Eight great Maine summer music festivals

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Get your groove on at one of these eight summer 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.

• Kingfield POPS!

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

• North Atlantic Blues Festival

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

• Ossipee Valley Music Festival

Ossipee Valley Music Festival, courtesy photoConsidered 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

• East Benton Fiddlers Festival and Contest

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

When: early August

Where: Swans Island, accessible via ferry from Bass Harbor, on Mount Desert Island (note: on-island lodging is very limited).

Blistered Fingers Bluegrass Festival

One of New England’s largest family musical events; four days, featuring local and national bands. Accommodations for all camping modes .

When: Twice—mid June and mid-late August

Where: Litchfield Fairgrounds, Litchfield

• Frantasia

Fantasia Festival celebrates music outside the boundaries and it happens in Maine.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

• American Folk Festival

The American Folk Festival celebrates the nation's multicultural traditions and takes place on the waterfront in downtown Bangor, Maine.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

• Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Special

The Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Special returns after a brief hiatus due to popular demand. It again takes place at the oceanfront Thomas Point Beach campground. 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.

When: Labor Day Weekend

Where: Thomas Point Beach, Brunswick, Maine