A live outdoor blues festival featuring performances by three bands and vendor tables will return to the Londonderry Town Common Aug. 28 from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free, and the event raises money for veterans groups.
This year, the festival is raising money for two Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association southern New Hampshire chapters, according to organizer and musician Dennis Martin.
“We have a very generous town, and the surrounding towns that come too,” Martin said.
The event usually takes place on the fourth Saturday of August, after Londonderry Old Home Day, and usually gets about 300 to 400 visitors and raises up to $3,500 for veterans groups. Last year, however, attendance was down to only about 100 to 150 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they raised about $1,000.
The money raised at the festival will be used to help homeless veterans. Martin said there are still an estimated 40,000 vets experiencing homelessness nationwide.
“I originally started it because I was a homeless veteran myself,” Martin said of the festival.
Martin said he struggled with homelessness in the 1980s until a group of fellow veterans helped him on his feet. Since then, he’s tried to give back.
Martin goes by the stage name Dr. Harp, and his band, Dr. Harp Blues Revue Band will be performing at the blues festival along with the Larry Dougher Blues Band (another veteran-led band) and Larry and the Bluescasters.
From a young age, the Cape Cod native gravitated to the harmonica (which is nicknamed a harp), inspired by a neighbor who played. As he was growing up in the 1960s and ‘70s, Martin became a fan of other blues bands and players such as The J. Geils Band, Magic Dick, James Montgomery and James Cotton.
No alcohol is allowed at the event. There will be a 50/50 raffle with prizes such as gift certificates to Planet Fitness and other local companies. There will also be a private fire truck on site for kids to explore.
So far, they have about a dozen vendors. If someone would like to offer raffle rewards or set up a vendor table, they can contact Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (603) 303-0352.