam ‘n’ Groove Fest on Sunday, May 19. Featuring some of Jersey’s best jam bands, this year’s Jam ‘n’ Groove will pay 50th anniversary tribute to the highly influential Allman Brothers Band, The Meters and Little Feat. With performances of such classic songs as “Statesboro Blues,” “Melissa,” “Hey Pocky Way,” “Spanish Moon,” “Done Somebody Wrong,” “Jessica,” “Cissy Strut,” “Skin It Back,” “One Way Out,” “Africa,” “Dixie Chicken,” “Elizabeth Reed,” “Ramblin’ Man,” “Time Loves a Hero,” “Hot’lanta,” “Just Kissed My Baby,” and “Whipping Post,” the tribute show will include Jersey jam bands Secret Sound, Dogs in a Pile, Dark City Strings, The Inflatable Head, Fungkshui, Ten Foot Tall, and Mike Montrey Band, plus the opening The Green Planet Band, featuring a trio of teen ‘n’ tween siblings. Admission is $10. Visit

Makin Waves Fest will conclude on May 20 with MakinWaves@Happy Mondays, featuring three of New Jersey’s most popular female-fronted acts: Des & the Swagmatics, Taylor Tote Band and Nalani & Sarina. Happy Mondays is a free weekly local music concert series that runs annually from early spring to local summer at the Wonder Bar. Not only is there no admission fee, but this time out, there also will be additional free promotional items from sponsors. For more about the 8 p.m. show, visit

Additional Makin Waves Fest sponsors are, Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce, Blowup Radio, New Jersey Stage, The Pop Break, Radio Jersey and Danny Coleman’s Rock on Radio.

More information is available at

By Dw Dunphy

Dw. Dunphy is a writer, artist, and musician. He has contributed many articles that can be found in the MusicTAP's archives. He also writes for New Jersey Stage,, Ultimate Classic Rock, Diffuser FM, and Looper. His interview archive is available at