On Saturday, Aug. 25, blues-lovers, friends, and families are invited to the Londonderry Town Common from 12 – 4 p.m. to enjoy music, food, and more – and for a great cause.
The 4th annual Blues Festival, hosted and organized by Londonderry’s own Dennis “Dr. Harp” Martin, will benefit the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and raise awareness for homelessness among veterans. In the past, proceeds have been donated to the Liberty House in Manchester and the Veterans Count program.
The idea for the event originated several years ago because Martin, who was once a homeless veteran himself around the time of the Gulf War, wanted to give back to veterans as they were the ones who helped to get him back on his feet.
“I said, ‘You know what? I think I’ll give them a favor,’” Martin said.
The first year the event was held, only about 50 people made up the audience. However, in recent years, between 300 and 400 people have been in attendance to show their support for our local veterans.
“I really enjoy the environment,” Martin said of the festival. “We get so much support from the community. The community of Londonderry, and even towns outside of Londonderry like Derry, Salem, and Windham, is great.”
Martin’s band, Dr. Harp’s All Veterans Blues Makers, will also be performing that day, along with several other blues bands that are donating their time to play.
“No one’s getting paid,” Martin explained, “Not even me. As a matter of fact, I usually dip into my own pocket to help pay for a few things.”
A barbecue truck, an ice cream truck, and craft vendors will also be available for guests to enjoy. The VFW Women’s Auxiliary will be selling baked goods throughout the day, with all proceeds being donated to the DAV.
A variety of raffles will be part of the day as well for items such as military blankets made by Martin’s wife, Manchester Monarchs tickets, and a 50/50. The Long Blue Cat Brewery donated several gift cards for the event as well, which will also be raffled off throughout the day. Selling tickets for the raffles will be the DAV Women’s Auxiliary.
“Veterans Affairs (VA) will have a table set up as well,” Martin said. “They’ll be able to give information out.”
Martin explained that in New Hampshire alone, there are several hundred homeless veterans. Nationwide, there are over 40,000.
“A lot of veterans aren’t aware of the benefits they can get,” Martin explained. “If they come to the festival, the DAV of Manchester will have a table set up so that people can ask questions about things like health care that they aren’t aware that they get.”
Martin also explained that he is looking for more volunteers for the day. For more information or to volunteer at the Blues Festival, contact Dennis “Dr. Harp” Martin at 603-303-0352 or firstname.lastname@example.org.