The skies may open, but festival won’t close

Posted Aug. 28, 2009, at 9:49 p.m.

click here for the revised schedule

BANGOR, Maine — Despite a rainy forecast for the area today, the American Folk Festival is still on.

As the festival began Friday evening, the National Weather Service was forecasting a 100 percent chance of rain, heavy at times, for much of Saturday.

Heather McCarthy, festival executive director, said that if a downpour already is occurring or appears to be inevitable Saturday morning, the schedule would be changed to use only the tent stages — the Penobscot Stage, the dance tent and the children’s stage. The Railroad, Heritage and Two Rivers stages would be shut down, and signs would be posted on site and on the American Folk Festival Web site about the new schedule.

“We’re going to take a look at the forecast in the morning, and if it looks like steady rain for a big portion of the day, we’ll go to plan B,” McCarthy said late Friday afternoon. “We will not be using the outdoor stages, and will instead extensively use the indoor stages. We’ll change it around, so that it offers as much variety as possible.”

McCarthy said that a decision would be made no later than 9 a.m. Saturday — if plan B is enacted. If, however, rain appears to be merely spotty or a light drizzle, the festival will go ahead as planned. If heavy rain begins in the middle of the festival, a later version of plan B will be put into place.

“The longer we can hold off, the better,” McCarthy said. “We will get in as much of the full schedule as we can. If it starts to pour at 4 p.m., we’ll start using only the tents.”

Both the American Folk Festival and the National Folk Festival have enjoyed remarkably good luck in regard to weather. With the exception of two rainy Sundays and one brief, memorable downpour on Saturday evening in 2007, the festival has had sunny, warm weather each year.

Regardless of the gloomy forecast, McCarthy said festival-goers shouldn’t cancel their plans. Come rain or come shine, the American Folk Festival is going to happen.

“Come and enjoy it with us,” she said. “Just bring a raincoat and an umbrella.”

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