1. It’s the first weekend of August and we’re just about in the dog days of summer. In Bangor this weekend, on Friday there are some great options for your entertainment, including stuff like River City Cinema’s screening of “E.T.: The Extraterrestrial” at sundown in Pickering Square or the Focus Group’s monthly improv show at 8 p.m. at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer. There’s also a night of songwriters and performers at Tantrum, featuring Justin Chamberlain (pictured), Riff Johnson and Meghan Clark; there’s jazz at Nocturnem Drafthaus with the Bill Barnes Trio, there’s amped up 80s cover and Rock Revelation at the Downunder Lounge on Main Street, there’s DJ Allison Strange at Paddy Murphy’s, there’s guitarist Mark Miller at the Big East, and in Winterport, there’s Stesha Cano and the Wicked Friggin’ Jerks at 4Points BBQ & Blues. On Saturday, the Cross Insurance Center and the Bangor State Fair host rock legend John Fogerty, while in downtown, there’s the Galley Rats at Paddy’s, there’s Him & Her at the Big Easy, there’s the 220s at Ipanema, and Nocturnem hosts Joshua Strange and Caleb Charland. Out in Winterport, bluesman Tas Cru with the Tortured Souls are at 4Points, and don’t forget that Ten Bucks Theatre’s final weekend of “Julius Caesar” will be performed at Fort Knox State Park at 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday — a prettier place to see Shakespeare I cannot think of.
2. This month’s First Friday Art Walk in Portland will likely be the busiest one of the year — peak tourism season, so expect packed streets and restaurants. That night, in addition to the countless galleries and pop up street performances, you can check out songwriter Ingrid Michaelson at the State Theatre, Grateful Dead group the Dead Sessions at Port City Music Hall, a double bill of Portland greatness featuring Paranoid Social Club (pictured) and Jeff Beam at Empire, and Maine native songwriter Slaid Cleaves at One Longfellow Square. Moving onto Saturday, there’s a double bill of some electronic rock set for Port City with EOTO and Sea Level, while Maine rockers Forget Forget and Volcano Rabbit take the stage at Empire and the Faulkingham Project is set for Bayside Bowl. Mayo Street Arts hosts the monthly Crowbait Club, a kind of open mic for theater people, and out at the Oak and the Ax — the Biddeford venue that announced, sadly, that they will be closing their doors this fall — there’s songwriters Tom Kovacevic and Micah Blue Smaldone. On Sunday, there are two wildly, inconceivably different shows in Portland — garage rock with Chain and the Gang (featuring Ian Svenonius) with Ed Schrader’s Music Beat and (New England) Patriots at Space Gallery, or bro-rock band Three Doors Down playing an acoustic set on the Maine State Pier.
3. It’s Lobster Festival weekend! While you are engaging in mass slaughter and consumption of our delicious eight legged ocean-living friends — sorry, PETA — there’s lots of entertainment to be had while you’re there. Thursday night, bands including Chamberlain, the Mallett Brothers Band AND David Mallett, the Veayo Twins and the Amy Allen Band, as well as a Maine beer and wine tasting at Maine Lighthouse Museum. Friday, fun stuff includes the annual lobster recipe contest, the arrival of the beautiful Barque Eagle tall ship, and music from Daryle Singletery and Confederate Railroad and the Creatures. Saturday, there’s the parade, and there’s the Rock n’ Blues Fest, featuring such blues and r&b luminaries as Edgar Winter, Vanilla Fudge, Peter Rivera (formerly of Rare Earth), and Savoy Brown’s Kim Simmond. Sunday, there’s a road race and an afternoon of jazz and folk music. Good times all around. Admission to the festival is $8 Thursday through Saturday and free on Sunday.
4. Beer and music. They go together like INSERT COMBINATION OF THINGS THAT GO TOGETHER HERE. In Portland, Beer Camp comes to town — Sierra Nevada Beer Camp, that is. Touted as the biggest beer event in Maine’s history, Beer Camp is a celebration of Sierra Nevada’s opening of a second brewery in Asheville, North Carolina, and will bring together 119 craft brewers from all over the world to the Thompson’s Point development in Portland. There’s a free block party at 6 p.m. Thursday near Sebago Brewing in Portland, and then Friday from 5 to 10 the beer will flow freely. Admission is $65 for an amazing evening of beer. Then, on Saturday, the annual Dam Jam festival is set for 3 to 10 p.m. in the Oxford County town of Denmark. $15 gets you a full day of great music from the likes of Deerhoof, A Silver Mt. Zion, Sunset Hearts, Chamberlain, Butcher Boy, Akwaaba Ensemble and Oble Varnum. There’s beer from Baxter, mead from Maine Mead Works, taco trucks, popsicles, art, kid’s stuff and, if you’re into it, a bus from Portland to Denmark and back for only $10 more on top of your ticket. For info, visit the Dam Jam Facebook page.
5. … or perhaps your tastes run a little on the wilder side of things? This weekend brings the annual Redneck BLANK — formerly known as the Redneck Olympics, until the IOC threatened a lawsuit if they didn’t change it, because people will totally confuse mud wrestling and a pig roast in western Maine with the ACTUAL OLYMPICS. So what is it? Four days of Olympics-style events, including bobbing for pig’s feet, toilet ring horseshoe, a greased watermelon haul, a mud tug of war and much, much more. Music from the Mallett Brothers Band, Uncle Jack, Back in Black: The ACDC Experience, and again, much more. Thursday through Sunday at 12 Harold Lane in Hebron; $50 for the whole weekend includes camping, or $25 a day.