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New artists announced for XPoNential Music Festival


Camden’s festival with the silly capitalization will retain much of its complicated structure.

Good thing the new names scheduled to play the XPoNential Music Festival are easy on the ears.

Dr. John, Dawes, John Butler Trio and many more artists will join previously announced artists The Lumineers and Dr. Dog for the three-day festival, performed at Wiggins Park and Susquehanna Bank Center from July 26 to July 28.

Sandwiched between the outdoor tunes along the Camden Waterfront, The Lumineers, Polica, Wake Owl and last year’s co-headliner Dr. Dog will perform the evening of Saturday, July 27, at Susquehanna Bank Center.

Days after Jay-Z announced the return of Made in America Festival, headlined by Beyonce and Nine Inch Nails, WXPN GeneralManager Roger LaMay made a bold proclamation.

“With the XPoNential Festival’s legacy and popularity, and our stellar lineup of artists, this is the Philadelphia-area concert event of the summer,” LaMay said in a statement.

Additional artists scheduled to perform at Wiggins Park, located between Adventure Aquarium and the Battleship, include Trampled By Turtles, Michael Kiwanuka, Brett Dennen, Lianne La Havas, Justin Townes Earle, José James, The Last Bison, Kopecky Family Band, Lord Huron, Phosphorescent, Fleeting Ends, DRGN KING, The Stray Birds, The Districts, Aaron & The Spell and Alo Brasil.

Tickets will be open to the general public on May 1. Prices have not been released.

Reach Steve Wood at (856) 486-2474 or at stewood@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @CP_SteveWood

Read the full article here.

The Courier Post Reports: Battleship New Jersey visitors offered new interactive experience


CAMDEN — A newly added tour aboard the retired battleship New Jersey promises to be an action-packed experience for visitors.

Now visitors will be able to execute some of the same tasks crews did when loading and firing the most powerful naval guns ever built by the U.S.

The Turret II Experience interactive tour begins Sunday and initially will be offered only on Sundays at the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial on the Camden Waterfront.

During a 90-minute guided tour on the museum ship, a maximum of 15 visitors will climb inside the five decks of Gun Turret II on the foredeck. It is one of three armored turrets whose combined nine guns are 16 inches in diameter and 66 feet long with a range of more than 20 miles.

“There is nothing like this being offered on any other historic ship in the world,” museum curator Jason Hall said of the new tour on the Iowa-class battleship — the largest class of Navy battleship built during World War II and the most decorated.

“We are trying to be as authentic as possible and allow our visitors to simulate what 77 crew members once did as a team and with ballet precision inside the turret.”

Visitors can perform some of the turret crew tasks from start to finish.

The first step is a climb five decks down to load dummy powder bags that have the same canister-shaped appearance as the real ones but minus the black powder inside.

In a practice session for tour guide training Thursday, trainee and Rutgers-Camden student William Roulette lifted one of the bags into the brass drum on a hoist used to raise them up to the turret level on the main deck for loading into the gun breech and barrel behind ammunition shells the Navy calls “projectiles.” It took six bags to fire a shell from the barrel.

Above the powder deck, tour guide Arlene Baker of Haddon Township pulled a brass lever that hoisted upward a bullet-shaped, 5-foot high, 16-inch/50 caliber dummy shell, which in operation would end up inside the gun barrel and in front of the powder bags. Real shells ranged from 1,900 pounds for shore bombardment to armor-piercing 2,700-pounders that fired at ships.

“It’s pretty exciting and people, especially children, learn best by doing,” said Baker, a retired teacher.

Heading up to the gun plot deck inside the turret, guide George MacCulloch, a 79-year-old Navy veteran from Audubon, put information into the ship’s analog computer, which set firing coordinates for positioning of the guns to strike a target.

Afterward, he hit a brass trigger that sounded a salvo to alert crew to imminent firing and then pulled another trigger to fire the weapons. The trigger is coordinated with a real firing visitors can view in color on a TV monitor as they also hear the firing booms and feel the vibration in the deck floor.

“I think this is the most dramatic tour of any I’ve seen at any museum,” said MacCulloch, who served on the New Jersey in 1955 as a naval reservist and third-class gunner’s mate and who remembered the vibration throughout the ship when the 16-inch guns fired.

Proceeding topside to the main deck, entering the turret gun house and then standing behind a loaded gun barrel, tour guide Jessie Noda of Mullica Hill pushed a salvo button that would first alert the crew the shells were ready to be fired.

Philip Rowan, executive director of the museum, said it took more than two years and nearly $90,000 to convert the turret into a tour area and to secure state and Navy approvals, including safety permits from the state Department of Community Affairs.

He said the ship hired part-time guides — many from its museum volunteer staff — for what he termed a “premium tour.”

The tour costs $29.95 and reservations may be made at the museum website, battleshipnewjersey.org; at the admission gate, depending on availability; or by calling (866) 877-6262, ext. 108.

Read the full article here.

NJ.com Reports: Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson coming to Camden


By Tris McCall/The Star-Ledger 
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on April 01, 2013 at 10:53 AM, updated April 01, 2013 at 5:58 PM

Maroon 5 performs in Chicago, March 1, 2013.

When Maroon 5 headlined at PNC Bank Arts Center in 2010, the band's fortunes were fading. "Hands All Over," the third Maroon 5 album, did not go on to sell nearly as well as the band's first two, and a group accustomed to scaling the charts was forced to listen to others in heavy rotation.

What a difference a hit television program makes.

Singer Adam Levine's coaching role on "The Voice" has made him a bigger star than he had ever been with the band, and "Overexposed," the follow-up to "Hands All Over," earned the group a platinum disc. Maroon 5 returns to Holmdel this August as one of the world's most popular attractions: "Payphone," "One More Night," and "Daylight," all singles from "Overexposed," have all been smash hits. The heavily tattooed Levine has become an unlikely sex symbol.

It is a changed Maroon 5 that comes to Susquehanna Bank Center on Aug. 7. A group that used to compose its own music is now relying heavily on outside song doctors; the three hits from "Overexposed" were co-written by, among others, Swedish hitmakers Max Martin and Johan "Shellback" Schuster. The sound of the new album is closer to that of "Moves Like Jagger," the chart-topper that Levine popularized through "The Voice," than it is to the rougher, funkier material on "Songs About Jane" and "It Won't Be Soon Before Long," the first two Maroon 5 sets. Jesse Carmichael, a synthesizer sorcerer and one of the architects of the group's original style, took a leave of absence before the recording of "Overexposed," and turned his chair over to touring member P.J. Morton. Carmichael has announced that he will rejoin Maroon 5 for the fifth album, but it isn't clear whether he'll be there for the Camden and Holmdel shows.

Accompanying Maroon 5 on the Honda Civic tour will be Kelly Clarkson, the original American Idol and, arguably, the possessor of the strongest voice in mainstream pop-rock. Clarkson, touring as a co-headliner with the Fray, tore the roof off of the Susquehanna Bank Center last summer. Her show was tough, tight, and heavy on rock; in a Pink Floyd t-shirt, she led a full band through energetic versions of hits like "Behind These Hazel Eyes," "Since U Been Gone," and "Stronger" that were grittier than the recorded versions. Clarkson also showcased her talent and flexibility as an interpretive singer (and good taste), performing fun.'s "We Are Young" and Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart" with equal skill.

Tickets to the Honda Civic Tour go on sale at 10 a.m. on April 6. 

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