1. It’s American Folk Festival weekend here in beautiful Bangor, Maine. You know what that means — music, people, beer and chicken on a stick. CHICKEN ON A STICK, PEOPLE. The fun starts at 6:30 p.m. near the Sea Dog Brewing Company, and the first music of the night is rockabilly guitar master Bill Kirchen on the Railroad Stage at 7:30 p.m. Music goes from noon until 10:15 p.m. Saturday and from noon until 6 p.m. Sunday.
2. Elsewhere in Bangor, after the kids go to bed and the adults want to play, there’s fun to be had Friday night, starting with local boys One Shot Nothing at The Big Easy, while at Nocturnem Drafthaus there’s jazz-rock fusion band High Variance, there’s singer-songwriter Chris Ross at Paddy Murphy’s, and at Tantrum, there’s progressive folk band Nevah on the deck at 6 p.m., and later that night, there’s a DJ night with Proper Villains, Danny Wompz, Skylyne and Bad Habit; there’s also the Ghost of Paul Revere (pictured) at 4Points BBQ & Blues in Winterport that night as well. Saturday, enjoy either Koostix at Paddy’s, Jon Nowak at Nocturnem, the Juke Rockets Blues Band at the Big Easy or funksters Juicebox at Ipanema.
3. In Portland, Friday night brings a real mixed bag of concerts — there’s funk action with Model Airplane and the Nat Osborn Band at Port City Music Hall, there’s Phish cover band Pardon Me Doug at Empire, there’s Celtic rockers Gaelic Storm at the Asylum, and there’s singer-songwriter Roberto Morbioli at One Longfellow Square. Saturday brings possibly the most epic weekend of music Portland has seen all summer. For starters, the annual Picnic Music and Arts Festival brings arts, crafts, funky stuff and great music to Lincoln Park, with performances from The English Muffins, Service, Tall Horse, Hyena, Fur, The Box Tiger, Babe, Boyfriends and Sunrunner, all running between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. That night, check out a great bill of rock with Aloud (pictured above), Dustin Saucier and the Sad Bastards and First In Maths at Empire, an epic ska show with Bim Skala Bim, El Grande, Kind Hammond, the Beat Horizon and Roots Rhythm & Dub at Port City, blues legend Taj Mahal at the Asylum, Keelan Donovan at One Longfellow, the Flipsides, the Electrolux Combo, Electric Mess and the Muck and the Mires at Bayside Bowl, the return of New York Soul Clap with DJ Jonathan Toubin at Space Gallery, and out at the Oak and the Ax in Biddeford, enjoy Greg Hartunian, Follies, Ivan Ooze and Nothing Master. Oh, and Alanis Morrissette on the Maine State Pier. PHEW!
4. What about the Midcoast? Well, it’s important to note that on Saturday the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland hosts the Internet Cat Video Film Festival, an evening of all things cats that concludes with a 70-minute reel of the best cat videos ever. On Friday in Rockland, the 220s rock the Speakeasy and songwriter Devi Randolph is at Rock City Coffee, On Saturday, the Water Dog Tavern in Thomaston hosts Pete Witham and the Cozmik Zombies, Rock City Coffee hosts those charming lads in Nukulele, and rockers Tilden Katz are set for the Myrtle Street Tavern.
5. Or, take a break from cat videos and folk festivals and enjoy the scenic beauty of the Crown of Maine Balloon Festival, set for the whole weekend in Presque Isle. Balloons will fly all day and night, with some tethered rides available at 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday for $10 adults/$5 kids. There’s also music, a craft sale, a free screening of the movie “Up,” of course, at 8:30 p.m., and a 5k at 10 a.m. Sunday. For more info, visit the Crown of Maine website.