Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff announced that he will start a New Jersey-centric music festival beginning in September. Antonoff, who grew up in the Garden State, named the event Shadow Of The City in reference to the fact that Jersey is always overshadowed by the metropolis of New York City. The festival was thought up as a way to revitalize Jersey’s image and remind people of the state’s many contributions to contemporary music, so of course the debut event will take place at the Stone Pony Summer Stage at Asbury Park, which is close to where Antonoff would vacation on the shore with his family, but reminds anyone unfamiliar with New Jersey’s landscape of the state’s greatest hero: Bruce Springsteen. Eight acts will perform, including: Charli XCX, Vic Mensa, Cults, the Front Bottoms, MisterWives, How To Dress Well and Robert Delong, with Bleachers headlining. Antonoff told Rolling Stone the following about his motivations to start the festival:
What’s the significance of the festival’s name?
The title is really special to me. I grew up in New Jersey, and it’s one of those places where you spend your life trying to get out. It’s funny because it’s one of the most incredible places in the world. The term “shadow of the city,” specifically, means what it sounds like. New Jersey is such a unique place because it is literally in the shadow of the greatest city in the entire world. So that creates an unmistakable feeling, good and bad. You’re the constant younger brother. You’re constantly looking through the window at the party. You’re always less.
You can hear it in the music. Thinking about when I was growing up, New York City music — the Strokes, the Velvet Underground — is the kind of “we don’t give a shit,” shoegaze type thing. But in New Jersey music — from when my parents played me Springsteen to growing up in the New Jersey punk and hardcore scene — it was all larger than life. There was so much hope and excitement there. That comes from this underdog feeling of living in the shadow of the city. I always thought that when I did a festival, I’d want to bring that feeling to life. That’s how I grew up. So many people spend their time trying to get out of New Jersey, then as soon as they do, they realize that it’s actually the greatest place on Earth. There is no better way to exist in art, in music, in general than to always feel like you’re telling the truth and to always feel like you’re slightly less than.