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An all day music festival with twenty bands on two sound stages is an enormous task for any professional concert promoter. However, all the task that come with putting on a music festival, including performing, will be handled by high school students from the Ocean County Vocational and Technical School's Lakehurst-based Performing Arts Academy in April.

Tech Fest 5 returns to Ocean County on Saturday, April 18th at the Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Toms River. On WOBM-AM's Townsquare Tonight, organizer and teacher Bill Bourke said the festival is mostly student run.

"The kids really build the sound, build the stage, build all the lighting all themselves. They operate all of the sound equipment, they do all the video, all the photography. A lot of the performers that are involved in the show are students from our school."

Bourke said Tech Fest began as a small event that was created by he and fellow teacher Zack Slater five years ago.

"Zack and I decided we would do a little show for the public and for the students of the Performing Arts Academy. We involved some of our audio recording students from our program and decided we were going to do a little open mic night coffee house show, five or six bands and it seemed to take off and had a lot of popularity, so we turned it into this Tech Fest thing," said Bourke.

"So we kinda wanted to set up a venue where our students could play professionally for the public in front of hundreds of people and we wanted to set up a venue, I guess where our students could professionally gain experience," he added.

Bourke said now the event serves as a fundraiser going toward student scholarships. To that end, he said they're always looking for sponsors to help support the students, the public and the arts. You can reach them at or their website

Tech Fest 5 takes place on Saturday, April 18th at the Holy Cross Lutheran Church on Hooper Avenue in Toms River (Across from the Bubble). Doors open at 1 p.m.

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