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Tech Fest

Tech Fest is a fundraising concert hosted by the Ocean County Vocational Technical School’s (OCVTS) Performing Arts Academy (PAA) Tech Club. Tech Club is moderated by advisors Bill Bourke, Zack Slater and Mary Ann Fekete.  All together, the three of them have over 30 years of experience in the music industry with experience ranging from live sound to studio recording. Tech Club’s primary goal is to provide high school students with real-world knowledge of the music industry. Students involved in the club meet outside of regular school hours to expand their knowledge in areas such as live sound, lighting, event coordination, video production, and studio recording. 

Tech Fest was created in 2011 as the result of a two-minute phone call between Bourke and Slater. The two arrived at the idea of hosting a “coffee house” style show as an arena for students of Performing Arts Academy to showcase their talents: simply, the two desired to create a welcoming environment for their students to participate in live performances. The first event was extremely successful, so much so that Bourke and Slater made the decision to not only continue hosting the event, but to expand it as well.

The very first Tech Fest took place in April of 2011. The show featured six local bands and eight acoustic acts from the Toms River and Brick Township area. The proceeds from Tech Fest 1 were used to create and award the first ever “Hopes and Dreams Scholarship”. The scholarship fund is divided and presented to one graduating senior from PAA and one graduating senior from the OCVTS Audio for Electronic Media program. The money is then applied to their respective higher education programs in either Audio, Tech, or Production.

Since 2011, the OCVTS PAA Tech Club has expanded greatly. Now with over thirty "Tech Clubbers" and a Tech Fest crew of over sixty members, the event has grown larger than anyone believed to be possible.

In 2016, the sixth installment of Tech Fest took place. Tech Fest 6 was held on April 18, and was dedicated to the late Dennis Bourke (father of Bill Bourke and founder of the OCVTS Audio for Electronic Media program). The show featured twenty acts on two stages and was staffed by the students of OCVTS. The show raised over $10,000 for the “Hopes and Dreams Scholarship,” which has since been renamed the "Dennis Bourke Hopes and Dreams Scholarship".

Concert-goers at Tech Fest can expect to see some of New Jersey's finest talent as well as up-and-coming artists on the same bill.  Students on the Tech Fest crew pride themselves on providing professional-quality concert sound, lighting, and production for all performers.  Each year, the Tech Fest crew strives to push the envelope and create increasingly outstanding shows. With more great music, a fun and family-friendly atmosphere, and with all proceeds going toward a great cause, Tech Fest 9 will be an event that you do not want to miss! 

But wait! The music doesn’t end there!

Tech Club hosts a number of events throughout the year to help bring art back to Ocean County. Each fall, Tech Club collaborates with Ocean Gate Township to produce "A Night of Bonfire and Music" on the Ocean Gate boardwalk. The event brings the residents of Ocean Gate, as well as those of Ocean County, together for a night of great music on the beach. This event and many others provide great opportunities for the students of OCVTS to gain “real world experience” in both the music industry and in building an enduring sense of community.