In these days of  Too Much Stuff, many are thinking about giving “experiences” as gifts. The Midcoast has much to offer on those lines, as well as the Vacationland beauty that makes tickets to concerts and festivals just another reason for out-of-state friends and family to visit.

Some events are sooner than later. Rockland’s Strand Theatre closes out its live performance year with an already sold-out concert by The Ghost of Paul Revere, but tickets for the already launched Metropolitan Opera Live in HD series are a good bet for that crowd — and there’s an encore of “La Traviata” the day after Christmas.

The nonprofit Strand’s calendar is beginning to fill in for the coming year — including a July return of the always-sold-out Paula Poundstone. To see the gifting options, visit

New Year’s Eve is coming right up, and there are a few get-ahead entertainment options; be sure to check the Midcoast’s many fine restaurants, too, for special dinner spreads. Belfast’s 22nd annual New Year’s by the Bay chem-free celebration will run from 2 p.m. to just after midnight at venues around town. There’s live music, good food and, this year, the inauguration of a new poet laureate; for information about getting admission buttons in advance, see the story linked below.

The Samoset Resort in Rockport is hosting another Creatures of Habit dance party on New Year’s Eve — the last two have sold out. Tickets are available in advance through the Samoset (594-2511).

In Rockland, the annual New Year’s Eve Blues event takes place at the Trade Winds Inn on Park Drive. The party begins at 8:30 p.m., featuring the Tullie Brae Band from Mississippi. The full package includes the dance party with party favors and champagne toast; a room at the inn with use of the pool and hot tub; and continental breakfast on New Year’s Day. There is also a dance-only option. For more information and to sign up, call North Atlantic Blues Festival co-founder Paul Benjamin at 596-6055.

And speaking of the blues fest, the dates are set for July 13 and 14; and the lineup has been announced. Advance tickets, which have a good discount, are on sale via For more information, see the story linked below.

January is an active month for fans of local choral music. Midcoast Community Chorus will present its annual winter concert, dubbed The Color Wheel this year, Sunday afternoon, Jan. 13, at the Strom Auditorium of Camden Hills Regional High School; see the story linked below. And VoXX: Voice of Twenty takes its History of Sacred Choral Music concert on tour beginning Saturday night, Jan. 12, at Rockport’s Union Hall. The Belfast concert will be Saturday night, Jan. 19, at United Farmer’s Market of Maine.

The historic Camden Opera House is looking ahead to February’s U.S. National Toboggan Championships. The Feb. 6 children’s show, co-presented by Camden Public Library, will feature clown duo Pinot and Augustine with tickets at the door. The big Friday, Feb. 7, concert is none other than Maine’s own Mallett Brothers Band, so advance tickets would be a welcome gift across a range of roots rock genre fans. Belfast’s Oshima Brothers will open the show. For tickets, and a calendar of other upcoming performances, visit

A couple of weeks later, Camden Opera House hosts the 32nd annual Camden Conference — this year exploring the question, Is This China’s Century? The three-day conference also will be livestreamed to the Strand in Rockland and to the University of Maine's Hutchinson Center in Belfast. A gift package could combine tickets with one of the suggested pre-conference books or films — all can be found at

Speaking of Belfast, the annual All Roads Music Festival will not be in ticketing mode for another month or so, but is scheduled, as usual, for the third weekend in May — maybe an IOU with a CD by one of the 2018 performers would be just the ticket for an indie music fan; check them out at