1. There are all kinds of big events happening this weekend, which seems to be the first real spring weekend of the year — temps in the 50s and 60s, sunshine and light breezes, and many, many lovely springtime events, from the time you’re out of work on Friday to the time you go to bed Sunday. We’ll get to some of those in a minute. First off: nightlife. In the Bangor area on Friday night, take your pick in the earlier evening of either improv comedy with The Focus Group at 8 p.m. at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer, or the monthly Contradance at 8 p.m. at the UU Church on Park Street in Bangor. Later in the evening, enjoy indie rock with Push/Shove, Jargon Party, Dustin Saucier and Livid Orange at the Central Gallery, rockers Circus at Paddy Murphy’s, the Doughty Hill Band at Nocturnem Drafthaus, funk band Juicebox at Woodman’s in Orono, or Maine favorites and road warriors the Mallett Brothers Band at the Boomhouse in Old Town. On Saturday night, take your pick of either Tomorrow Morning at Paddy’s, Three Button Deluxe at Nocturnem, bluegrass/folk ensemble Nevah plays their Cabin Fever Reliever show at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer, Boston-via-Bangor rockers When Particles Collide (pictured above) at Black Bear Brewing in Orono, or Fish Jug at the Boomhouse.
2. In Portland this weekend, there’s a great local musical event Friday night at Port City Music Hall, which brings together roots ensemble the Ballroom Thieves with the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra and the DuPont Brothers; there’s also Melissa Ferrick at One Longfellow Square, Ghosts of Jupiter, These Wild Plains and Sarah Blacker at Empire, and Phish cover band Pardon Me Doug at Portland HOME. Also, there’s Kitty Critic Live — a very special show at the Space Gallery, with performances from all the featured artists from the web series that showcases Maine bands and artists performing for an audience of one (cat). On Saturday, there’s Poundhouse Live comedy with DJ Doggpound, Brent Weinbach and Ian Stuart at Empire, there’s r&b band Mama’s Boomshack at Portland HOME, there’s legendary folksinger Michael Hurley with Chris Weisman at Space Gallery, and there’s Waldo County rockers Skyfoot at One Longfellow Square. On Sunday, songwriters Keelen Donovan and Jenna Lotti perform at St. Lawrence Arts.
3. On the Midcoast, Friday brings the kickoff party for Veggie For All, a Waldo County local food initiative, set for 7 p.m. at the Unity Food Hub featuring songwriters William Joseph Jordan and Henry Finch; there’s also Ale House String Band at Rock City Coffee in Rockland, and roots band Roosevelt Dime at the Speakeasy, also in Rockland. On Saturday, rockers Raised By Wolves are set for the Speakeasy.
4. OK! Bangor is the place to be this weekend. First off, there’s the 50th annual Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race, which takes off at 8 p.m. in Kenduskeag, and the first paddlers begin arriving in downtown Bangor around 10 a.m.; get to your spot along the Kenduskeag Trail early so you can see everybody coming down the stream. Also this weekend — Friday through Sunday, to be exact — is the BDN Maine Garden Show, a three day celebration of flowers, green, home, nature and Maine set for the Cross Insurance Center on all three days; it’s $8 to get in and free for kids under 12. Finally, Saturday is Record Store Day, the annual international celebration of record stores, physical media and music, music music; the Bangor Bull Moose and stores all over the state have special deals and more. I wrote a blog post on Tuesday, so look there for more info.
5. Finally, this weekend also brings Reggae Fest, which technically kicks off on Thursday and runs through Sunday at Sugarloaf. This will likely be your last chance to ski this year — there’s still a teensy bit of snow left, though temperatures will be historically balmy up on the mountain. Bands featured this year includes Ballyhoo, Renegade Sound System, New Kingston, Gorilla Finger Dub, Kiwi and the Cliftones. For more information on tickets and times, visit sugarloaf.com.