Summer solstice Saturday
Summer finally arrives Saturday, June 21, and after a particularly long and brutal winter and late spring, the Midcoast is more than ready to embrace it. Local observations of the summer solstice are scheduled for before sunrise to well after dark.
Ambient music group Algorithm’s second annual, two-part "The Sun Stands Still" performance starts a couple of hours before the arrival of the season; almost two dozen brave souls showed up in the dark for last year’s inaugural production and Algorithm’s composer and keyboardist Tom Luther of Union is hopeful even more will flashlight their way to Belfast’s Heritage Park at 4 a.m. The group will end the day with a more conventionally scheduled, and indoors, concert; see the story link below.
Rockland’s downtown Summer Solstice Celebration has been a tradition a lot longer; this year’s evening street fair is the 16th annual, hosted as always by Main Street, Inc., the downtown businesses group. Main Street is closed to vehicular traffic between Park and Summer streets a bit before and after the 4 to 8 p.m. event and generally fills right up with local families and friends, as well as the first wave of tourists.
In addition to sidewalk sales, food vendors — including restaurants taking it to the streets — the Whoopie Pie Eating Contest and children’s activities, there is live music and dancing. The bands are brought in by Paul Benjamin, co-founder and –producer of July’s North Atlantic Blues Festival, who is mixing it up a little this year, location and artist-wise.
Juke Rockets is a perennial performer and the Belfast-based band will be in its usual foot-of-Limerock Street spot, churning out bluesy rock and rocky blues. In front of Key Bank, the alternative funk/rock duo of Vicky Andres and Max McFarland will deliver the intensely energetic music they have been performing in the area under the name Much More Than Noise; Andres is an award-winning guitarist singer/songwriter and McFarland’s way with his custom-made 11-string bass makes for a one-man rhythm section.
Also new to the Summer Solstice Celebration, though not to Rockland — she was in the June 10 talent show at the Strand Theatre — is singer/songwriter Katie Paquin, who was been recording since she was 16. Paquin will be playing guitar and singing her original songs at the foot of Museum Street, between the Farnsworth and Harbor Square Gallery. That location is usually where one finds the little big band Bay Winds North, but Benjamin is moving the Marlene Hall-directed ensemble, and its smaller Breakwater Jazz component, to the new Ferry Terminal Park.
“It’s a bigger area and they have a lot of musicians, so I think it will be a great spot for them,” he said.
Since last year, the Summer Solstice Celebration has started earlier and concluded just before sunset. For those who want to keep dancing, the annual Waldoboro Day festivities wrap up with a street dance right down in the village; see the story link below.
It’s worth making the most of this day, as the minutes of daylight will start slowly slipping away again next week. The Finns and Swedes who helped settle this area know a little about that and another Saturday night option, Midsummer at the Museum in Thomaston, taps into that tradition; see the story link below.