American Folk Festival announces first five artists for 2017 festival, set for Aug. 25-27

BDN file photo

Organizers of the American Folk Festival announced on Thursday morning the first five artists set to perform at this year’s event on the Bangor Waterfront, set for Aug. 25-27.

Executive director Heather McCarthy and AFF board chairman Richard Fournier were joined at an event held at the Parkside Children’s Learning Center by Bangor city council chair Joe Baldacci. The three unveiled the five artists, and highlighted the festival’s history in the city, and as a family-friendly late summer destination. Children at Parkside receive music education regularly,

Children at Parkside receive music education regularly, and Parkside staff believes support of music in the community is a vital part of ensuring music education remains a part of the curriculum in schools.

“Music in the community helps people get excited about music in the schools,” said Jennifer Rice Montgomery, education director at Parkside.

McCarthy and Fournier also noted that the fourth annual Color Bangor fun run is set for 9 a.m. Saturday, May 13 on the Bangor Waterfront, in which participants get pelted with color cornstarch as they run or walk a course along the river. Pre-registration fees are $50 for adults and $25 for kids, and all proceeds benefit the AFF, so that it can continue to be a fee-free event. Registration can be done online at

The initial artists announced were:

  • Selwyn Birchwood, a 32-year-old blues guitar phenom, who was named the 2013 Albert King Guitarist of the Year by the International Blues Challenge. He has released four albums, including 2014’s “Don’t Call No Ambulance” and “Pick Your Poison,” due out on May 19, both released by leading blues record label Alligator Records.
  • Cora Harvey Armstrong, a Virginia-based gospel singer, who will be joined by her singing sisters for this year’s AFF.
  • CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band, one of the most popular touring zydeco bands in the country. Chenier played accordion on Paul Simon’s “Rhythm of the Saints,” and has appeared on TV numerous times.
  • Las Cafeteras, a Los Angeles-based band that combines Mexican folk music, hip hop, cumbia and rock into a “uniquely Angeleno mishmash,” as said by the Los Angeles Times.
  • Les Poules a Colin, a Quebecois group blending traditional Quebecois sounds with jazz, pop and bluegrass.
Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, UMaine graduate, proud Bangorian and a writer for the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food to all the cool things going on in the Greater Bangor area. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra. She's interested in everything that happens in Maine.