The long, hard winter is truly over and, as its now-familiar chicken logos illustrate, the Belfast Free Range Music Festival is set to free the souls — and soles — of everyone who has been cooped up for far too many months. The second annual Belfast Free Range Music Festival runs from just before noon to after midnight Saturday, April 30 at eight venues scattered around the city.

Like those ranging chickens, wherever music lovers scratch downtown festival day they will come up with fresh sounds in a variety of genres. Coming up with a guaranteed seat at any given concert, however, takes some planning ahead. Passes to last year’s inaugural Belfast Free Range Music Festival were sold out by the time it started, so getting them ahead of time is recommended, even though there are more available this year.

Passes are $18 in advance and can be purchased through the festival’s website, Advance passes also can be purchased at The Green Store and Yo Mamma’s Home during business hours through Friday, April 29. If available, passes will be available to purchase the day of the festival for $20 at the festival event center, which is the storefront at 103 Main St.

Seating is limited at all venues and seating priority goes to festival passholders. However, this year also offers a single-show punch card. If space is available at the start of a set, non-pass holders can enter a single performance for a $5 door charge.

Last year’s inaugural fest featured 26 musicians and bands from as far away as Seattle and attracted festival attendees from all over the East Coast. The 2011 Belfast Free Music Festival will present close to 30 acts ranging from indie rock to reggae, hip hop to a cappella and folk to avant garde. Local performers will be joined by regional and national acts traveling from as far as Oregon and Tennessee.

Venues are all within relative walking distance, although it’s a bit of a hike to get the local arts center. Performances, running about an hour each, will be hosted by Åarhus Gallery, 50 Main St.; the American Legion Hall, 143 High St.; Belfast Free Library, 106 High St.; Belfast Maskers Waterfront Theater, 43 Front St.; the Colonial Theatre, 163 High St.; First Church, 8 Court St.; and Waterfall Arts, 256 High St. HillyTown will host a 21-and-older after party with Mango Floss and Vistas beginning 10 p.m. at Three Tides, 26 Marshall Wharf on the waterfront.

Following is the low-down on all the performers with their times and locations. For even more information, visit and check out the fest’s Facebook page.

Schedule of performances

11:45 a.m.: Asa Irons, local to both Belfast and New Hampshire, creates music on an unusual array of instruments that reflects his off-the-grid (and water-system) life; his work as a carpenter and mason; and his bond with the rural northeast of North America. If you want to see someone make a big saw blade sing, start your fest day at Åarhus Gallery.

12:30 p.m.: Jacob Augustine will preach the folk music gospel at First Church. The Portland musician calls folk music the “realities of life unfiltered” and feels called to commemorate those often ignored or overlooked by mainstream society.

12:45 p.m.: Ancestral Diet — Belfast’s Caethua and Andy Neubauer — offers an early ’90s industrial beat backing what they call an anti-society sound retrospective inspired by true life. They will pour it all forth at the Colonial.

1:30 p.m.: Another example of this city’s vibrant music community is The 220s, who will play at the American Legion Hall. The alternative/progressive rock band boasts influences ranging from The Beatles to Radiohead to Yes.

1:45 p.m.: Portland’s The Press Gang has gained a regional rep as they tour their Celtic music fusion. Squeezebox player Christian “Junior” Stevens, fiddler Alden Robinson and guitarist Owen Marshall bring their high-octane musical partnership to Åarhus Gallery.

2 p.m.: Big Blood gives Colleen Kinsella and Caleb Mulkerin, longtime members of South Portland’s underground scene (Cerberus Shoal, Threads, Fire on Fire) the opportunity to find acoustic transcendence via garage folk anthems and twisted poetic acid folk. They will perform at the First Church.

2:15 p.m.: Dead Man’s Clothes is an idiosyncratic rock quartet from Portland centered around the songwriting of Don Dumont and filling out its sound with bassist Ian Riley, drummer Elliot Heeschen and lead guitarist TJ Metcalfe. They will fill the Maskers Waterfront Theater with accessible indie rock warmed with pop sensibility.

2:45 p.m.: Mount Desert native Audrey Ryan is called the female Beck in her new hometown of Boston and has opened for Suzanne Vega, They Might Be Giants, Josh Ritter and Ra Ra Riot. The she will bring her genre-bending one-woman-multi-instruments band to the Colonial.

3 p.m.: Rockland’s Mehuman (“MAY-mon”) Jonson and her Mehuman Trio have become Midcoast favorites the last few years, thanks to an original mix of acoustic neo-soul and Americana with influences of jazz, funk and gospel. The trio, featuring. Consisting of Jonson, Casey Hufnagel and Ezra Rugg, the trio will perform at Belfast Free Library.

3:15 p.m.: When it comes to the musical art of messing around seriously, Cave Bears have it in spades. The Massachusetts band makes “weirdo music in the garage” and makes it work, a sonic assemblage that should be a good fit for Waterfall Arts.

3:30 p.m.: Big fans of loud amps will want to check out Murcielago at the American Legion Hall. Portland’s latest rock supergroup features Neil Collins and Matthew Robbins on guitar, Nick Lamberto on bass and Brian Chaloux on drums. The riff-heavy rockers, named for a bull who wouldn’t die in a bullfight, are some loud and that’s the way they like it.

3:45 p.m.: The Spaceys, playing at Åarhus Gallery, is the new musical identity of Alex McGregor, who has released four albums (and many appearances on compilations and a few  limited-edition EPs) in the last nine years as one-half of Ponies in the Surf and as a solo artist. McGregor often writes, records and performs with his sister Camille; The Spaceys offers a quiet but bouncy mix of Bossa Nova and Latin rhythms, ’60s-era melodies, off-kilter lyrics and masterful guitar playing.

4 p.m.: Local multimedia combo Full Contact Kitty takes the Maskers Waterfront Theater stage. Expect fuzzy guitar and drums-driven experimental punk and rock and, most likely, some oddly compelling film footage projections.

4 p.m.: In the first of several head-to-head festival matches, The Gawlers will perform at First Church. Central Maine’s first family of traditional string music is no stranger to Belfast. John and Ellen Gawler and their daughters Molly, Edith and Elsie accompany interweaving harmonies with fiddles, banjo, wooden banjo, cello and guitar as well as a few surprises.

4:45 p.m.: Portland’s Marie Stella is a four-piece indie band who was among the many such groups to play at the city’s recently closed Roots & Tendrils. The noise pop group formed at the very end of 2008 and has. In 2010, Marie Stella played at the Northside Music Festival in Brooklyn, N.Y. In Belfast, they will play at the Colonial.

5 p.m.: Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards, known primarily for their collaboration in the conceptually-based folk trio The Accident That Led Me To The World, perform as collaborative soloists at Waterfall Arts. Expect ukulele and guitar arrangements with close vocal harmonies, occasional banjo and clarinet forays and witty musical storytelling.

5 p.m. Midcoast a cappella ensemble VoXX will fill Belfast Free Library with sounds unlike any others at the festival. The group formerly known as Ave Maris Stella performs in many languages and styles, from English to Italian to Latin to Spanish and from sacred to secular to humorous.

5:30 p.m.: CatchaVibe will bring a touch of the islands to the American Legion Hall. The Maine-based reggae band features Glen Dubois on bass and vocals, Scott Ryan and Quit Pullin on guitar, Ezra Rugg on bass and vocals and Mike Heat on drums, vocals and percussion.

5:45 p.m.: The loud and uncompromising Rattlesnakes from Portland will rattle the roof of Maskers Waterfront Theater. Fans of post-punk garage rock will want to be there, but The Rattlesnakes are more than those labels imply.

5:45 p.m.: The Orono-based In Houses In Trees will offer original tunes at Åarhus Gallery. After the demise of Mt. Moon, Patric Cunningham and fellow Mt. Mooner Ryan Higgins began playing and recording Cunningham’s original material. Now working with Anthony Bitetti of Good Kids Sprouting Horns, the trio has a fill-length effort coming out soon.

6 p.m.: Nashville-based country singer Jonny Corndawg will fill First Church with genuine music that occasionally pokes fun at itself. When he is not touring, on his motorcycle, to perform lo-fi garage country with tinges of a punk rock attitude, Jonny plies the leather work and airbrush trades.

6:45 p.m.: Legendary folk musician Michael Hurley of Portland, Ore., is this year’s big-name performer and he will play at the Colonial. One of the last remaining ramblin’ American folk troubadours, Hurley has been hobo-ing around the country and making music since the days Bob Dylan first set foot in New York City’s Gaslight club. His songwriting talent has been embraced by a new generation of musicians. In recent years, Hurley has toured with Son Volt and Lucinda Williams; shared bills with Smog and Palace Brothers and The Decemberists; played with the Giant Sand rhythm section; and appeared with (and been covered by) Vetiver.

7 p.m.: Broken Water is a three-piece band from Olympia, Wash., comprised of members of Sisters and Congratulations. They released a full-length “Whet” last year on vinyl, as well as a 7-inch 45. They will bring the West Coast sound to Waterfall Arts.

7:15 p.m.: Maine’s Brenda takes the clean, concise elements of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll and gives it some esoteric and breezy turns that suggest the band’s wide range of indie influences. The Portland-based band has played with Wilco and The Flaming Lips, among other indie stalwarts. They will perform at the American Legion Hall.

7:45 p.m.: The Milkman’s Union draws from classical, jazz, electronic and various non-western musics, then infuses rock grooves with deft melodic hooks and rhythmic flourishes for a truly original sound. Begun as a solo project by Henry Jamison in Burlington, Vt., the band evolved at Bowdoin College and now includes drummer Peter McLaughlin, bassist Alex Hernandez and lead guitarist Akiva Zamcheck, a classically trained multi-instrumentalist. They play at Maskers Waterfront Theater.

8 p.m.: San Francisco band Grass Widow braids vocal harmonies over distorted post-punk riffs. Lillian Maring on drums, Hannah Lew on bass and Raven Mahon on guitar contribute vocals equally, delivering lyrics that depict the world as an Oz-like land of radiant surfaces thinly veiling fearfully ethereal reality. The indie band, which released its first full-length album last summer, will perform at First Church.

9 p.m.: The Toughcats, originally from the Fox Islands of Vinalhaven and North Haven, will be back from their latest West Coast tour to perform at the Colonial. The trio of Joe Nelson, Colin Gulley and Jacob Greenlaw has worked with Kathy Mattea, Hot Buttered Rum, Deerhoof, Sam Bush, The Mammals, Tony Trischka, The Avett Brothers, The Red Stick Ramblers, author Jim Hightower and Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show. If you’ve yet to see Greenlaw play the suitcase, catch this show.

9 p.m.: Meanwhile. over at Waterfall Arts, ubiquitous drummer Jason Dean’s latest group, Tit City, will offer up avant garde, house and hip hop. Born of Dean and Charlie Hendricks’ passion for this music, the band made its debut last winter in New York City.

9:15 p.m.: Nearly two years after the dissolution of his former group Satellite Lot, Casey McCurry has assembled a hand-picked cadre of friends for his new musical project, Sunset Hearts, which will perform at the American Legion Hall. The group’s music has been described as soothing, introspective and dance-inducing.

9:30 p.m.: Time Crisis from New London, Conn., will close the fest at Maskers Waterfront Theater. Pennsylvania-bred duo Will Brown and Jon Markson had a musical meeting in college that has resulted in an eclectic buzz/urban boom bap fusion that blurs genre lines. Their progressive, catchy sound encompasses sequencer to six string and vocoder to violin.

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