June 20, 2018
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Call it a prelude…

By Emily Burnham, BDN Staff

Diunna Greenleaf was a big hit at last year’s American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront, with her down-and-dirty, heavy-duty blues power lighting up the Railroad and Dance stages all weekend. So much of a hit, in fact, that she’s coming back for another visit, less than a year after her first.

Greenleaf and her band Blue Mercy, along with special guest guitarist I.J. Gosey and the Acadian group Vishten, will play a benefit concert for this year’s Folk Festival at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 16, at the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono.

Tickets for the concert are $45, and are available at the Collins Center box office. All proceeds from the show will benefit the festival, in order to keep it free for everyone — one of the major draws of the entire event. … well, besides all the music, the food, the shopping and people-watching. Throwing a party for tens of thousands of people isn’t cheap.

“We have gotten our budget down to a pretty solid amount, and we’ve alleviated lots of expenses. It’s still very expensive to put on, and any amount we can add to the budget helps,” said Heather McCarthy, director for the American Folk Festival. “As for the concert, we don’t have a full house yet, so we have plenty of room for people to join us. People can certainly buy tickets the day of the show.”

Along with Greenleaf and her band, Vishten, who appeared at the National Folk Festival in Bangor in 2004, will perform. In keeping with the festival’s spirit, the dueling lineup of blues and Acadian music reflects the diversity of AFF performers.

“[Diunna] made so many fans in Bangor, and she was so great to work with. She had a great time in our community,” said McCarthy. “And we wanted to do two really different genres of music, so we went for Maritime music, which is always popular at the festival.”

This is the first year the festival has held a fundraiser event. If everything goes as planned this year, the Festival Countdown concert will become an annual tradition. In addition to the show, a preconcert party with the performers is set for that evening, with tickets for that event going for $50.

John Diamond, a member of the American Folk Festival board of directors, hopes community members will support the festival by buying a ticket and doing their part to keep the festival free.

“If you join us at the countdown concert, you’re getting a guaranteed return on your investment,” said Diamond. “You enjoy a night of fantastic music at the Collins Center for the Arts, and you are helping to ensure that the folk festival remains alive and well here in our community.”

To purchase tickets for the Festival Countdown concert, call 581-1755.

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