1. Four words: chicken on a stick. That is totes in my top 5 things to eat at the American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront this year. The AFF of course is the big thing to do in the Big Bang, but aside from that, there’s also good stuff happening all weekend. Friday night you can enjoy Kevin Hamel and Kevin Bate followed by the Ghost of Paul Revere at the Sea Dog, Maritime rockers the Galley Rats at Paddy Murphy’s, singer-songwriter Travis Cyr at Nocturnem, the Junkyard Cats at Ipanema, a Folk Fest after party at Tantrum featuring bluegrass group Maximum Blue, and at the Big Easy at the Charles Inn, it’s the wildly entertaining Eric Green Party. Saturday brings an all afternoon and evening celebration at the Sea Dog starting at noon with Jeff & Max Silverstein, followed by Mona Rae, Everett Dumas, Jamie Knowles and ending with Temperature of the Sun at 9:30. There’s also River Bottom Funk at Paddy’s, jazz ensemble Interplay at Nocturnem, the Juke Rockets Blues Band at the Big Easy, and out in Winterport, the blues band Blood Orange Martinis at 4Points BBQ & Blues. Oh, and more than 15 excellent roots and traditional bands and artists from all over the world at the Folk Fest. All weekend. Win.
2. Four fantastic Maine bands play Port City Music Hall Friday night, including the psychedelic indie rock sounds of both Jeff Beam and ShaShaSha (who are releasing new albums), as well as North Haven trio the Toughcats and the Amarantos Quartet. Also Friday is the ten year anniversary celebration of Portland punk band Headstart set for the Big Easy, the gypsy jazz of the Dirty Bourbon River Show at One Longfellow Square, a triple bill of fantastic punk-flavored indie rock with When Particles Collide, Volcano Rabbit and People Skills at Slainte, at the Oak and the Ax in Biddeford, it’s rappers Milo and Riley Lake, and at Mayo Street Arts in Portland there’s the phenomenal folk duo Arborea and Bar Harbor psych rockers Coke Weed. On Saturday, there’s Post Provost at the Big Easy, more gypsy jazz with Ameranouche at One Longfellow Square and rapper Jake Miller at the Asylum.
3. Down Midcoast way, there’s Him & Her at the Brickhouse in Searsport, the Blast Addicts at Bell the Cat in Belfast, and Tuba Skinny and Shanna Underwood at Billy’s Tavern in Thomaston, all on Friday, while on Saturday there’s an old school reggae night with DJs Mark Kelly and Natty B at Billy’s Tavern, and the Kennebunk River Band at Rock City Coffee in Rockland. Heading Down East, enjoy a free concert at 6 p.m. featuring Blue Hill calypso-folk-rock band Hoot! at the Ellsworth Waterfront Park, or Vermont Joy Parade at the Lompoc Cafe in Bar Harbor. On Saturday night there’s the Tall Heights (pictured) at the Lompoc, the Pitch Black Ribbons at Thirsty Whale in Bar Harbor, or the 220s at Sips in Southwest Harbor. Also, it’s going to be freaking beautiful this weekend, so there is no reason you shouldn’t just be on the coast enjoying yourself because OMG SUMMER.
4. It’s looking to be a great weekend for a picnic – the sixth annual Picnic Arts & Music Festival, that is, set for Saturday, Aug. 24 at Lincoln Park at the Corner of Franklin and Congress Street in Portland. The fest will feature over 100 vendors selling clothing, jewelry, prints, accessories, bags, plush, stationery, photography, housewares, fine art, vintage goods, and much more. Oh, AND there’s music from the likes of Leveret, Rural Ghosts, Lisa/Liza, Forget Forget, High Spirits, Contrapposto, Conjjecture, Yoni Gordon, Good Kids Sprouting Horns and Gimme Goldar. It runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and admission is free, though it’s highly unlikely you’ll walk away without buying some unique, handmade item for yourself or someone you love.
5. So, what else haven’t you checked off your summertime bucket list? Have you been hiking yet? Kayaking? What about a lobster roll on a pier somewhere? Swimming – what about swimming? Ocean or lake? Camp or public beach? Pool? Have you been to that favorite little town, eaten at a cafe, visited that park or museum or grange hall that’s so pretty? Taken a ferry ride to a Maine island? It’s prime time. Before you know it, it’ll be over. Enjoy.