The Weekender, Dec. 29-31: See the year out with a (frigid) bang!


That’s all, folks. Of course 2017 — a year of wild extremes, from the truly bizarre to the terrifying to the wonderful — would close out with temperatures so cold it’s physically painful to be outside. How will you see your year out? If you want to brave the elements, well, here’s what’s up in the Bangor area this weekend. Leading up to New Year’s Eve, on Friday night the Billings Brew Band is at Paddy Murphy’s, Stesha Cano is at Nocturnem, and Driven is at the Sea Dog, and on Saturday, the Junkyard Cats are at Paddy’s and Yeahman is at Nocturnem.

Sunday is the big day, with Bangor’s tenth annual Downtown Countdown kicking off with the Epic Finale 5K (registration 9 a.m., race 10, West Market Square). There’s children’s activities at the Maine Discovery Museum and a photo booth at the Charles Inn, all afternoon. In the evening, there’s the family-friendly party at the Bangor Public Library, 5 to 7 p.m.; two performances of the r&b cabaret show “I’m Your Diva Tonight,” 6 and 9 p.m. at the Bangor Opera House; the Tough End String Band at 7 and 9:30 p.m. at The Rock & Art Shop; the Beautiful Ones (a Prince tribute band) at 8 p.m. at the Bangor Arts Exchange; Story Slams at 9 and 10:30 p.m. at Fork & Spoon and then West Market Square Coffeehouse; and food from the YumBus, a dance party and fire spinners in West Market Square from 9 p.m. to midnight, in and around the heated tent. Everything but the shows at the Bangor Arts Exchange and the Bangor Opera House are free! In the bars, you can check out either Twograss at Paddy’s, the Rotating Taps at Nocturnem, Stesha Cano at Happy Endings, DJ 2Phat at Blaze, or enjoy the ice bar at Evenroods. At midnight, you can watch the “ball drop” from the roof of Paddy Murphy’s. A full schedule can be found on Facebook. Bundle up, you crazy kids!

Elsewhere in Maine, Belfast also hosts a delightful yearly NYE celebration, with the 21st annual New Year’s By the Bay once again set for 12 different venues across town. The list of activities is too long to print in full here, but entertainment ranges from a dance party with live bands all night at the Boathouse; poetry readings, magicians and music from the Leaky Boot Jug Band at the Crosby Center; a community roast pork or veggie lasagna dinner and an array of bluegrass, Celtic and acoustic music at the First Church UCC; jazz and Balkan folk music at the Belfast Co-op, and the annual Drum & Rabble Corp community parade down Main Street, towards the midnight bonfire on the Waterfront. An admission button to all events is $20 for adults or $5 for youth, and can be purchased at the Belfast Co-op or the Parent Gallery. A full schedule can be found online at

There are a few fun events happening in Portland as well on New Year’s Eve, starting with the annual Polar Bear Dip, which this year promises to be an extra chilly affair, set for 11 a.m. at the East End Beach. Musically speaking, there’s most notably two nights of Maine favorites the Ghost of Paul Revere, Saturday and Sunday at Port City Music Hall, with an array of Maine bands supporting them. At the State Theatre on Sunday, Kenya Hall’s annual Stevie Wonder Tribute Night is set for 8 p.m., while the Maine Dead Project is at Portland House of Music, there’s a Cuban dance party with Primo Cubano at One Longfellow Square, Five of the Eyes, El Malo and Geph are at Geno’s, and the Space Gallery’s annual NYE party provides an epic DJ night for the hipster masses.

From all of us at the BDN, please, enjoy your New Year’s weekend, and for pete’s sake — stay warm!

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.