PRESQUE ISLE, Maine– The Northern Maine Music Festival is cerebrating its third year at the Northern Maine Fair. The festival is a showcase of the wide range of music available in Northern Maine and adjacent areas. This year the festival will be cover all evenings of the fair, plus a variety of daytime music.
The festival is the brainchild of Kevin McCartney, who organized old-time music events for many years in the Historical Pavilion.
“I always thought that there was a need for a true music festival in northern Maine” said McCartney, “but the organization and cost for making such an event happen seemed insurmountable.”
Such an event would require parking and gate attendants, stage, sound, insurance and many other things. But when the Northern Maine Fair asked for ideas to improve entertainment, it occurred to McCartney that the fair has all the needed infrastructure already in place.
The Music Festival and the Northern Maine Fair are the perfect match. The goal is to eventually build one of Maine’s significant music festivals here in the County.
“We are not there yet,” said McCartney, “but we have a decent beginning.”
The philosophy of the Northern Maine Music Festival is to have a different genre of music every night. Northern Maine has a tremendous number of talented musicians, many of whom need exposure and experience in a festival environment.
Each night has a chairperson who organizes a program for the evening. There are some veteran chairs from previous years and some new events and organizers this year. Chairs Tim Hobbs (Gospel Night) and Tim Guilotti (Bluegrass) are in their third years as chairs for their events and have produced tremendous programs. New events include St. John Valley Night (chaired by Diane Nadeau-Saucier) and Blues Night (Al Morris). Just prior to Blues Night on the last day of the fair, Pat Bragdon and his students will provide music from a jazz brass band.
Last year’s program included a Rock and Roll Night (chaired by Marcus Barresi) that did both classic and contemporary music, but it was found that this involved two separate audiences, so this year there will be a Classic Rock (Barresi and Steve Quist) and Blues-Rock (Heath Bartley) Night. There will also be the Teen Rock Night on the second Friday of the fair, this year organized by Jerry Hole.
The Folk-Traditional Night (chaired by Aimee Wilkins and Kate McCartney) will this year include contra and Swedish folk participatory dancing. Both dancing groups are in development, and anyone interested in learning something about one or the other is encouraged to attend. Music will be provided by Dave Putnam and the Swedish Meatballs.
“Fiddle Night this year will be the Wednesday, when we will host the Wednesday Night Fiddlers, who do their weekly jam in Perth-Andover. Country Night will be the first night of the fair, with new Chair Warner Archer. Archer and friends will also be playing during the intermissions between demolition derby heats on Saturday evening,” explained McCartney.
In addition to the evening programs in the Music Hall of the old Commercial Building, there will be additional daytime programs in the Music Hall and nighttime programs in front of the grandstand and elsewhere. The grandstand events will include Rock Candy on Wednesday and the Fireman Fred Show on Tuesday.
A special event this year is the first-ever St. John Valley Day, to be held Sunday, July 29, at the Northern Maine Fair. The fair is very excited to host a special performance of les Chateau Acadien at 5:30 p.m. prior to the evening St. John Valley Night. Also from the northern portions of the County, French Toast will be performing near the grandstands on the last evening of the fair.
Playing before les Chateau Acadien will be Dusty’s Old Time Jamboree, from Mapleton, which will make for a full afternoon and evening of music that Sunday.
And of course, karaoke with Fireman Fred from 2-4:30 p.m. on both Saturdays, including the Karaoke Contest on August 4.
Sponsors for this year’s Northern Maine Music Festival include The Caribou and Presque Inns and Convention Centers, John T. Noble Construction, County Federal Credit Union, Northeast Packaging, Gallagher Insurance, Summit Title Co., Key Bank, Old Iron Inn B&B, Alpha One, Highway Tire, Crown Travel / Key Realty, Governor’s Restaurant, Mavosh Atoufi, Tompkins Optometry, Aroostook Centre Mall, Aroostook Music Company, among others.
Schedule of Music Events at the Northern Maine Fair and Music Festival:
Friday, July 27
7 p.m. Country Night
Saturday, July 28
2 p.m. Karaoke with Fireman Fred
afternoon during demolition derby, Warner Archer and Friends (grandstand)
7 p.m. Blues-Rock Night
Sunday, July 29 – St. John Valley Day
2-4:30 p.m., Dusty’s Old Time Jamboree
5:30-6:30 p.m. les Chanteur Acadien
7 p.m., St. John Valley Night
Monday, July 30
7 p.m. Folk/Traditional Music and Dance
Tuesday, July 31
7 p.m. Gospel Night
7 p.m. Fireman Fred Show (grandstands)
9 p.m. Fireman Fred Show (grandstands)
Wednesday, August 1
7 p.m. Fiddle Night
7:30 p.m. Rock Candy (grandstand)
Thursday, August 2
7 p.m. Bluegrass Night
Friday, August 3
7 p.m. Classic Rock Night
8 p.m. Battle of the Bands – Teen Rock Night (Forum)
Saturday, August 4
2 p.m. Karaoke with Fireman Fred
5 p.m. Jazz Band
7 p.m. Blues Night
8:30 p.m. (after truck pulls), French Toast (grandstand)