Almost every Thursday since superstorm Sandy, Carolyn Harding has sung the blues at Two Finger Jake’s in Farmingdale.
Harding, 51, whose Freeport home was destroyed by the storm and who currently lives in transitional housing in St. Albans, Queens, says she goes to the jazz club “just to let all the stress go, to just let it out.”
It’s the kind of stress reliever that Harding hopes other Freeport residents hit hard by Sandy will be able to share on Saturday at Sea Breeze Park in Freeport with the inaugural Freeport Blues Festival, an event Harding is organizing with Frank Napoli, owner of Two Finger Jake’s and Atlantic Pizzeria in Freeport. Atlantic Pizzeria was submerged in 3 feet of water and suffered major electrical damage during the storm.
Napoli, who has played guitar for 15 years, accompanies Harding when she performs at Two Finger Jake’s. Napoli also brings jazz music into his pizzeria; it’s the main genre of music on the radio at the restaurant.
“People come in all the time, wanting to visit the club, wanting to hear more jazz music, but it’s hard for them to get out because of the recovery,” Napoli said. “I thought, might as well bring it [the music] to them, give them a relief day.”
Harding and Napoli will perform on Saturday, along with performances by local jazz artists Lady Laura and the Wright Band, Black Zeppelin Band and Calvin Booker. The event is free to the public and runs from 3 to 9 p.m.
Proceeds from food and beverage sales, donated by local Freeport businesses, will be donated to the Nassau Hurricane Recovery Fund, Inc.
Harding hopes the event will provide a light, upbeat atmosphere where Freeport residents can relax.
“I feel so close to these folks, before the storm I didn’t even know my neighbors,” Harding said. “To me, this means so much.”