UNITY, Maine— Christians have gospel and praise music festivals.
Jews gather for battles of klezmer bands.
Maine’s pagan community now has a celebration devoted to its own religious music.
The Eastern Maine Pagan Pride Association will sponsor the state’s first pagan music festival Saturday at Unity College’s Center for the Performing Arts.
The event, which will include local pagan vendors, was organized as a fundraiser for the recently organized pagan pride group, based in Bangor. It also will be a chance to celebrate the polytheistic faith many followers feel is misunderstood by the general public, according to organizers.
What makes a pagan song pagan is the lyrics rather than the kind of music or the instruments, according to Keri Alley, who helped organize the event.
“Portland has held a pagan pride event, but this is the first event in the state devoted to pagan music,” she said recently.
The performers will include Women with Wings, 1476, SadisTech, Lorelei Greenwood, Wolf Bone and Brite Phoenix. Members of Dark Follies, including Selcouth, are scheduled to perform. Brotha Luv, the host of WERU’s “Head Rush” show, will act as emcee.
Women with Wings is an allwomen’s sacred chant group based at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Bangor. 1476 hails from New Hampshire and brings the festival the dark moon’s flair with a gothic metal flavor, driving rhythms, and unusual lyrics, according to organizers.
SadisTech of Portland blends techno and trance in an enticing collaboration of mash-ups and original compositions that will have folks at the festival moving to a hypnotic beat, according to Alley. Wolf Bone of Old Town will combine folk, chants and rock. Brite Phoenix of Rhode Island is an acoustic tribal folk band with a Celtic flair.
A vaudeville-style variety show featuring live music, dancing, drumming, juggling and more will be presented by Dark Follies, based in Portland, according to organizers.
Lorelei Greenwood, a harpist and singer, will perform classics as well as original works.
“Her sweet soprano voice and intricate harp accompaniment will whisk audience members away to medieval times,” Alley said. “As a grand finale, Greenwood will lead the performers and audience members in a collaborative sacred chant that will raise the roof and send our collective energy out into the universe in celebration.”
Alley said the event was not designed to draw nonbelievers or followers of other religions to paganism.
“Pagans as a rule try not to convert people over to the faith,” she said. “It’s a very personalized religion based on each individual’s relationships with different deities. We want this to be a celebration of the religion.”