1. Friday night brings the Maine premiere of “Beneath the Harvest Sky” to Bangor Mall Cinemas, with two screenings set for 7 and 9 p.m.; there’s an after party at Nocturnem Drafthaus in downtown Bangor, where you can also hear folk-pop duo Him & Her. Also on Friday, the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer plays host to the Descendants of Bluegrass, Paddy Murphy’s in downtown Bangor hosts the Junkyard Cats, Tantrum has a night of hip hop with headliner, rapper Papoose, and in Winterport, 4Points BBQ & Blues hosts bluesman Eric Green. Saturday morning is Bangor’s first Color Run, to benefit the American Folk Festival; you can register until 9:30 a.m. Saturday along the Bangor Waterfront, and multiple waves of the race will take off between 9 a.m. and 10; come watch your friends and neighbors get pelted with colored powder. At 1 p.m. there’s the West Market Square renovation kickoff, along with deals from downtown businesses all day. That night, enjoy either Celtic rockers St. Huckleberry at Paddy’s, Shades of Blue at Nocturnem, Tomorrow Morning at Ipanema, a masquerade dance party with DJ Mike E. Styx and dancers from the Haus of Paradigm at Tantrum, and across the bridge in Brewer, the Mallett Brothers Band play at 7:30 at the Brewer Performing Arts Center. On Sunday, Bangor Story Slam returns to Verve in downtown, an open storytelling forum set for 6 p.m.
2. There’s major dance parties happening in Portland Friday night. Three awesome house DJs — Mike D, Silverchild and Moses — are at Flask Lounge, and there’s also the super fun monthly Penthouse Dance Party at Empire. Also Friday is the acclaimed Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela at the State Theatre, indie rockers the New Mendicants with Portland’s own Jose Ayerve at Port City Music Hall, Appalachian band the Tarbox Ramblers at One Longfellow Square, and alt-rockers Local H with Planeside at the Asylum. On Saturday, there’s a bout between Maine Roller Derby and the Green Mountain Derby Dames at the Portland Expo, starting at 5 p.m. There’s also The Both, a.k.a. Aimee Mann and Ted Leo, at Port City Music Hall; Pete Witham and the Cozmik Zombies at Bayside Bowl, a vaudeville variety show at Mayo Street Arts; electro rock with the Other Bones (pictured above), Ace Reporter and Clifflight at Empire; and a solo acoustic set from Ryan Montbleau at One Longfellow Square. Saturday night is also the night to say goodbye the Slainte, the local bar and venue on Preble Street that closes its doors for good this weekend; there’s a blowout musical event featuring the likes of ShaShaSha, Ginlab, Tall Horse, Dustin Saucier and the Sad Bastards, Worried Well, Lisa/Liza, Evan Parker, Erik Neilson, Johnny Fountain and Daniel Knudsen. It starts at 6 p.m., and in Slainte tradition, it’s free.
3. I was crushed to discover that the Belfast Free Range Music Festival was canceled this year. It’s my favorite musical event in Maine, bar none. So imagine my delight when organizers revealed that this Saturday, April 26, they’d be hosting a Mini Free Range Fest at Three Tides in Belfast, to raise funds for next year’s full festival! Huzzah! Cooped Up, this year’s small-scale, big vision event, kicks off at 12:30 Saturday and features six bands, including Jacob Augustine, Jim Dandy, Chamberlain, the Rugged, Travis Cyr and When Particles Collide. Tickets are $10 at the door at Three Tides. In addition to Cooped Up, Chamberlain plays another set Saturday night at the Speakeasy in Rockland, and across the bay, on Friday night enjoy the 220s at Chummies in Ellsworth, and Maine legend David Mallett at the Grand Theatre, also in Ellsworth and also on Friday.
4. Dang — four great plays and musicals opening this weekend, across the state! Penobscot Theatre Company premieres their minimal but beautiful production of “Our Town” this weekend, with shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Bangor Opera House. In Orono, the Orono Community Theatre unveils their production of Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Inspector Hound” (pictured) with shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Keith Anderson Community Center in Orono. Down in Winterport, the charming ladies of Winterport Open Stage open “Nunsense II: The Second Coming,” set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Wagner Middle School in Winterport. Finally, Portland Stage in Portland premieres the thought provoking, comedic religious comedy “The Savannah Dispensation,” set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m Sunday at their theater on Forest Avenue in downtown Portland.
5. Canoe and kayak race season is winding down, but there’s still two more races this weekend: the Piscataquis River Race, with registration set for 8 a.m. Saturday at King Cummings Park in Guilford, and the Machias River Race, with registration starting at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Airline Bridge in Machias. It’s also worth noting that College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor hosts their annual Earth Day Celebration, the yearly bash that celebrates everything COA is all about, with nature excursions, children’s activities, booths, electric car test drives, lectures, yoga, food, and more. It’s set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the school, and it’s free and open to the public.