The inaugural Belfast Free Range Music Festival will offer live tunes by 25 bands and solo artists at six downtown venues, all within walking distance, Saturday, April 24. The musicians are a mix of locals plus state, regional and national performers.

All-access passes are $20; general passes are $12 in advance and will be $15 festival day. Passes are on sale online at; and at Wild Rufus, The Green Store and Roots & Tendrils, all downtown.

Most of the festival schedule is offset just enough that one conceivably could take in some of most every set, which run 45 minutes to an hour each. With this much variety and genre flexing, however, music lovers may want to sit back and enjoy — or get up and boogie. The venues are: Roots & Tendrils, 2 Cross St.; Colonial Theatre, 163 High St.; Waterfall Arts, 256 High St.; Åarhus Gallery, 50 Main St; Belfast Free Library, 106 High St.; and the American Legion Hall, 143 High St. Seating is limited, more some places than others.

Schedule of performers and shows

10:30 a.m.: Shana Barry will bring her Fofer Show to the Colonial to open the festival. Her imaginative tales, gentle guitar and ukulele playing and multi-colored furry Fofers and their gentle four-legged Peaceballs friends combine with projected animations to create a calming, fun treat for all ages.

11:30 a.m.: At the American Legion Hall, the Travis Lloyd Band from Unity will continue its gritty rock climb that began in 2008 and currently has singer/songwriter Lloyd, drummer Cody Tibbetts, piano/organist Emily Newell, bassist Russ Lloyd and guitarist John Atwater working on a second album. Meanwhile, at Åarhus Gallery, Cinder Conk mixes riotous Balkan/Gypsy folk dance music and raucous Yiddish celebration anthems into a truly local blend. Band members include accordion activist Matt Rock and Xar of the Gypsy power trio Ameranouche.

Noon: Visual and performance art meet at Waterfall Arts Belfast in the guise of The Mahdi Army Orkestars, a free jazz/experimental music collaboration between well-known Maine artists Abby Shahn, Wally Warren and James Fangboner.

12:30 p.m.: Wesley Hartley and The Traveling Trees return to Roots & Tendrils after winter concert and show of Hartley’s art work. The alt-country group is driven by Hartley’s Texas drawl and lyrics that walk a fine line between heartwarming and heartbreaking. Other band members include bassist Leslie Dean (also a former Dead End Armory member), Jon Donnell, Derek Renolds and SK Green.

12:45 p.m.: Luna Madidus, a recently renamed modern jazz ensemble of Midcoast musicians, will play at the Colonial Theatre. Formed in February 2009 by pianist and composer Tom Luther, the group includes Michael Whitehead, trumpet; Jeff Densmore, drums; Doug Kennedy, bass; and Kristen Burkholder, vocals.

1:30 p.m.: South China, from Biddeford, will bring its musical and literal marriage to Åarhus Gallery. Jeremy and Jerusha Robinson’s individual backgrounds in experimental rock and classical music combine in a sound that feels sparse and improvised, drawing listeners into an intimate world of Maine winters, bittersweet moments, subtle humor and strange dream imagery.

1:45 p.m.: Tree by Leaf singer/songwriter Garrett Soucy of Liberty joins forces with his Bible study cohorts to manifest the folk expressionism of Calvin and the Free Will Agents, performing at Waterfall Arts Belfast.

2 p.m.: Shawn Mercer & the Boondock Blues Band are making a name for themselves in Maine and the rest of New England. Having recently opened for the likes of Grace Potter & the Nocturnals and Shemekia Copeland, they bring their lively acoustic blues to the American Legion Hall.

2:30 p.m.: The local and cumbersomely named Uke of Spaces Corners is an experimental folk group that features Dan Beckman and Amy Moon  and often enlists friends and family to provide accompaniment and sonic flavor. They will perform at Roots & Tendrils.

2:45 p.m.: The local Free Seedlings band mixes generations and genres to present bluegrass, old-time and original songs. Both rooted in tradition and open to innovation, Jeff Lewis, Bennett Konesi and David Lewis will take the stage of the Colonial Theatre.

3 p.m.: Composer, new music improviser and performer Mary Anne Driscoll, a Waldo County jazz mainstay, will perform solo vocal interpretations of standards by Thelonius Monk, Bud Powell, Jules Styne; original piano compositions; and free improvisation at the Belfast Free Library.

3:30 p.m.: Northern Maine wonders Travis Cyr and The Strings Of Calamity will bring their “Acousta-Funky-Folk-Grass” to Åarhus Gallery. Their combinations of vividly honest and poetic lyrics with aggressive, fast paced acoustic guitar work is known to break a lot of strings.

3:45 p.m.: Bangor’s Good Kids Sprouting Horns is a trio that started with Casio drum samples, borrowed keyboards and an acoustic guitar in a basement. Over the past few months, the group has moved well beyond these humble roots, as may be witnessed at Waterfall Arts Belfast.

4 p.m.: Col. Bruce & The Quark Alliance features Col. Bruce Hampton, who played poet/band manager Morris in “Sling Blade,” with Kris Dale (bass), Perry Osborn (guitar) and Duane Trucks (drums). They bring their distinctive blend of blues and jazz to the American Legion Hall.

4:30 p.m.: Rural Electric offers guitar-wielding fuzz folk from the backwoods of Waldo County. Roots & Tendrils will host this popular indie, folk, Americana and more combo. Rural Electric’s music deals with everything from love and politics to nature.

4:45 p.m.: David Wax’s circuitous journey to and from the back roads of Mexico has inspired The David Wax Museum’s lively fusion of traditional Mexican and American folk music. Expect Latin rhythms, call-and-response hollering and donkey jawbone rattling at the Colonial Theatre.

5:45 p.m.: Unbunny is coming all the way from Seattle to play the Belfast Free Range Festival; Jarid del Deo and some of his rotating cast of backing players and collaborators will perform at Waterfall Arts. Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie recorded two songs on the Unbunny album “Black Strawberries” and also played piano on one.

6:15 p.m.: The Class Machine is the local power duo of lifelong rhythm section members of various bands, Nate Raleigh (bass/vox) and Cody Tibbetts (drums/guitar). They bring their less-is-more treatment of tenacious, gut punch songwriting to Roots & Tendrils.

6:30 p.m.: One of Portland’s best-kept secrets but not for long, young Aly Spaltro mixes whimsy, garage rock, drumline percussion, poetry, childlike wonder, and weary sadness into an immediately accessible but totally distinctive. Spaltro will perform as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper at the Colonial.

At 7:30 p.m., headliners the Jazz Mandolin Project from Burlington, Vt., will take the American Legion Hall stage. Since the 1990s, Jamie Masefield’s Jazz Mandolin Project has been offering an entirely new concept of what the mandolin can do. For his Free Range Music Festival set, Masefield will be joined by Jon Fishman of Lincolnville, drummer and co-founder of Phish; and Peter Apfelbaum (keyboards, sax and percussion), who leads the Hieroglyphics and collaborates with musicians ranging from Don Cherry to Cecil Taylor. Also at 7:30 p.m., local singer/songwriter Caethua offers songs that weave plaintive, emotionally resonant stories with field recordings and ambient soundscapes. Her new work, which includes partner Andy Neubauer on bass clarinet, will be showcased at Waterfall Arts Belfast.

8:15 p.m.: The ever-changing collective Tiger Saw has toured extensively on three continents and is known for playing unorthodox venues from beach bonfires to treetop sing-alongs, as well as basements and barrooms from coast to coast. The bring their DIY take on indie, soul, rhythm & blues to Roots & Tendrils.

8:45 p.m.: Providence, R.I.’s Brown Bird is an original five-piece band that draws influence from country, blues and eastern European music. Harmonized voices and instruments carry David Lamb’s haunting lyrics on surging waves of Appalachian, gypsy and chantey music. Expect foot-stomping madness at the Colonial Theatre.

9:30 p.m.: Camden’s David Dodson is an extraordinary songwriter who writes and performs in all manner of American song styles including folk, jazz, blues and country. Dodson, who has shared the stage with Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Gordon Bok, Greg Brown, KD Lang, Bill Stains, The Persuasions, Joe Ely, Marcia Ball and Sha Na Na, will entertain at the American Legion Hall.

9:45 p.m.: Another West Coast performer in the festival is San Francisco’s Lazarus, which will play at Waterfall Arts. Begun as Trevor Montgomery’s post-Tarentel solo project, Lazarus currently explores musical depths with dense layers of drums, keyboards, acoustic and electric guitars, glockenspiel and Montgomery’s shamanistic, gospel-inspired vocals. Montgomery also has played in The Drift, Papercuts and Castanets; and toured with Explosions in the Sky.

10:15 p.m.: The festival will warp at Roots & Tendrils with a set by Gully. The Portland indie rock quartet has been a project in the making since 2005. In 2007, a solid lineup of musicians gelled and with it came the release of an impressive first EP titled, yes, “Six Songs By Gully.” Gully’s first full-length album is expected this spring.

For the schedule, more band information and other details about the festival, visit

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to