Kindie Music Brings Families and Friends Together!!

The weekend of  September 27-28 featured performances of kids-and-family (“kindie”) music by yours truly, two with my band and one solo. What struck me most about last weekend’s shows is the way they led to reconnecting with friends I haven’t seen in a while and to building ties within my community.

Jason Didner after a Jungle Gym Jam performance reconnecting with friend Marc Mcfeely and family.

Being Facebook friends is nice in that you get to catch up on the doings of people you once saw a lot more often, say when  you worked or went to school together. Adult life certainly has a way of dictating how often you get to see even friends you enjoyed being around and we all must make choices about how to spend the time we have.

What I learned about music created by, about and for families over this weekend is that it has tremendous power to create occasions to bring friends back together, along with their families. It was a beautiful fall day that felt every bit like the height of summer in the kids’ section of the Hoboken Fall Art and Music Festival. I had remembered that my friend and old business travel buddy Marc McFeely had been living in Hoboken and I sent him a Facebook invitation to attend the festival. As I strolled around in the audience area playing my guitar solo (acting as a locomotive of a human train), I saw a familiar smile and dozens of hilarious good times and inside jokes came back to me. After the show, I got to meet his wife Aga and their daughters who had soaked up all the joys of the festival – the rides, games, treats and face painting. Marc got to be up close and personal with my daughter who had been mostly a series of cute pictures and quotes on his end until now.

Another moment of bringing families together was the presence of a familiar girl dancing around the audience area in front of the stage enjoying the bubble machine. My mystery of why this girl appeared familiar was quickly answered when I got home from the show and saw this picture, complete with the graphic caption:

Jungle Gym Jam at Hoboken Art & Music Festival by Jennifer Esposito of First Roots Music Studio

This montage was composed by none other than Jennifer Esposito, owner of First Roots Music Studio, who had graciously invited me to perform at her wonderful Grand Opening event. It’s Jennifer’s daughter dancing in front of the bubble machine along with my own daughter, who’s been making new friends left and right at these kindie concerts — both mine and those of fellow artists.

Earlier in the day Sunday featured a birthday party hosted by a Morristown, NJ (coincidentally, my hometown when I was a kid) family that had become fans of ours at the Touch-a-Truck school fundraiser in Warren, NJ last spring. I gave a solo acoustic performance as the little ones rocked along on a blanket under a tent in the backyard. Being asked for an encore was a thrill, as was meeting former NJ Governor Richard Codey and hearing his take on the kids’ entertainment business. I felt that performance played a role in creating lasting memories between friends, brothers, sisters and parents.

Backtracking to Saturday 9/27 at Crane Park Family Festival, this was a hometown show for us, which means that my daughter would see some school friends. Just as with Marc and me, Holly was reunited with a good friend who had moved on to another school. They really enjoyed jumping up and down to the beat of the music together.

Musical and cultural events have a special way of bringing people together especially for the event. Think about fans who follow a touring band from town to town and can count on seeing each other at the shows. I would love to hear your story about how a concert, festival or tour brought you together with friends old or new. Please comment below.

Sunday 9/28-Hoboken Fall Arts and Music Festival powered by the Jungle Gym Jam!

We’re coming to the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival on Sunday 9/28 to rock the Children’s Section of the festival (3rd Street & Washington Street). A great day of entertainment awaits your family!

Jason Didner from the Jungle Gym Jam kicks out his leg at Lyndhurst Labor Day Weekend Antique & Craft Fair 2014

Check out these kids-and-family-friendly acts also happening in the Children’s section.

Time Artist
12:00 noon Garden St. School of the Performing Arts Band
12:50 pm Mad Science
1:30 pm Hoboken School of Music
1:55 pm Studio L Dance Co.
2:20 pm Preschool of Rock
3:10 pm Erin Lee & the Up Past Bedtime Band
4:15 pm Jason Didner & the Jungle Gym Jam

See your kids enjoy the bouncy house, balloon slide, face painting, spin art, balloon artist, sand art and other kid activities.

More info on the Festival’s official web site.

Imagine That!!! A Kindie Singer and an Author at Mommy-and-Me Used the Same Illustrator!

Two creators of children’s content will show off something they have in common this Tuesday at Imagine That!!! Children’s Museum in Florham Park, NJ. Kathy Lampert, the author behind “Sophie’s New School,” is set to present that book  to parents whose children are getting back into the swing of school or just starting their classroom careers. Jason from the kindie band Jungle Gym Jam will sing and play music from his award-winning kids-and-family music album “Everyone’s Invited!” The common link is that both Kathy and Jason used the same illustrator for their creative endeavors.

Sophie's New School by Kathy Lampert, Illustrated by Melissa Bailey Everyone's Invited Album Cover
Sophie’s New School
by Kathy Lampert
Everyone’s Invited!
by Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam

That artist is Melissa Bailey of Michigan, whose drawings exude both a warmth and a playful nature in the characters she depicts. When Jason and Kathy met at last year’s Imagine That!!! event, Jason was quite taken with the content and illustrations in the book he had bought for his own then-2-year-old daughter.

Both Kathy and Jason will be autographing their respective kid-friendly works on Mommy and Me Day at Imagine That!!! Children’s Museum in Florham Park on Tuesday, starting at 10 AM. Jason will give a special 35-minute acoustic performance of Jungle Gym Jam music for parents and their kids.

Imagine That!!! Children’s Museum
4 Vreeland Road
Florham Park, NJ 07932

Tickets half-price when purchased in advance at

The Jungle Gym Jam’s New Official Picture for Fall 2014

Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam official picture Fall 2014

The Jungle Gym Jam is:
“Jersey Jason” Didner-Vocals, guitar
“Cross-Country Casey” McCleary-guitar, keyboards, vocals
“Amazing Alyssa” Menes-Bass guitar, vocals
“Rockin’ Ross” Kantor-drums, vocals

Pictures by David Nelson Photography

Taken at Lyndhurst Labor Day Weekend Antique & Craft Fair on 8/31/14

Local and Regional Businesses–Apple and U2 Changed the Game This Week–Let’s Play!

Jason Didner from the Jungle Gym Jam kicks out his leg at Lyndhurst Labor Day Weekend Antique & Craft Fair 2014

As this fall season got underway, Apple and U2 upped the bet on the way corporations and entertainers can work together. Apple treated their half-billion iTunes Store account holders to a free download of U2’s new album “Songs of Innocence.” Now, as a local indie artist for kids and families, I’d have to be crazy to expect Apple to buy up 500 million licenses to my album to give out to its users, but I’m fortunate to play within a great niche in my own right! And if you market goods and services to parents of young kids in the New York Metropolitan Area, we share a common niche and I have an audience that might want to hear from you at my shows or in my online interactions.

I come to this game of children’s rock-n-roll at just the right time — Jeff Bogle, a children’s music critic from the Philadelphia area says this is “the golden age of children’s music.” Parents are seeking out highly entertaining and memorable experiences to share with their children. Public budgeting and funding has collapsed and not really returned since the financial meltdown of 2008. Entertainers like me have all kinds of new opportunities to perform in big public spaces if alternative funding can be raised, given that towns, townships, schools and libraries lack the mighty budgets they once wielded.

Do you think that your business can benefit from a smaller-scale version of what Apple pulled off at the start of this season? Maybe you can treat local kids and families to an afternoon of high energy music that carries valuable lessons over an infectious backbeat. Can you envision your company logo on a banner behind the band on the biggest stage in town? Or doing a very personable meet-and-greet with moms and their little kids as you give out coloring pages or balloons at a library show?

I’d be delighted to help you strike up those all-important relationships with the families that have the potential to use your business to meet their needs and perhaps become raving fans of yours.

You get ideas of how my existing sponsorships work and maybe get a vision for a new and unique sponsorship idea on my Sponsorships page.

Call 201-838-1205 or e-mail me: to see how we can play along now that Apple and U2 have changed the game together.