1. Now this — this is a beautiful fall weekend. In Bang Town this Friday, the Blast Addicts (pictured) return to rock Paddy Murphy’s, while Nocturnem Drafthaus plays host to local jazz ensemble the Swingin’ Blue Matadors. At Tantrum the monthly country throwdown throws it down, with guest Chris Ross, and up in Orono, Stream Reggae brings it at Woodman’s. On Saturday, rockers One Shot Nothing are set for Ipanema, while the Aurora Jazz Project is at Nocturnem, the always entertaining Tomorrow Morning plays at Paddy’s, singer-songwriter Morgan Donnelly is at the Big Easy — and across the bay, there’s a tribute to the Carpenters set for the Brewer Auditorium, featuring singer Karen Pancoast; tickets are $20 and the show is at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, the Cross Insurance Center hosts country star Brantley Gilbert with guest Aaron Lewis at 7:30 p.m.
2. It’s a bittersweet but wonderful weekend to be in Biddeford, as the annual Biddeford River Jam takes place all weekend, as does Oak and the Ax Fest — a festival celebrating the venue of the same name in Biddo, which after this weekend will close its doors. There’s a ton of great sounds to be heard all three days, starting Friday with the Low Anthem, Phantom Buffalo and the Happy Jawbone Family Band at O&A, and an art walk around town. Saturday, O&A artists include Vockah Redu, Tim Fite, Video Nasties, Afraid and many others, while the main stage at the River Jam features Kingsley Flood, the What Cheer? Brigade, Samuel James, Amy & the Engine, the Band Apollo and Lady Lamb the Beekeeper (pictured above). Sunday, wrap it up at O&A with bands from 1:30 until midnight, including LAKE, ShaShaSha, Butcher Boy, Arborea and many more. Elsewhere in Portland, on Friday at Empire there’s the Penthouse dance party, there’s Joe Gallant and Theodore Treehouse at Slab, and songwriter Geoff Muldaur at One Longfellow Square. On Saturday, there’s a rock show not to be missed at Port City Music Hall, featuring the Black Lips, King Khan & BBQ Show, and Maine’s own Coke Weed; there’s Phantom Buffalo and Foam Castles at Empire; folk legend John Hammond is at One Longfellow, and there’s Texarkana, Nuclear Bootz, Pastel Sound Explosion at Chakra at Geno’s. Sunday, wrap it up with either Tweedy — Jeff Tweedy and son Spencer — at the State Theatre, or songwriter Lori McKenna at One Longfellow.
3. Well, it’s Camden International Film Festival weekend in Camden and Rockland all weekend, so of course there’s loads of great films, fun parties and interesting people in town — check out my story from last week to find out more about what’s going on. In the evening on Friday in Rockland, enjoy either Three Button Deluxe at the Speakeasy or Celtic band the Press Gang at Rock City Coffee, while on Saturday, choose between the 220s at the Myrtle Street Tavern, the Kennebunk River Band at Rock City Coffee, or in Thomaston, enjoy Celtic rockers St. Huckleberry at the Water Dog Tavern. Wrap it up on Sunday with Our Town Belfast’s Inspire-a-thon, a full afternoon of music, theater, dance, mimes, burlesque, poetry and much more, set for 12:30 to 4:3 at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast; donations will be accepted to benefit the Belfast Creative Coalition.
4. It’s the autumn edition of Great Maine Outdoor Weekend, and boy, did we luck out — temperatures in the upper 70s and not a cloud in the sky! It’s not possible — well, it’s possible, but it would take forever — to list every event here. So here are a few highlights that also happen to be FREE. For instance, you can rent bikes for FREE at Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and pedal their lovely grounds; a family-friendly five-hour waterfall hike through Baxter State Park, meeting at 7:45 a.m. Saturday at the Togue Pond Gate, RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org; a paddle and hike through Hirundo Preserve in Alton, starting at 9 a.m. Saturday at Gate 3; an anytime dog walk through Great Salt Bay Farm in Damariscotta from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and a mushroom walk and talk with mycologist David Porter from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at Greenbie Natural Area in Castine, register by calling 374-5118. For a full list of GMOW events, visit greatmaineoutdoorweekend.org. Or, watch the video below.
5. The best fair in the state — at least, the most traditional and biggest of its size and most generally enjoyable — has got to be the Fryeburg Fair, which kicks off this Sunday in beautiful Fryeburg in western Maine, which should already be seeing some nice fall foliage. Sheepdog trials, horse, ox and tractor pulls, tons of animals, rides, sausages, turkey legs, doughboys, maple syrup everything, lots of Maine specialty foods, more rides, more people watching. Country living done right. Gates open at 10 a.m. Sunday and run for one full week. Enjoy!