‘Open Mike’ Night at Bowling Green Golf Course Beer Garden Draws Area Musicians to its Venue

It was a typical New Jersey July evening: hot, humid, dank. Fortunately, there was a slight breeze drifting across the manicured lawns of Bowling Green Golf Course (53 School House Road, Oak Ridge), lifting the heavy air.

But it was the music that lifted the spirit on a hot Wednesday summer evening. It was ‘open mike’ night at Bowling Green’s new Beer Garden, and it was ‘jammed’ ... literally … with area musicians having a passion for sharing their talent with a live audience.

Rick Barth, who served as an emcee of sorts for the night, highly complimented the venue. In between introducing musicians, the Mount Olive resident chatted about the new Beer Garden and told The Jefferson Chronicle, “There aren’t many places like this around. It’s kind of unique for a musician to come in and play without a lot of paperwork and hassle.”

Mount Olive resident and emcee for the evening, Rick Barth plays the first set of the evening. (Photo: Maria Weiskott)

Barth said he does play “covers,” (songs originally performed by celebrity artists), of several genres, but also writes his own music and lyrics, which he often introduces to audiences.

Venue Draws Local Musicians

Musicians, says Thom Bishop, Bowling Green’s director of golf, are drawn to the Beer Garden by advertisements on The Chronicle website and its monthly print magazine, The Jefferson Chronicle DIGEST, as well as through social media ads to selected surrounding zip codes.

“We also have a running correspondence to our Bowling Green email list as well as our golfers. And we hired Micro Music Festival to facilitate the evenings,” he said, noting, “They provide the host who brings the equipment and helps the evening proceed. Micro Music Festival has their own following and they also get the word out,” Bishop added.

Apparently, all the methods are working, as there was a full entourage of musicians last Wednesday, July 3, who took turns playing a variety of genres from rock, to country, to folk, to original works.

A Camp Jefferson counselor and recent William Paterson music education graduate, Gina Royale, played some of her original songs. Her music may be enjoyed on her YouTube channel, Gina Royale. (Photo: Maria Weiskott)

In addition to a wealth of talent, ‘open mike’ night features the same array of food and drink the Beer Garden offers every day, a specialty being New Jersey craft beers on tap.

There are three ‘open mike’ nights set for the rest of the month: Wednesday, July 10; Thursday, July 18; and Thursday, July 25, all from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

Bishop said all are welcome to come out and enjoy the Beer Garden’s unique vibe on ‘open mike’ night. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy some local talent, some great food, and an original New Jersey-crafted cold one … especially on a hot and humid summer evening.

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Maria Weiskott is a Jefferson Township resident and a forty year veteran of the publishing profession. An award-winning journalist and editor, she served in top managerial positions at numerous business-to- business newspapers and magazines including Reed Elsevier and Fairchild Publications. Early in her career she operated a local newspaper in the Passaic Valley towns of Little Falls, Totowa and the former West Paterson. Following retirement, she launched a “ghostblogging” service that provides social networking update and blogging services for small and medium sized businesses. Maria travels widely with her husband and is a passionate photographer. She can be reached at maria.weiskott@thejeffersonchronicle.com.