by Julia O’Halloran Faraci

The excitement is building for the live and local Middletown Music Festival. Hosting 29 bands on two stages, the Festival, fast approaching on the weekend of August 5-7, promises to be one of the hot events of Middletown’s Summer 2016.

Bands. Food trucks. Vendors. Funding. And – of course – Audiences.

Many things need to be brought together each year for the Festival to work. Musician, singer/songwriter, artist, poet, arts and entertainment writer, blogger, activist, radio host, producer, J-Cherry (aka Jennifer Shafer Wood) uses social media to make music, arts, and activism accessible to the Middletown community and beyond.

The producer recently shared her new Festival trailer on social media.943816_498277387030076_3172598954257564915_n The J-Cherry presence spans many platforms, linked through her blog.

Facebook is one of her most effective means of getting the word out. Middletown Music Festival has its own page. The producer will often use “Boost” to bump publicity through the J-Cherry Facebook page, though though she must keep an eye on her Paypal account as the feature can rack up charges quickly. Shares and comments through posts on her personal Facebook page to her many friends can be most effective.




“People love pictures” and J. Cherry serves up lots of them, along with videos and recordings.  Animals and kids are the most popular visuals. She keeps a GoogleDoc document loaded with blurbs and links that make it easy for her to share posts at intervals before events.

Dotty the Donation Festie Piggy Bank


Through her blog, J-Cherry keeps her audience on top of new additions to the band lineup, and to links to the websites and social media of the the Festival’s acts. By creating partnerships, she extends the reach of her publicity for the event – and the online presence of the artists as well.



Besides the Middletown Music Festival, J-Cherry has her fingers in a range of artistic and activist pies.

BmH_4I0IIAA6ZtmHer band, J-Cherry and the Strawberries, play their blues-rock music at a variety of festivals and venues, including SWAN Day, The Buttonwood Tree, the Performance Hub, and of course, the Middletown Music Festival.






The band recorded their debut album, “In The Belly of The Beast”, in 2014, financed in part by a Kickstarter campaign. J-Cherry and the Strawberries are on Youtube, Reverbnation and CDbaby.


J-Cherry and her husband Timothy Sparks founded the popular “Anything Goes” open mic at The Buttonwood Tree. Though they have handed off those duties to others, they continue their support of Buttonwood through blog posts.

B6r9dULIAAA1ytzCurrently, they also showcase local talent by hosting Voice of the City on Wesleyan radio station WESU 88.1 Middletown.  Featuring “live and local Connecticut arts and music” in a “bi-weekly show featuring the areas finest artists and musicians of every genre”, the show further extends J-Cherry’s audience as well as networking for future events. 



The couple also expressed their commitment to the Sanders presidential campaign by welcoming canvassers to use their home as a base.

J-Cherry’s active Twitter presence attracts like-minded people locally and nationally. Many of her recent tweets are directed toward her passion for activism and politics.



J-Cherry’s GooglePlus page , which has over 190 views, shares her music through links to recordings on Soundcloud. In addition to sharing her own recordings and appearances, she publicizes other local bands and events, from the Monster Mash at Wild Bill’s to the WESU Record Fair. Her blog posts in support of causes from education to water justice to politics have also gained her a following.


Branding her productions and activities through her logos makes the J-Cherry name a distinctive entity. From the Middletown Music Festival to her band’s appearance at Swan Day to WESU’s page for her radio show, to her Instagram, all are tagged with a link to the J-Cherry Presents website.




J-Cherry’s long involvement in Middletown arts and her journalistic experience have given her a knowledge of the community, an affinity for creating partnerships, and expertise in publicity.


Images and videos from the social media of J-Cherry.


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