1. Three weekends in a row of picture perfect, sunshine-y summer weather is pretty good, so if we end up getting a bit of rain on Saturday, well, I guess I’m OK with that. Friday night is looking to stay mostly dry, however, so take advantage of it in Bangor, where the next River City Cinema outdoor movie is “Harold and Maude” at sundown in Pickering Square; later that night, there’s a triple bill of psychedelic music from Jeff Beam, Earth Person and Quantum at the Central Gallery, funk band Juicebox at Paddy Murphy’s, acoustic cover band Koostix at the Sea Dog, and jazz singer John Nowak at Nocturnem Drafthaus. On Saturday, country megastar Kenny Chesney plays the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, while in your local music venues, there’s metal and rock from Manic Abraxis, Give Way and Bad Island at the Central Gallery, the Rotating Taps at Paddy’s, Ryan Carney at the Sea Dog, and Dave Mello at Nocturnem. Up in Old Town, there’s jam band Groove Street at the Boomhouse, and in Winterport, the Eric Green Party plays the grand opening party for the brand-new restaurant and music venue Pub in the Port.
2. In Portland on Friday night, there are three great shows to choose from: indie rock from Beach Slang, Potty Mouth and the 1984 Draft at Port City Music Hall, country artist Lee Brice at the Maine State Pier, or an Adele tribute night at Empire. On Saturday, however, I have to admit, there’s a part of me that would enjoy the hell out of seeing Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato at the Cross Insurance Arena. Also on Saturday night, there’s Lotus Land, a Rush tribute band, at Port City; there’s Crystal Canyon, All Night and Fenimore at Empire, there’s Forget Forget and the Life Electric at Bayside Bowl, and there’s the Here Kitty Kitty burlesque show at Mayo Street Arts. On Sunday, at sundown enjoy your weekly free movie in Congress Square Park; this week it’s “Labyrinth.” Later that night, the legendary hip hop star Ms. Lauryn Hill is at the State Theatre, and there’s a huge comedy bill at Empire with Louis Ramey, Ian Stuart and many other Maine comics.
3. The Acadia region plays host to some fine weekend entertainment, beginning Friday, when songwriter Wesley Allen Hartley is at the Lompoc Cafe in Bar Harbor, and Celtic fiddler Gus LaCasse plays the weekly Ellsworth Waterfront Concert Series. On Saturday, songwriter Colby Nathan at the Lompoc, rockers Little Rodeo are at Coda in Southwest Harbor, and the heavy hitting Blast Addicts are at Chummies in Ellsworth. On Sunday, Amy and the Engine play on the Southwest Harbor Village Green. On the other side of Penobscot Bay, on Friday night in Rockland the By the Bay Jazz Trio plays at Rock City Coffee, while on Saturday, songwriter Emy Taylor is at Rock City, rockers Whoopy Kat are at the Myrtle Street Tavern, and roots rock legends the Cowboy Junkies perform at the Strand Theatre.
4. This weekend brings three festivals that celebrate some of the best of the arts in Maine. For starters, up in the beautiful Aroostook County town of New Sweden there’s the tenth edition of the Arootsakoostik Music Festival, set for 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Thomas Park, and featuring a huge list of Maine and New England indie rock and roots bands, including The Ghost of Paul Revere, Armies, Dominic and The Lucid, Mr. & Mrs. Garrett Soucy, Dark Hollow Bottling Company, Gunther Brown, Tricky Britches, Jeff Beam Music, Starcrossed Losers, Dan Blakeslee, Max García Conover, Sorcha Cribben-Merrill, Putnam Smith,Frank Hopkins, Wesley Allen Hartley, John Clavette, Brad Hutchinson and Travis Cyr. Also this weekend is the kickoff for the 17th annual Maine International Film Festival, starting Friday night for ten days, and featuring more than 30 fantastic films from all over the world; read my colleague Joel’s post about it here. Finally, One Longfellow Square in Portland hosts the first-ever Portland Comedy Festival, with six comedy showcases starting Friday night and running through Sunday.
5. If you’re looking for something highly family friendly to do with your younger ones this weekend, here are some fun suggestions. For starters, this weekend brings the annual Moxie Festival, set for Lisbon Falls beginning Friday night; expect food, fun, music, games, fireworks and, of course, plenty of Maine’s favorite soda treat. On Saturday, Orne’s Candy Store in Boothbay Harbor hosts its annual rock skipping contest, open to both youth and adults, with signups starting at 10 a.m. at the Footbridge Parking Lot. On both Saturday and Sunday there’s the annual Arts in the Park Festival at Steamboat Landing in Belfast, featuring dozens of Maine artisans, lots of tasty food and great music from Maine bands. And, for spectators, the Penobscot River National Whitewater Regatta started on Wednesday and goes through Sunday, and boasts canoe and kayak races all morning and afternoon at various locations between Old Town and Veazie; find a spot on the riverbank, bring a picnic and watch some tough paddlers navigate the waters! A full schedule of events can be found at the PRBWR website.