Sunday, August 24, 2008

American Folk Festival 2008

I spent Saturday at the American Folk Festival in Bangor, now in its 4th year. The weather was fantastic: sunny, mid-80s, low humidity.

It was packed! It’s wicked awesome that so many people come out to enjoy this FREE event. There’s free music spread out over several stages, and the music is from so many different cultures that the attendees get exposed to some sounds they wouldn’t normally hear.

The Beaudoin Legacy play Two Rivers Stage

This year some of the bands were Johnny Hiland (a Maine native now living and recording in Nashville), The Beaudoin Legacy (a Franco-American sound), Jeffrey Broussard & The Creole Cowboys (zydeco), Genticorum (Quebecois), Hector Del Curto’s Eternal Tango Quartet (Argentine tango), CASYM Steel Drum Orchestra, JP & Joe Cormier (banjo), Benedicte Maurseth (Norwegian), and Chuck & Albert (Acadian), just to name a few of the many.

The Railroad Stage area is packed!

There is also an area where local craftsman have booths where you can check out their products, from woodcrafted products to handmade stone jewelery to homemade items such as jams, butters, soaps and ice cream. I'm only mentioning a few here, but there were a couple of dozen set up.

Folk Arts Marketplace

As with any outdoor festival, there was also a food court area. I got a huge piece of smoked salmon which was fantastic!!

At the end of vendor's row was a huge dance tent. Now, you can dance at any of the shows, but the dance tent is set up in such a way that the musicians playing here will get you on your feet and boogying.

Chino Nunez and Friends at the Dance Tent

After having attended so many Musikfest’s in Bethlehem, PA, I was excited upon my move back to Orono last year to have the Folk Fest nearby. I love these kinds of festivals. My one wish is that the Folk Fest and the city of Bangor could come to some kind of agreement where you can walk from venue to venue with beer instead of having to stay in one of the two designated beer areas to have a glass of this wonderful, frothy beverage. Maybe next year…..?

I also spent some time in the SeaDog Brewpub, which is located on the Penobscot River in Bangor and within the boundaries of the Folk Fest set-up. Hanging out on the outdoor deck with a SeaDog Bangor Pale Ale and listening to the sounds of Mitch Alden (of Now is Now) was a nice closure to my Folk Fest visit. Okay okay…it was three Bangor Pale Ales, but who’s counting, right?

Mitch Alden (of Now Is Now) performs at the SeaDog

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