Get your groove on at one of these 10 summer weekend music festivals happening in Maine. We’ve gotcha covered, from rock to folk, bluegrass to blues, classical to out, and taking place in venues ranging from oceanfront to mountaintop, offshore island to city downtown.
The Saturday late afternoon concert featuring the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and guest artists caps two days of arts and entertainment that begins with an ArtWalk on Friday night and continues with an ArtsFestival, including displays and demonstrations on Saturday. The concert begins at 4:30and ends with fireworks
When: late June
Where: Kennedy Farm, Kingfield, Maine
Some of the nation’s top blues performers come to Rockland for this two-day harborfront festival. Expect great music complemented by the usual array of food, drink, and craft vendors. Complementing the day-long concerts are a Saturday night pub crawl, open to attendees and featuring music by top blues musicians, as well as bands performing on the street.
When: mid July,
Where: Public Landing, Rockland, Maine
Considered one of New England’s top family music festivals, this camping festival is just plain fun. Four days, four stages, 40 bands, including rock, jazz, bluegrass, Celtic, folk, as well as the New England Flatpickin’ Championship and the New England Songwriting Championship; whew! In addition, there are workshops for all ages, barn dances, jam sessions, fireside field picking and jamming, and a free children’s music program.
When: mid/late July
Where: Ossipee Valley Fairgrounds, South Hiram, Maine
Held every year since 1971, this family run festival lays claim to being the oldest music festival in Maine. It’s a low-key, inexpensive, family oriented day of great fiddle and bluegrass music from top Maine musicians. In addition to live concerts, there are a fiddler’s showcase, fiddle contests for adults and children, and field picking.
When: Always the last Sunday in July
Where: Littlefield Farm, East Benton
This young one-day event featuring internationally renowned performers promises to be one of the highlights of New England’s Celtic music calendar. May it grow and prosper!
Singers, songwriters, musicians, and other performers gather on Swans Island each year for this annual music fest that includes a bit of this and a touch of that, all flavored by the sea. Not the easiest to get to, unless you have a boat, but spill-over performances and dances happen on Vinalhaven and the mainland, too. As the festival’s site states: “The Sweet Chariot Music Festival: not for the faint of heart. Bring your boat, your voice, your moxie, your mojo.”
When: early August
Where: Swans Island, accessible via ferry from Bass Harbor, on Mount Desert Island (note: on-island lodging is very limited).
New England’s largest discovery and indie music festival; four days with art, films, and more than 65 bands; also camping and brew fest. Opening event is free.
Where: Bangor waterfront
The largest Out Music festival in Maine (and perhaps far beyond), Frantasia is an exploration in sound, music, movement, and visual arts. If you’re scratching your head on that, organizer Fran Szostak (Fran-tasia, get it?) describes Out Music as that which falls outside the boundaries of the usual genres. Drop any preconceived ideas of what a particular genre should be or how a specific instrument should sound, and be prepared for anything.
When: Usually third weekend in August.
Where: Livermore Falls area
This isn’t folk as in Peter, Paul, and Mary, but rather a celebration of the multicultural folk traditions found in America today. Performers share their music, dance, and storytelling traditions on four stages complemented by displays and demonstrations of traditional crafts, and much more.
When: late August
Where: Riverfront, downtown Bangor
Brought back by popular demand, this is one of the biggies on Maine’s extensive bluegrass festival scene. Expect top acts and a jam-packed weekend of bluegrass at this coastal Maine campground.