Happiness Project festival mixes music and mental health

Danielle and Jennifer, an acoustic pop sister duo from Harleysville, Pennsylvania, will help headline Saturday’s Happiness Project Music Festival in Smyrna. They have performed at the Dewey Beach Music Conference, Dewey Beach Popfest, The Ladybug Festival, The Bitter End in New York City and World Café Live in Philadelphia and Wilmington. (Submitted photo)

Danielle and Jennifer, an acoustic pop sister duo from Harleysville, Pennsylvania, will help headline Saturday’s Happiness Project Music Festival in Smyrna. They have performed at the Dewey Beach Music Conference, Dewey Beach Popfest, The Ladybug Festival, The Bitter End in New York City and World Café Live in Philadelphia and Wilmington. (Submitted photo)

Taking mental health issues out of the shadows is the goal of Saturday’s Happiness Project Music Festival at Painted Stave Distilling in Smyrna.

The event, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., benefits the National Alliance on Mental Illness and features 19 regional performers on one indoor and one outdoor stage, as well as food vendors, local retailers and nonprofit organizations offering information.

The family-friendly event is free to attend with raffles and donations gladly accepted.

Best Bets logo CLEAR copy“Mental health has always had kind of a stigma,” said festival co-organizer Jason Burlew of Harrington.

“We’re always told that it’s something we shouldn’t talk about and to just keep it to ourselves. But when people do that, they don’t get the treatment they need. The more it’s discussed and the more it’s brought out, the more people get the resources they need.”

This is actually the second Happiness Project Festival this year. The first in March, named The Happiness Project for Music and Mental Health, was on the Owens Campus of Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown, where Mr. Burlew is public relations manager.

That one was held by the Student Life department during the week and was more of a resource fair but did draw 15 bands.

This time around, Mr. Burlew and co-organizer Candy Fortney of Camden decided to put on a festival themselves closer to their Kent County residences on the weekend in the hopes of attracting more bands and a wider audience.

“We both live in Kent County so we wanted to move it up here to make it more centrally located since we have bands not only from Delaware but from

FESTIVAL SET TIMES OUTDOOR STAGE 11 a.m. – Clifford Keith  Noon – Nalani & Sarina 1 p.m. – Brothers Clair  1:45 p.m. – Cecilia Grace 2:30 p.m. – Plot Twist 3:15 p.m. – Chasing Verity 4 p.m. – Brianna Cash  4:45 p.m. – Single Origin  5:30 p.m. – Jocelyn Faro and The Ragazzi 6:30 p.m. – NOHC 7:15 p.m. – Danielle and Jennifer INDOOR STAGE 11:15 a.m. – Chelsea Rae 12:30 p.m. – Joe Brellahan 1:30 p.m. – Heather Anne Walter 2:15 p.m. – Hanna Paige  3 p.m. – Grace Otley 4 p.m. – Tyler Greene 5 p.m. – JANI 8:15 p.m. – Alicia Rae

FESTIVAL SET TIMES
OUTDOOR STAGE
11 a.m. – Clifford Keith
Noon – Nalani & Sarina
1 p.m. – Brothers Clair
1:45 p.m. – Cecilia Grace
2:30 p.m. – Plot Twist
3:15 p.m. – Chasing Verity
4 p.m. – Brianna Cash
4:45 p.m. – Single Origin
5:30 p.m. – Jocelyn Faro and The Ragazzi
6:30 p.m. – NOHC
7:15 p.m. – Danielle and Jennifer
INDOOR STAGE
11:15 a.m. – Chelsea Rae
12:30 p.m. – Joe Brellahan
1:30 p.m. – Heather Anne Walter
2:15 p.m. – Hanna Paige
3 p.m. – Grace Otley
4 p.m. – Tyler Greene
5 p.m. – JANI
8:15 p.m. – Alicia Rae

around the region,” Mr. Burlew said.

“Holding a music festival in the middle of the week is tough because so many bands just can’t make it. So we think this was the best option all around.”

While the first was a general event aimed to raise awareness, this one specifically benefits one charity, NAMI, the largest grassroots organization serving individuals living with mental illness and their families and friends in the country.

“Their representatives are always very helpful and friendly. NAMI has a national organization but also a Delaware chapter that can benefit from an event like this. So we liked the fact that they had both a national presence and a state presence,” said Mr. Burlew, who notes that both he and Ms. Fortney have known people over the years who have had mental health issues and they have worked with another organization based in Florida, To Write Love On Her Arms.

Headlining the musical performances are Harleysville, Pennsylvania, natives Danielle and Jennifer, who have an acoustic-pop sound; and Jocelyn Faro and The Ragazzi, of Annapolis, Maryland, who play a blend of rock, pop and blues.

Joining them are Flemington, New Jersey, natives Nalani and Sarina, who perform acoustic soul; Delaware’s own country/folk performer Clifford Keith; acoustic singer/songwriter Alicia Rae of Annapolis and New York City electronic dance group NOHC.

Several other Delaware performers also are included in the lineup. Acoustic singer-songwriters Single Origin, rock group Plot Twist, multi-instrumentalist JANI, rocker Tyler Greene of The Dug, pop singer Grace Otley and acoustic singers Chelsea Rae and Joe Brellahan will all bring their talents to the event.

In addition, there are four performers making their Delaware debuts. Rock band Chasing Verity of Baltimore; R&B/soul singer Brianna Cash of Philadelphia; pop music sister duo Cecilia Grace of Baltimore; and Annapolis alternative folk band Brothers Clair will all be in the First State for the first time.

It’s a diverse lineup of music, something that was important to organizers.

“We really wanted to appeal to everybody with a nice mix of music,” Mr. Burlew said.

“I think it’s exciting to discover new music. I’ve become a real fan of all of these artists just by listening to their music and talking to them. We’re actually not as quite a diverse as I wanted us to be. We tried to get some hip-hop artists on board but that didn’t happen this time around.

“We didn’t want this to be just a rock festival or just a country festival. We wanted it to be a lot of different things.”

Organizers encourage attendees to bring food, chairs and blankets to the event, which will be rain or shine.

For more information, find the Happiness Project Music Festival on Facebook or to make an online donation to the event, visit www.gofundme.com/hpmusicfest.

“We really do think this is the perfect merge of music and mental health,” Mr. Burlew said.

“During the course of the day, just listening to a song can change your mood or attitude. It’s a good combination.”

Roadhouse Bluesfest kicks off tonight

Another music festival takes center stage this weekend in Kent County.

The Second Annual Central Delaware Blues Society Roadhouse Bluesfest is a two-day event this year, tonight and Saturday at Jonathan’s Landing Golf Course and Clubhouse, 1309 Ponderosa Drive, Magnolia, home to the Central Delaware Blues Society.

Tonight, clubhouse doors open at 6 with performers Andy Vincent and Nothin’ But Trouble.

On Saturday, outside at Jonathan’s Landing, rain or shine, gates open at 11 a.m., Music starts at noon

Performers are Johnny and Zep, lower case blues, Debbie Davies, Albert Castiglia and Bob Margolin.
Admission for Friday night’s show is $15 for the public and $10 for CDBS members. Saturday’s daylong event is $30 for CDBS members and $35 for the public.

Tickets can be purchased at the door/gate or online at the Central Delaware Blues Society website, and are also available at B&B Music & Sound, 3443 S. DuPont Highway, Camden. Food and drink vendors will be on site.

Kids are welcome Saturday accompanied by an adult, and if younger than 12, get in free. No pets will be allowed. Lawn chairs, umbrellas, blankets, hats and sunscreen are strongly encouraged, and a limited number of sunscreen pop-ups will be allowed in approved areas only.

You can purchase CDBS membership the day of the Bluesfest for $25 a year, or join online at www.centraldelawareblues.com/membership.html
Volunteers to work the event or to participate in CDBS in other capacities and other events are being sought. For more information, go to www.centraldelawareblues.com.

‘Noises Off’ in Milford

The Second Street Players will present the comedy “Noises Off” today through Saturday and Sept. 25-27. All performances will be held at the Riverfront Theater at 2 S. Walnut St., Milford.

Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m. and the Sunday performance is at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $17 and can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com or by calling (800) 838-3006.

“Noises Off” presents a menagerie of itinerant actors rehearsing a flop called “Nothing’s On.” Doors slamming, on and offstage intrigue, and an errant herring all figure in the plot.

Director Linda Killion and assistant director Aubrey Edwards bring the show to life.

Now showing
New this weekend in theaters is the sequel “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” and Johnny Depp as notorious criminal Whitey Bulger in “Black Mass.”

New on DVD and download starting Tuesday is the musical comedy “Pitch Perfect 2.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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