1. The last weekend of September brings the first of many Oktoberfest celebrations in Maine – this one at eastern Maine’s beer heaven, Nocturnem Drafthaus in Bangor. Thursday through Saturday, Nocturnem will put a wide array of German beers on tap, serve some German food, and feature music from the likes of Stesha Cano on Thursday, Wells Gordon and the Mes Amis Trio on Friday, and Magnetic North on Saturday. Also in town this weekend, Roots, Rhythm & Dub rock the Big Easy on Friday, Paddy Murphy’s has got the Blood Orange Martinis on Friday and the Blast Addicts on Saturday, there’s DJ Reid on Friday and Juicebox on Saturday at Ipanema, the Skastitutes Saturday night at Woodman’s in Orono, and there’s a very special show at the Rock & Art Shop on Saturday night, featuring Pocket Vinyl – an art and music duo that’s got the guy on piano, the girl painting while he plays. At the end, the painting gets auctioned off. Neat, huh? There’s also, of course, Journey and Pat Benatar (pictured) on the Waterfront Friday night – bundle up, folks, it’s gonna be a chilly one! – and the Fireball Run road race makes its final stop right in Bangor this weekend.
2. Empire Dine & Dance in Portland hosts the CD release party for This Way’s new album “The Story of Simon Pure,” set for Friday night with the Adam Ezra Band; on Saturday night, Empire hosts the Five Finger Discounts. Jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel is at One Longfellow Square on Friday night, and at Space Gallery Friday night, there’s a Cuban dance party with Primo Cubano. The Big Easy hosts two big nights of music; a crazy diverse grab bag Friday night party for the 207 clothing line, with rapper Spose, metal band Whitcomb and bluegrass band Dark Hollow Bottling Company, and on Saturday, blues masters the Duke Robillard Band. You can dance yourself silly each weekend at places like Bubba’s Sulky Lounge, the Asylum and Flask Lounge, and at Geno’s Rock Club, there’s a huge array of bands all weekend, from hip hop on Friday to prog-metal on Saturday.
3. In Rockland, the 220s take over the place at the Myrtle Street Street Tavern on Saturday, and over in Ellsworth, you can rock with the Larks at Chummies on Friday. Meanwhile, in the steadily winding down Bar Harbor, you can check out Trisha Mason at the Thirsty Whale on Saturday, and Christian Li and Chris Doyle on Saturday at the Lompoc Cafe. There’s also two neat events in set for this weekend, including the 2012 Manhattan Short Film Festival, the international short film program, which makes a stop Friday night at the Grand Theatre in Ellsworth. And on Mt. Desert Island, College of the Atlantic professor Dru Colbert and her students perform their latest site-specific art installation, called “Suite Limpet,” a multimedia, in- and outdoors event (a scene from which is pictured above) that starts at Otter Creek Hall in Otter Creek, and continues out into the town and waterfront. Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars, flashlights and appropriate weather gear, and reservations are required. Performances are at 5:45 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; for tickets, visit Brown Paper Tickets.
4. It’s Camden International Film Festival weekend, and technically, the documentary films and discussions have already started, with an opening night party and a screening of the Maine-made film “Betting the Farm.” Friday through Sunday, there are more than 20 films being shown at locations including the Camden Opera House, the Strand Theatre in Rockland, the Bayview Street Cinema in Camden and the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland. Some of the featured films include “Downeast,” about the lobster processing plant in Prospect Harbor, “The Imposter,” about a missing child case that mysteriously resolves itself, and “Chasing Ice,” about the disappearing Arctic glaciers. There’s also the Points North Documentary Forum, for aspiring filmmakers. It’s a wonderfully diverse array of documentaries that make up the CIFF; tickets to individual screenings are $8.50, and full passes are $75 and $150. For more information, visit camdenfilmfest.org.
5. There’s yet another festival this weekend, and this one takes place at the Oak and the Ax, the intimate independent music venue in Biddeford. Oak and the Ax Fest brings together 21 bands and artists over three days, to benefit the venue itself. Friday night, the Milkman’s Union, Joe Fletcher and Brown Bird take the stage; on Saturday, bands like Drab Pony, Liza/Lisa, Butcher Boy, Hyena, Tom K, Coalsack in Crux, Video Nasties, Big Blood and Jeffrey Lewis; and on Sunday, there’s Greg Jamie, Thorn and Shout, Panda Bandits, Vio/Mire, Arborea, Hersey State, Wesley Hartley and the Traveling Trees, Ed Askew and Micah Blue Smaldone. Admission for the whole weekend is a very affordable $30, and individual days are $15 for Friday, $12 for Saturday and $10 for Sunday. For information, visit theoakandtheax.blogspot.com.