1. Well, we’ve made it. It’s Labor Day weekend. Doesn’t seem possible. It also happens to be the first Friday of the month, which means there are First Friday Art Walks all over the state, including right here in Bangor, from 5 to 9 p.m. Also in town that night, there’s music from Bandwich at Paddy Murphy’s, the Bill Barnes Jazz Trio at Nocturnem, and rockers Whiskey Sour at the Sea Dog. On Saturday, in Brewer, Mason’s Brewing Company hosts a full day of cornhole tournaments, a pig roast and music from Yesterday’s Men, People of Earth and Fan Jones, starting at 4 p.m. Later that night, Stesha Cano is at Paddy’s, Lee Stetson is at Nocturnem, the Altar Boys play at the Sea Dog, and at the Downunder Club at Seasons, there’s a benefit for suicide prevention featuring hip hop and electronic acts including Balistex, Paul Wolfe, Shang-High, Ian Matthew, Angel Ideal, and Shweez.
2. Why, it’s also First Friday Art Walk time in Portland, of course, with lots to see and do around town. Later that night, there’s Wild Adriatic and the McLovins at Port City Music Hall, rockers Dreadnaught at Portland House of Music, stand up comedy at Empire with Mel Harris, Omar Scruggs and Jamil B, followed by Throwback Night with DJ KTF, bluesman Poppa Chubby at One Longfellow Square, and Fat Knuckle Freddy at Slab. On Saturday, there’s reggae with Yellowman and others at Aura, the Early Mornings, Jacob McCurdy and Xander Nelson at Empire, Acadia, Dreamer and Son, Mirth and the Hours North at Bayside Bowl, a record release show for Builder of the House with guest Pretty Sad at One Longfellow, and Bangor area rockers Wyld Lyfe at Slab. And don’t forget — Mayo Street Arts sponsors the legendary Bread and Puppet Circus, performing at 5:30 p.m. at Fort Allen Park on the Eastern Prom. On Sunday, Scotty McCreery and Joe Gallant perform at Aura, and at Geno’s, there’s some heavy indie rock with Kayo Dot, BASK, Koroyov and MoMe.
3. On the Midcoast, it’s once again time for Belfast’s Friday Contradance, set for 8 p.m. at the American Legion; in Rockland, songwriter Tom Albury is at Rock City Coffee, and there’s a 90s dance party at Trackside Station. On Saturday, blues band the Eric Green Party is at Thresher’s Brewing in Searsmont, folk legend Peter Yarrow performs at the Camden Opera House, and Chris Hight and Annette Rundall play at Rock City Coffee.
4. So, what festivals do we have to enjoy this weekend? We’ve got to cram them all in before it starts to get a bit too chilly for outdoors fun. Labor Day weekend always brings the Camden Windjammer Festival, with those big, beautiful boats arriving Friday afternoon, followed by activities through Sunday including a talent show, lobster crate race, fish toss, dog show, a pirate invasion by the Dark Rose and much more; a full schedule can be found online. On the other side of the state, the 30th annual Eastport Salmon Festival is set for Saturday and Sunday, with food, music, kid’s activities, a beer fest and the famous salmon dinner. For those more beer-inclined, the Skowhegan Craft Brew Festival is set for Saturday, with 26 breweries, wineries and cider makers offering their delicious libations from 3 to 7 p.m.; tickets are available online and at the gate.
5. It’s also peak country fair season, and there are two great ones this week: the Windsor Fair, one of the largest agricultural fairs in the state, takes place this week through Monday, and the beloved Blue Hill Fair also happens this week at the Blue Hill Fairgrounds. Animals, rides, fair food, music. It’s good to be in Maine.