The Festival began in the summer of 1987, after the Chamber had accepted the challenge of matching an anonymous donation to produce a summer concert series.

Opening Night, June 5, 1987 featured Tom Rush and Ben Baldwin and the Big Notes. The first year included “Brown-Bag concerts on Wednesday noon, two performing groups on Friday night at 5:00 and 8:00 and a Sunday Sunset Concert at 7:00 p.m.

The summer-long Festival showcases both internationally and nationally recognized acts as well as top local Seacoast entertainers.

In announcing the first summer music series, Chamber Chairman Dick York described the Festival as “something our community needs and something that will benefit the entire city.” York also spoke of the festival as “an important step in developing Dover’s cultural resources.”

With the Cochecho Arts Festival now thriving, the Chamber has indeed met the challenge. The variety of performances have always attracted huge crowds to Dover — not only from the Seacoast, but as far away as the Mid-Atlantic states.

Area residents and visitors who attend the concerts realize immediately why Dover is such a great city. The Chamber is proud to have taken the lead in promoting the arts and community events in Dover with the belief that everyone benefits from a vibrant, healthy community.

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