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‘Thursdays’ returning to Caribou next month with Main Street concert

CARIBOU, Maine — Caribou’s popular Thursdays on Sweden Street festival will mark its return next month after a year-long hiatus, although the first event of the summer will look a little different from previous festivals.On June 3 at 6 p.m., the city will hold a “Thursdays on Main Street” event at Northern Maine Brewing Company on 22 Main St. The festival will be concert-only with a few vendors, and Northern Maine Brewing Company will also provide a beer garden. 

According to Caribou Marketing and Events Coordinator Christina Kane-Gibson, the alternate location and format is set to ensure the city is adhering to state COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines. However, she said that with guidelines changing and the virus seemingly trending in a positive direction, the city will move the festival back to Sweden Street as soon as the Caribou Police Department, Caribou Fire and Ambulance Department, and state determine it is safe. 

“We want people to get out and have fun, but we also know that things are changing,” she said. “So by the end of summer we’ll all hopefully be back downtown, but we thought this would be a good environment where people can safely socially distance and enjoy a nice evening of listening to music, talking, and having fun in the meantime.”

And unlike before, where the city released the entire summer line-up beforehand, this year they will put information out a few weeks in advance of each event in the hopes that COVID-19 guidelines could change and allow the city to relocate.

Events are set for June 3 and 17, July 1, 15, and 29, and August 12 and 26. This year’s will not have an individual theme like in the past, however “Reunion Night,” in which former Caribou students get together for class reunions, is set for July 15.

With the June 3 event taking place behind the restaurant, there is a large enough outdoor space for guests to bring chairs and sit six feet apart while enjoying the show. On Sweden Street, however, this type of social distancing would not be possible. 

“Families or pods can stay together, and as long as the groups are spaced six feet apart, we could probably spread all the way out to the potato fields if we need to,” she said. 

The featured band, Barefoot Brotherhood, puts their own spin on the Jam Band genre popularized by acts like Phish and Grateful Dead.

“I love them,” said Kane-Gibson. “Their music has a really laid back atmosphere, so for me it’s perfect for a summer evening.”

Guests driving up to the site will be directed to a parking space, and will need to bring their own chairs to watch the concert. Guidelines will be similar to most restaurants, where masks can be taken off while stationary and then placed back on when moving around the space.

Looking ahead, she said she’s excited to finally be able to bring the event back after a year without any larger events in Caribou.

“One of the hardest parts of my year in 2020 was having to cancel Thursdays on Sweden,” she said. “None of us really knew what was happening at that time. I had most of my bands booked. I had vendors contacting me, and to have to call all those people back and to cancel with all the bands — that just wrecked me. I hated it.”

She said “Thursdays” and other gatherings play a big role in bolstering the city’s community spirit. 

“When you’re stuck in your house for an entire year and you don’t get to see your neighbors, or see kids running under the sprinkler, it takes something away. You may not think about it at the time, but it is. So being able to get back together and see our community members is an important part of Caribou. We’re known for our community spirit here, and I think it will help us get some of that back. It hasn’t been lost, and it’s not gone, it’s just been on hold,” she said.

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