Live music in the willy-whacks

Aug 09, 2017
Rockport’s Miners Creek has a busy weekend, thanks to Belfast Harbor Fest and the Family & Friends Bluegrass Festival in Palermo.

‘Tis the time of year for rural music festivals, a chance to listen and dance to live music in the great outdoors. Here are several opportunities just a tad inland from Midcoast Maine.

Family & Friends Bluegrass Festival

The ninth annual Family & Friends Bluegrass Festival, sponsored by the Friday Night Jam, will run Friday evening through Saturday night, Aug. 18 and 19, in North Palermo.

The family-friendly event offers lots of homegrown bluegrass tunes and a little gospel, served up in 40-minute sets, as well as free activities for the kids, food vendors and free rough camping. Admission is free, with donations welcome.

The fest begins with a 6 p.m. potluck meal Friday, followed by music from 7 to 9 p.m. On Saturday, the fest runs 10 a.m. through 9 p.m., with 40-minute meal breaks at 12:50 and 5:30 p.m. Festivalgoers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, picnic blankets and food (or buy meals from the vendors). No smoking or alcohol is permitted on the premises. Said premises are at 2640 North Palermo Road. For more information and the band schedule, visit

Live Edge Music Festival

Midcoast Conservancy hosts the sixth annual Live Edge Music Festival Sunday, Aug. 20, from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Jefferson. Four Maine bands will rock the Barn at Hidden Valley Nature Center, 131 Egypt Road.

Set to perform are the Oshima Brothers (noon), the Gawler Family (1:30 p.m.), Primo Cubano (3 p.m.) and The Boneheads (4:30 p.m.), as well as the Sirumem belly dance troupe (2:30 p.m.). Between acts, festival attendees can explore nearly 30 miles of trails.

Food will be sold by the Alna General Store and Harvest Moon, along with beer from Allagash, Geary’s and the Liberal Cup. Tickets for the all ages fest are on sale online at Tickets are $20, free younger than 15. A shuttle from the overflow parking lot brings attendees to the center.

Countrygrass Music Festival

The Maine Academy of Country Music also is hosting a festival in Jefferson. The 2017 Countrygrass Music Festival will run Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, Aug. 18 through 20, at the Broken Acres Family Retreat, 40 Retreat Road.

Headliner this year is Highway 101, a Grammy and many other awards-winning group out of Nashville. Highway 101 will play two shows on Saturday, at 3 and 8 p.m. Countrygrass is filled out with Maine favorites including Bobby Reed & The Wild Horse Band and The Mainely Country Band. Music runs from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday ($10); 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday ($25); and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday ($10). Three-day passes are $45. Tickets, free for children younger than 12, will be available at the gate each day.

Countrygrass is held rain or shine. Handicap accessible seating is available; otherwise, festivalgoers should bring lawn chairs. Campers are welcome too, as there is free rough camping on the grounds. Pets, however, are barred; service animals with proper paperwork/credentials shown are approved. For more information, visit

Highway 101, headlining Countrygrass Music Festival, has had 15 Top 30 hit singles and five albums in the Top 20 country charts.
A quarter century after playing Midcoast clubs every weekend, The Boneheads are headed to the Live Edge Music Festival.
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