Skip to Content

Jersey Jams: Fun Times at New Jersey Fests

In this short guide to music festivals in New Jersey we cover festivals on every level – be it the sky, water, or land. Discover lesser-known events to dip your toes into on the next trip to Jersey, and swing by Pennysylvania for the ultimate unique experience at Musikfest. Get to know the more intimate sides of music festivals in the Garden State.

Festival of Ballooning

Tomascastelazo, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Although cancelled for 2024, this festival will rise again in 2025 (stay updated!) to remain the largest hot air and music fest in North America. Holding titles both as “The #1 to-do in New Jersey” and “New Jersey’s Best Special Event”, this is the foremost summertime attraction.

The daily mass ascensions see nearly 100 floating wonders rising into the air. Moreover, an abundance of craftsmen, vendors, fireworks, amazing eats, and mainstage performances ensure non-stop fun for the whole fam. They even commission a virgin to zip around in a golf cart and skewer onions to ensure good weather for the balloons!


A jubilant mix of live music, vibrant artistry, ocean advocacy, and surf culture, all infused with the relaxed beach vibes of Asbury Park Waterfront. Named the best new music fest of the year in 2018, this event consistently sells out, drawing crowds eager to experience the sun-soaked festivities.

With two out of three stages set right on the sandy shores, you can lounge on your beach towel with live music and salty breezes. Meanwhile, surfers hit the waves and yogis seek their zen (no ticket required for the yoga!). The festival’s relaxed ambiance ensures it won’t drain your energy like some of the larger, more hectic gatherings tend to do.

A portion of the proceeds flows to environmental amity projects like Surfrider Foundation and Save the Bay. So you can enjoy the beach knowing your money is put to good use.


Dogs, chill vibes, camping, community and a place we’d all like to call home. What’s not to like? Especially at a place named for beards (no, there isn’t a beard competition. We’re sad, too). What’s even cooler is that Beardfest started as a backyard party and eventually got teenager-powered wings. Now, there’s camping, yoga, collaborative music making and large scale murals, and the beautiful nature in Pineland’s Preserve.

The genres are impossible to pigeonhole, and diversity is key to almost everything being done here. It calls the teenager in you to just go with the flow and awakens your inner artist. Got questions? Check out their FAQ page on the detailed website, then grab a ticket and join the 3 day backyard gone big party.


The Xponential Music Festival by WXPN goes down on the Camden Waterfront in New Jersey. With lush greenery all around, festivalgoers enjoy an incredible mix of genres right by the water, complemented by food and crafts. This annual event draws music lovers from Philly and beyond for its unique offerings.

Several pass options are available to fit every budget, with kids getting in for just $10. Wiggins Park hosts over 30 established and upswing artists on 3 stages, meaning an eclectic and fresh experience. The 2024 lineup features The Walkmen, Rosanne Cash, Pete Yorn, Phosphorescent, and more. Stay updated and get the full lineup on XPoNential social media.


Just one state over in Pennysylvania is the nation’s largest free music festival. Musikfest has brought joy and life to the town of Bethlehem annually since 1984. Visitors have access to hundreds of free shows, and music performances in every genre imaginable. The Wind Creek Steel Stage, being the only ticketed platz, hosts a national artist each night.

But 15 other stages also host amazing live music for 10 days straight, while towering steel slacks hint at the town’s rich history. In true German style, food and drink is abundant and can be bought throughout the grounds from local vendors. Bonus points if you obtain your own famous drinking mug here or at merch tents at the fest and get discounts on beer refills.

Musikfest is by the community, for the community. Family activities and artisans abound and everyone, including the mayor, prances in the Polka dance where the Chicken Lady makes an annual appearance to lead the jig.

Inge Strauss