NEW GLOUCESTER – Musical talent from Nashville to New Gloucester will gather at Thompson’s Orchard Saturday, Sept. 6, for the first Homefires Music Festival, a day of music and fun benefiting local heating fuel assistance.

Recording artist Steve Azar, whose song “I Don’t Have to Be Me (‘Til Monday)” reached No. 2 on the country charts and No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100, headlines the eclectic lineup.

Azar opened for Bob Seger on his record-setting 2007 tour, playing sold-out dates in venues all over the United States, including Boston’s TD Banknorth Garden and New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

Joining Azar will be world music mavens 35th Parallel, New Gloucester’s own singer, songwriter and guitar virtuoso Jim Gallant; indie rockers El Bufadoro out of Boston; Lewiston-Auburn’s jazz group The Three Point Trio; Squash & Gourds; The Crosstown Band; City on a Hill; Triple Play; 50/50 Band; Mountain Avenue and Wild Thing.

“We’re thrilled to have 35th Parallel, Steve Azar and Jim Gallant headlining this festival, but folks will also appreciate the diversity of local talent we’ve assembled on the bill,” said Thompson. “We’ve got bluegrass and blues, roots and alt rock, even some very smooth jazz with the Three Point Trio. There will literally be something for everyone.”

The music will run from 1 to 10 p.m. at the orchard atop Gloucester Hill.

All proceeds from the Homefires Music Festival will be donated to PROP, the People’s Regional Opportunity Program, a nonprofit multiservice community action agency. “Last year, PROP served 12,000 needy families in southern Maine. With the dramatic increase in the cost of home heating oil, I am certain that demand for our services will increase substantially. Fund-raising events such as this are a fun way to help your neighbors,” said Suzanne McCormick, president and CEO of PROP.

“What we’re trying to address through this benefit is the reality that some of our neighbors will be forced to choose between heating their homes this winter and feeding their families. We want to solve this problem wherever we can,” said Mike Thompson, third-generation owner of Thompson’s Orchard. “This will be our first Homefires Festival, but we hope to make it an annual event because while fuel prices are higher this winter than in the past, no one anticipates them going down anytime soon.”

Admission to The Homefires Music Festival is $10 per person, children under 10 admitted free. Tickets will be available exclusively at the door.

Downeast Energy has agreed to match all gate proceeds from the Homefires Music Festival. The fuel provider recognizes the changing state of affairs when it comes to home heating in Maine, said Betsy Morrill, vice president at Downeast Energy. “I think this is reflected not merely in our involvement with the Homefires Festival, but in our recent donation to heat-assistance programs in the southern Maine area. Last year, we gave $50,000 to heat-assistance programs. We recently announced that this year we are donating $100,000.”

Businesses and individuals interested in participating in the Homefires Music Festival should contact Thompson at 807-6869. Those who cannot attend the festival but wish to make a donation may call PROP directly at 553-5800.

Other Homefires Music Festival activities include a farmers’ market at First Congregational Church in the lower village and apple picking at Thompson’s Orchard and homemade doughnuts, if you arrive early enough.

For more details, visit www.thompsonsorchard.com.


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