By Mike LaBella
---- — Steven Lyons would have liked the music that will be performed at an upcoming benefit in his memory.
And why not? The acts were tailored to his eclectic musical tastes.
He would have especially enjoyed listening to one of his favorite local musicians, who prefaces his songs with some historical background, which Lyons always got a kick out of.
He also would have liked that the event is being held to raise money for a nonprofit music venue that he and his friends supported.
Lyons was killed six years ago at age 23 when he was hit by a train in Bradford while walking home from a downtown gathering with friends. His family and friends are now preparing to host a second concert and cookout in his memory.
The second annual Steven Lyons Memorial Rock Out & Cookout, an all-day, rain-or-shine event, will be held Aug. 24 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Winnekenni Castle, 347 Kenoza Ave.
Tom Lyons said his son’s friends are at an age where they have families and obligations, so instead of holding downtown pub crawls to remember Steven, the decision was made to hold a family-friendly event with music at its core.
“It started out as a fundraiser after Steve died and we all felt we should do it every year to donate to funds he would have supported,” Tom Lyons said. “The bar crawls were going in the wrong direction so we changed plans, and the Rock Out & Cookout came about. Last year we decided to do it to benefit the Sad Safe, as Steve and his friends all supported it when they were growing up and had a lot of friends who practiced there.”
Presented by the Steve Lyons Fund, the event will benefit The Sad Cafe in Plaistow, N.H. The cafe is an all-ages, nonprofit music venue with a mission to maintain a safe, clean, substance-free environment.
Last year’s event at Winnekenni Castle is one that Tom Lyons will never forget. It motivated him to want to continue.
“A young woman who dated Steve in high school came up to me and said this event was what she dreamed it would be and that she could feel Steve in everything that was going on,” Tom Lyons said. “That really hit me, and it still does.”
Friends remember Steven Lyons as generous person and a trusted, reliable and loyal friend who loved skateboarding (longboarding down hills in Bradford) as well as live music by local bands. He wasn’t a musician, but he had a passion for music. Among his favorite local performers was Irish folk-music performer Colm O’Brien, who is in the musical line-up. Lyons would often encourage his friends to see O’Brien perform live at local venues.
Steven Lyons was proud to be from the Ward Hill section of the city, and never hesitated to talk about it. He knew his way around the woodland trails in Ward Hill as well as anyone, friends said. He also loved the outdoors and camping.
Tom Lyons said that because his son’s musical tastes were varied, the musical acts chosen to perform represent a variety of genres that would have appealed to Steven.
“This year we have a Johnny Cash tribute band, a blues band, a hip-hop band, a bluegrass band as well as five different bands from the Sad Cafe,” Tom Lyons said. “The Sad Cafe will always be there for us as we are for them.
“I think we have something for everybody,” he said.
Fifteen local acts, including several area youth bands, will perform at the event. An art show, raffles and children’s games will take place throughout the day.
Hamburgers, hot dogs and snacks will be provided to ticket holders at no additional charge. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. The maximum price for a family is $50. Children age 10 and under will be admitted free.
Performers include Merrimack Delta Dub Set, The Four Legged Faithful, Break My Fall, The Resemblance, A Boy Named Sue, The Screen, Shaky Jake & the Blue Vibrations, Lost Thoughts, Woof!, Anonymous, The Sparx, Colm O’Brien, Sammy Paps, Darren Hawe and Bob Beal.
Advance tickets are available for purchase at stevelyonsfund.bigcartel.com and The Sad Cafe, 148 Plaistow Road, Plaistow. Email the Steve Lyons Fund at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Steve Lyons Fund on Facebook. The Steve Lyons Fund is a nonprofit group.
IF YOU GO
:What: Second annual Steven Lyons Memorial Rock Out & Cookout
When: Aug. 24 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Winnekenni Castle, 347 Kenoza Ave.
Admission: $20 at gate, $15 in advance. Maximum price for a family is $50. Children 10 and younger admitted free. Advance tickets available at stevelyonsfund.bigcartel.com and The Sad Cafe, 148 Plaistow Road, Plaistow, N.H.