During the three long months of the Maine winter, it might be hard to remember what exactly summer feels like in Vacationland, yet here we are again. The temperature has already reached the low 70s, and summer doesn’t officially start for another two months. But we know you’re already looking for something to do in Maine and the greater New England region during your next few months of freedom. Might we suggest going to a few music and art festivals?
Sure Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago draws practically every cool band imaginable, and Bonnaroo in Tennessee brings some of the biggest names out like Eminem, The Strokes and The Black Keys. But the great thing about the festivals in New England is that they are still growing, and are able to maintain a sense of a community.
Another great thing about the intimate independence that many of these festivals have is their ability to appeal to nearly every possible audience. Prefer roots and folk music? Aroostakoostik would be the perfect fit for you. Maybe you’re looking at seeing some bigger names without paying the $180 that it costs to go to Bonnaroo? KahBang in Bangor will be bringing My Morning Jacket and Surfer Blood to our great state
So what we’ve done is assembled a guide to what we believe are some of the most enticing festivals in our region. In addition to their dates and locations, we’ve included a few bands that we are personally excited about seeing for each festival and exactly why you should go.
There’s something for everybody, so read our guide, put on your Wayfarers and check out some awesome live music, art and camping this summer.
- “Arootsakoostik Music Festival” New Sweden July 9th, 2011
What is it?: The fifth anniversary of Maine’s premier American roots festival.
Who to see: Good Kids Sprouting Horns, Theodore Treehouse, Wesley Hartley & the Traveling Trees and Milkman’s Union.
Why you should go: Aside from having a great lineup, Arootsakoostik raises donations for local food pantries and shelters, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and for the preservation and restoration of Thomas Park in New Sweden.
- “KahBang Music & Arts Festival” Bangor August 5th-13th
What is it?: Maine’s largest summer festival this year, featuring national hip-hop, rock and dance acts
Who to see: Surfer Blood, My Morning Jacket, Chromeo and Lady Lamb the Beekeeper.
Why you should go: Aside from featuring national music acts, KahBang features also features up-and-coming artists from the region in gallery shows and screenings throughout the length of the festivities.
- “The Way Life Should Be Camping and Musical Festival” Brooks June 3rd-5th
What is it?: A smaller scale camping and music festival featuring local reggae, funk and jam bands.
Who to see: Chaos Sauce, The Cyborg Trio and The Running Gags.
Why you should go: Only 2,500 tickets will be available, so it’s sure to be a more intimate festival. Plus, who doesn’t love camping?
- “Old Port Fest” Portland June 12th
What is it?: An all day music and arts festival in Portland’s Old Port District.
Who to see: Although this year’s lineup is still unannounced previous acts included The Maine, Spose and Jacob Augustine.
Why you should go: Aside from music, the event features local restaurants and businesses lining the streets of the Old Port.
- “Portland Music and Arts Festival” Portland August 20th
What is it?: Local rock and folk acts take over the Dogfish Bar & Grill for 24 hours.
Who to see: Grant Street Orchestra, Carbon Leaf and The Jason Spooner Trio
Why you should go: The proceeds for this year’s festival will benefit the Maine Children’s Cancer Program.
- “Wanderlust Festival” Bondville June 23-26th
What is it?: Taking place in the beautiful Stratton Mountains, this festival’s primary focus is American folk and roots music.
Who to see: Andrew Bird, Sonya Kitchell and Garth Stevenson
Why you should go: It takes place at the Stratton Mountain Ski Resort, so convincing a stubborn significant other that it will be a romantic vacation in the foothills of Vermont shouldn’t be too hard.
- “Wilco’s Sold Sound Festival” North Adams June 24th-26th
What is it?: Indie-folk kings Wilco serve as the curators and headliners for a weekend of indie rock and folk.
Who to see: Wilco, Thurston Moore and Here We Go Magic
Why you should go: In addition to curating the festival, Wilco will headline on both Friday and Saturday night.
- “Green River Festival” Greenfield July 16th-17th
What is it?: Local food, fine art and national music acts take over Greenfield Community College for a weekend of entertainment.
Who to see: Although this year’s lineup is still unannounced, previous acts have included CAKE, Neko Case and They Might Be Giants.
Why you should go: It’s a festival on a beautiful college campus with low-priced tickets and hot air balloons.
- “Gathering the Vibes Festival” Bridgeport July 21st-24th
What is it?: The 16th annual music and camping festival featuring national jam bands and rock acts.
Who to see: Jane’s Addiction, Elvis Costello & the Imposters and Toots & The Maytals
Why you should go: Gathering the Vibes continues on with the 1960s Woodstock tradition of tie-die and Grateful Dead tributes throughout the weekend.
- “Newport Folk Festival” Newport July 30th-31st
What is it?: The historical American Folk Festival featuring globally known folk and country musicians.
Who to see: M.Ward, Wanda Jackson and Brown Bird.
Why you should go: Show your support for Portland’s own Brown Bird at the festival that started it all.