American Folk Festival Layout Gives Guests a Chance to Experience It All

Catherine Pegram

Updated 3 years ago

After 10 years, organizers have gotten pretty good at giving the American Folk Festival a lot of flow. Each year, the event is strategically laid out along the waterfront so visitors can maximize their folk festival experience.Organizers say they don’t want anyone to miss a beat.Setting up for the Folk Festival may seem routine. After all, organizers have been doing this for the last decade.But Assistant Technical Director Jack Kearns say every festival requires some fine tuning. “It changes every year. Not big changes but maybe rearranging a tent from one location to another, year to year.”Executive Director Heather McCarthy wants people to move as easily as possible through the event.”I think when people show up at the festival this year, they’re not going to see a lot of great changes as far as the site goes. Of course, we’ve got new things with the childrens’ village and the artists. But the stages are going to be where they remember them, the volunteers are going to be out in full force and the performances are going to be very high quality and diverse.”Once again, the music will flow from four stages along the waterfront. Organizers pared them down from six stages last year to save money and say it’s given festival goers a better chance to see more of the acts.Kearns says, “We do try to schedule all of the acts at all the stages at different times so the public and the people who work and have something else to do can catch the act they want to see somewhere.”The Two Rivers stage features smaller, often acoustical, groups. Down river at the Penobscot Stage, festival goers will find more theatrical performances.At the Dance Pavilion, it’s all music to move to.And the centerpiece of the festival is the Railroad Stage.”It’s the big party lawn!,” McCarthy says. “All sorts of music there, all sorts of opportunities. People can sit close up, they can move farther back, people can sit in the beer tent. Just lots of ways to experience what’s going on at the Railroad Stage.”The stage is borrowed from Waterfront Concerts, through a contract with the city that clears the concert schedule to make room for the American Folk Festival.Concert promoter Alex Gray says he’s glad the festival can take advantage of it.”We probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the AFF in the grand scheme of things. Reality of it is, a lot of the development on this site and the fact the city had the foresight to maintain a giant piece of acreage on this waterfront for somewhat public use, but events of this nature, is really an intelligent manner.”McCarthy says, overall, she hopes this year’s festival is a chance for everyone to celebrate 10 years of bringing a world of music to Bangor.”I hope all of our festival goers share in that accomplishment and that they feel the support they’ve given us every year up to now and this year has been a great investment in the arts and in Eastern Maine.”Parking will remain the same this year, despite construction on the new Bangor arena. A shuttle will continue to run from the main lot at Bass Park, though Dutton Street will be blocked off to drivers.


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