1. What have you discovered so far this summer that you really love? A new beach? A new restaurant? What’s the best new-to-you thing you’ve done? I haven’t had time to do half the things I’ve wanted to, so lay it on me. This Friday in the Bangor area, the Focus Group brings the improv comedy to the stage of the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer, it’s the grand opening of Blank Canvas Brewing also in Brewer, and in Pickering Square in downtown Bangor River City Cinema screen “That Thing You Do.” Later that night, the Blast Addicts at at Paddy Murphy’s, the Michael Jacobs Group is at Nocturnem Drafthaus and rockers Fools Rule are at the Downunder Lounge at Seasons. On Saturday, at 7 p.m.the Central Gallery first hosts a musical and literary performance event with Benjamin Hersey and IDM Theftable, followed at 9 p.m. by a free screening of “Jaws” in the Pocket Park in Central Street. Later that night, Steve DeVito and John Wixson are at Paddy’s, songwriter Travis Cyr is at Nocturnem, rockers the 220s are at the Boomhouse up in Old Town, and country duo North of Nashville is at 4Points in Winterport.
2. This Friday there’s several great shows in Portland, starting with a triple bill of blues and soul starting at 5 p.m. with the Tedeschi Trucks Band (pictured), Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and Doyle Bramhall on the Maine State Pier. There’s also the record release party for Worried Well’s new album with guests Tan Vampires at Empire, there’s Black Cat Road, Flipsides, Society Inc at Bayside Bowl, there’s songwriter Lloyd Cole at One Longfellow Square, and there’s Vinyl Instinct at Portland HOME. On Saturday, Thompson’s Point hosts the second annual Maine Brewer’s Guild Beer Festival, featuring a dizzying array of Maine breweries from 1 to 5 p.m.; admission is $45. Later that night, Empire hosts a local Tribute 2 the Spice Girls (yes, that’s right), there’s the enchanting Angel Olson and Nathan Bowles at Port City Music Hall, there’s guitar noir band Big Lazy at Bayside Bowl, local favorite Adam Ezra at One Longfellow Square, and a rock show with 10 Years, Nonpoint and the Family Ruin at Asylum. On Sunday, there’s a rooftop barbecue at Mathew’s Pub from 5 p.m. to close, featuring tons of local bands including El Malo, the Crackhead Mikes, the Vista Cruisers and many more. There’s also Motion City Soundtrack, the Spill Canvas and Sorority Noise at Port City, and the man, the myth, the legend, Weird Al Yankovic on the Maine State Pier.
3. There’s lots to look forward to in the Mt. Desert Island/Ellsworth region, in addition to all the gorgeous scenery and great restaurants. On Friday night, the Allison Ames Band plays a free concert on the Ellsworth Riverfront, while in Bar Harbor, songwriter Travis Cyr (pictured) plays at the Lompoc Cafe. On Saturday, from noon to 3 p.m. WERU-FM in Orland hosts an open house, featuring a vinyl record sale, food and live music from the Trad Gang, Goldenoak and People of Earth. Later that night, there’s a contradance at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, and the band Harvey Eyeballs at the Lompoc. Across the bay on the Midcoast, on Friday night there’s Raised by Wolves at the Speakeasy in Rockland, while on Saturday the Speakeasy hosts Two Dollar Pistol, and in Waldoboro, there’s the annual Locavore Food, Music and Arts Festival at Cider Hill Farm, featuring music from Jacob Augustine, Kenya Hall, Lauren Crosby and the Work Trucks. On Sunday, at 6 p.m. Waterfall Arts in Belfast hosts the wonderful Roochie Toochie and the Ragtime Shepherd Kings.
4. Sunday is Open Farm Day across the state, with a dizzying array of farms open to the public, for animal petting and viewing, demonstrations, delicious food, tours, workshops, musical performances and much, much more. Pick raspberries at Berry Hill Farm in Litchfield. Make ice cream at Smiling Hill Farm in Westbrook. Take the kids for a pony ride at Featherfoot Farm in Aurora. Eat delicious brick oven pizza at Fire Fly Farm in St. Albans. Walk the trails at Erickson Fields Preserve in Rockport. Get up close and personal with a water buffalo at ME Water Buffalo Company in Appleton. There are countless things to choose from. For a full listing, visit Get Real Maine’s website.
5. Finally, this weekend marks the annual Penobscot River Whitewater Nationals Regatta, a great gathering of canoe and kayak paddlers hosted by the Penobscot Nation in the Bangor area. Though the fun began earlier this week, there’s events all weekend, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m on Friday in places like the Binette Park in Old Town, the Eddington Salmon Club and the Orono Boat Launch on the Stillwater River, and at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at all those places plus others. There’s also a Wabanaki history talk at 2 p.m. Friday at Binette Park in Old Town, and a performance by the Burnurwurskek Singers at 6 p.m. Saturday, also in Old Town. It’s a beautiful mix of centuries-old Native tradition and contemporary water sports. For information, visit http://penobscotriverwhitewaternationalsregatta.com.