June 20, 2018
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Stage going up at Bangor waterfront

John Clarke Russ | BDN
John Clarke Russ | BDN
Workers with Old Town-based Production Services of Maine started setting up the scaffolding Monday for the upcoming Waterfront Concert Series in Bangor. They hope to have the 52 foot tall, 98 foot by 60 foot stage completed by the end of the week. The series kicks off with Bumstock 2011 on April 30.
By Andrew Neff, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — There were plenty of loud noises emanating from the site of the Waterfront Pavilion on Monday, but nothing you could dance or clap to.

The sound of heavy machinery, beeping of forklifts in reverse and workers hammering staging into place will continue from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. all week, but it soon will give way to drums, electric guitars, keyboards and vocalists.

Monday was part spring training, part opening day for the people with Waterfront Concerts and music fans all over Bangor as the framework for the stage and the sound bays started going up — 12 days before the first show of the Bangor Waterfront Concert Series on April 30.

“It’s pretty exciting. There’s a lot of anticipation over the winter while you’re planning but not really being able to do anything,” said Robbie Snow, Waterfront Concerts production manager. “It’s one thing to sit in an office and type and send emails, plan and prepare, but it’s another to finally be out here and watch it going up.

“The night before this, I couldn’t sleep because I was so anxious about whether we were going to have everything we’d need.”

A crew of 45 workers from Mountain Productions of Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Production Services of Maine; and Labor Ready was assembling the right sound bay tower on a stage that will be bigger, taller and able to support more equipment weight this season.

“It’ll be a static roof this year. Instead of coming in and out, the roof will actually sit on the towers so it’s rated for a lot more weight,” said China’s Mike Fischer, site foreman and chief of operations for Production Services. “We’re hoping to have it done by Thursday night.

“This is the big kickoff right here. It’s a little nerve-racking, but it’s exciting.”

The stage will go from 60 by 40 feet to 60 by 60 feet. The sound bays or “wings” on the sides of the stage will go from 17 to 28 feet wide, and the roof will go from supporting 38,000 pounds to 56,000 pounds of equipment, such as speakers and lights.

The crew will be working 12-hour days Monday through Thursday to get the structure set up.

“We’re using pretty much the same number of people to set this up as last year, but what took two days to put together last year is taking four this year,” said Fischer. “We have no lights, so as soon as it starts getting dark, we’re done.”

Even though Snow spent much of Monday outside, there were plenty of other things to occupy his attention away from the stage that slowly was taking shape.

“We’re still in the process of lining vendors up, but we’ve hired 12 food vendors so far,” Snow said.

Of those dozen vendors contracted to sell food on the waterfront concourse along Railroad Street, only one is from outside Maine. The others are based in Bangor, Bass Harbor, Portland, Ellsworth and other outlying areas.

“And that’s only because they provide something [mini ice creams like Dippin’ Dots] no one else does locally,” said Snow, a Hampden native. “Being from the area, trying to support local business is something we’ve been trying to do right along.”

The stage was acquired from Mountain Productions, and much of the other large-scale equipment was imported from out of state.

“I’d love to use a local company, but because of the size and scope of our events, nobody can compete with the national companies that specialize in them,” Snow said. “I’d love to use Mark’s Music to do our sound, but because he doesn’t have a system big enough, we can’t use him.”

That’s not the case for all the equipment needed for the pavilion infrastructure.

“With fencing, we had National install it for us last year and it was X amount of dollars, so we told the local businesses what our price was and if they could get close to that, we’d use them,” Snow said. “ADA said they could probably do something and would get back to us. We went back and forth, and it looks like they’ll probably get the job.”

ADA Fence Co. is based in Palmyra.

“I usually send stuff out to local businesses to make bids, but they usually can’t compete on the bigger stuff. If it’s within a couple thousand dollars, I’m going to use the local company,” said Snow. “A couple thousand dollars isn’t going to break our bank, but will it keep people happy while keeping money and jobs in the state? Yes, so it’s worth the two thousand dollars.”

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