This Saturday, May 24, 2020 will be Bob Dylan’s 79th birthday. When you sit back and look at Dylan’s body of work, you can’t help but be impressed.

The impact he’s had on arts and entertainment throughout the world is significant. Bob Dylan has sold more than 100 million records, winning 10 Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, the Academy Award in 2000 for Best Original Song “Things Have Changed” from the movie Wonder Boys, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, his songs are in the Grammy Hall of Fame, in 2008 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Special Citations and he remains the only rock 'n' roll musician to win The Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.

He grew up surrounded by humble beginnings in the Iron Range section of Northern Minnesota. His music became an icon of pop culture in the '60s. His powerful lyrics hit home on political, social, philosophical and literary fronts. The Beatles have stated publicly that Bob Dylan had a major influence on their career. It was John Lennon that introduced the Beatles to Bob Dylan, and Dylan’s music would be played when the Beatles traveled or when they had some down time.

Every year for the past 22 years, my good friend, the very talented musician and New Jersey’s favorite Troubadour Pat Guadagno, has paid tribute to Bob Dylan around his birthday with his great concert Bobfest. Bobfest started in 1998 at The Downtown Café in Red Bank. At the time, the Downtown was a small narrow bar with a small stage and Pat would play there every Monday night.

Well, on that fateful night, May 25, 1998 head bartender Tommy Moog shouted out that it was Bob Dylan’s birthday the day before and “how about playing a Dylan song.” Pat went into about six Dylan songs much to the delight of the packed bar. I was lucky enough to be there that night and enjoyed every song.

The energy from Pat’s performance sparked the audience to engulf themselves in Dylan’s mesmerizing lyrics. Bobfest was born that night and would eventually grow to a two-night showcase then because of the popularity was moved to The Two River Theatre in Red Bank, and eventually moved again to the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, which was necessary to hold the many fans to enjoy the performance. Pat has put a world-class band together that does justice to Dylan’s amazing lyrics and talent. It’s one of my favorite shows and I’m fortunate that Pat has asked me to host Bobfest every year.

This Thursday, Bobfest was supposed to be at The Count Basie but because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, it was cancelled. Pat hopes that it will be rescheduled in October. Because of the cancellation, Pat has decided to air a past-filmed Bobfest at 8 p.m. this Thursday night, May 21. You can access the link here and watch below:

In true Pat and Bobfest tradition, proceeds from the airing of the concert along with donations will be going to Fulfill (formerly known as the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties). In the meantime, check out Pat’s killer performance of Hurricane (above).

Happy birthday, Bob Dylan, and thanks Pat Guadagno for your talents in keeping his music alive here in Jersey.

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