1. Happy Independence Day, everybody! What’s going on this Friday, the Fourth? All the stuff you’d come to expect, of course. Parades, barbecues, fireworks — now with the added bonus of rain and thunder! Not that that is stopping anybody. There are lots of great Fourth events statewide, from the fireworks and the pops concert from the Portland Symphony Orchestra on the Eastern Promenade in Portland, to the day-long rock concert on the Bangor Waterfront and accompanying fireworks display, to the incredibly entertaining parade in Bar Harbor, to the Heritage Days in Bath, to wonderful parades, celebrations and fireworks in small towns like Grand Lake Stream, Eastport and Searsport. Since we are expecting rain at various points on Friday, you’d be well-served to check bangordailynews.com, contact city hall or the town office, or check social media for various municipalities to make sure fireworks and parades aren’t postponed to Saturday. Fingers crossed that if it does rain, it at least spares parades in the morning and fireworks at night!
2. Aside from Fourth of July festivities, there’s lots else to do in Bangor this weekend. Friday night in Bangor take your pick from either the Bill Barnes Jazz Trio at Nocturnem Drafthaus, Mark Miller at the Big Easy, a fun night of pop music featuring the Trendy Robots and DJ Paul Wolfe at Tantrum, a dance party with DJ Baby Bok Choy at Paddy Murphy’s (that’s me, when I’m in DJ mode), singer-songwriter Chris Ross (pictured) at the Sea Dog, and a free screening of the movie “Independence Day” in Pickering Square, starting at 8:30 p.m. weather permitting. Saturday, KahBang Arts hosts its First Saturday Mixer, featuring new art from painter and mixed media artist Stefano Tijerina. The Bangtown Swingers bring the naughty fun to Nocturnem later that night, maritime shenanigans with the Galley Rats are set for Paddy’s, big blues band the Juke Rockets are at the Big Easy, and another show from Chris Ross is at 4Points BBQ & Blues in Winterport. Oh yeah, and Styx and Foreigner on the Bangor Waterfront. Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto!
3. In Portland, the major event aside from Fourth of July festivities on Friday is the First Friday Art Walk, which as always will feature a dazzling array of visual and performing arts in venues and galleries across town. On Saturday, the nightlife picks right back up, with fun stuff including a dance party at Empire featuring DJs Gigi and Dale Da Dred; the Fear and Loathing in Portland art and music show at Geno’s, featuring house, techno and drum & bass DJs and performers and artists all night; a fun punk and hardcore show featuring Covered in Bees, the English Muffins and the Battery Steele at Bayside Bowl, and funky big band Mama’s Boomshack plays a CD release for their album “Speed of Soul” at One Longfellow Square.
4. Rockland offers up lots of fun stuff planned music-wise this weekend, including a Friday night Fourth of July electronic dance party at the Speakeasy featuring Vistas and Quantum, and on Saturday there’s Irish fiddle music at Rock City Coffee with Brinytide, rockers $2 Pistol at the Speakeasy, a ten year anniversary concert with rockabilly punk band the Murder Weapon at the Myrtle Street Tavern, and comedian Bob Marley at the Strand Theatre at 7 p.m. Across the bay, Bar Harbor of course hosts one of the best Fourth of Julys in the state on Friday, and that night, there’s plenty more fun to be had, including Jeff Beam’s Loudspeaker Wallpaper (pictured above) at the Lompoc, blues band the Bad Daddy’s at the Thirsty Whale, and of course, music from the Larks, Sly-Chi and the Stompers on the Waterfront from 3:30 until 9 p.m. On Saturday, the Lompoc hosts songwriter Matt Schreiber, there’s a night of hip hop featuring the Green Tank crew at Carmen Verandah, and in Ellsworth, funk band Juicebox takes the stage at Chummies.
5. Provided the weather reports are correct, it’s looking like the worst of the weather will start to head out Saturday afternoon, and we can expect a gorgeous Sunday with sunshine and temperatures in the low 80s. Sunday is definitely the day to fully enjoy your three day weekend — may we suggest swimming at one of Maine’s lovely swimming holes? Here’s a handy dandy list compiled by our writer Natalie Feulner. Want to hike? Is there anyone more knowledgable about hikes in Maine than Aislinn Sarnacki? I don’t think so.