The annual Asbury Park Music and Film Festival is underway and the events have thousands of art and music lovers flocking to the shore town for a bevy of concerts, movies and exhibits that run throughout the weekend.

The four-day festival celebrates the artistic renaissance the city has been experiencing in recent years. According to the APMFF website, proceeds from the weekend-long festival will help provide funding for music education in Asbury Park. Three programs in particular will benefit from the music and film festival including Hope Academy, The Hip Hop Institute, and the Asbury Park Summer Recreation Music Camp, the website states.

In addition to performances throughout the weekend, the festival also played host to panel discussions highlighting the history of the Asbury Park music scene as well as women in film, documentaries about music studios and the musicians who recorded there and interviews with some of the most notable acts to hone their skills in Asbury Park's emerging music scene.

One of the signature events of the festival including the world premiere of "Just Before the Dawn," a documentary focusing on Upstage — a music club formerly located on Cookman Avenue where artists such as Bruce Springsteen performed early in their careers.

The film, narrated by New Jersey 101.5's Big Joe Henry, was following by a jam session at the Paramount Theater that featured the All Star Jam Band. The band includes rockers such as Steven Van Zandt of the E Street band and Southside Johnny. On Friday, the packed theater was treated to a surprise performance by Springsteen himself.

Big Joe spent the weekend broadcasting from just outside Convention Hall on the Asbury Park boardwalk where he was visited by some of the people who helped organize the festival as well as those who helped shaped the town's music scene.

In addition to the art and musical elements of the APMFF, Asbury Park also played host to Run-A-Palooza Saturday, a half marathon that drew runners from several states to the shore, where they completed a route that spanned the boardwalk and streets of the city.

Toniann Antonelli is digital managing editor for programming at NJ 101.5. She can be reached at, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015 or @NJ1015.

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