BANGOR — KahBang Festival organizers announced Monday morning the initial lineup for the 2011 festival as well as new developments regarding ticketing and other festival elements.
Grammy-nominated rock band My Morning Jacket, Vermont’s Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, critically acclaimed independent hip-hop artist Atmosphere and electronic duo Chromeo are just some of the artists scheduled to play the nine-day music, art and film festival, which offers an array of events in downtown Bangor during the week of Aug. 5-11, leading up to the two-day music festival on the Waterfront, set for Aug. 12-13.
“We are proud to announce our great lineup of diverse acts,” said Chris Michaud, communications director for KahBang. “We’ve got indie acts, we’ve got high-profile acts, and we’ve got more coming.”
Other artists include indie rock band Surfer Blood, hip-hop artists Atomic Tom, Dom, Evidence, Blueprint and Prof, Maine native Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, and in their third overall KahBang appearance, New York City rock duo the Gay Blades. More bands will be announced in the next three to four weeks.
KahBang Executive Director Timothy Lo said he was “eager and excited” to start getting audiences ready for this year’s festival.
“When we started, we were just a dot on the festival landscape,” said Lo. “This year, we’re taking the leap to being a national festival, and one of the best in New England. We brought 30,000 people to Bangor over the course of the festival last year. We have more resources and even more ideas this year. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen.”
My Morning Jacket formed in 1998 in Louisville, Ky., and became known for its blend of Southern rock, indie rock and soul. The band has seen a number of stylistic changes over the years, from the reggae- and electronic-music-influenced album “Z” to the R&B-oriented “Evil Urges.” A new album, “Circuital,” is due out May 31. The band has performed on “Saturday Night Live,” been heavily featured in the films “Elizabethtown” and “I’m Not There,” and has been an audience favorite at the Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tenn. The band was nominated for a Best Alternative Rock Album Grammy in 2008 for “Evil Urges.”
The soulful, female-fronted Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, who have performed in Maine venues such as the State Theatre in Portland and the Unity College Centre for the Performing Arts, have been together since 2004. They have been a favorite on the jam-band circuit ever since, and found mainstream success last year with their self-titled album, which hit No. 5 on the iTunes Top 100 and featured hit single “Ooh La La.” They released a live album titled “Live in Skowhegan,” which was recorded at the Skowhegan Opera House in 2008.
Atmosphere is a hip-hop group from Minneapolis, Minn., composed of rapper Slug and DJ Ant. The group has released seven albums since 1998, along with 10 EPs, and is one of the most commercially successful independent hip-hop acts of all time. The group is known for its introspective lyrical content and commitment to independent music. Its last album, “When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That $#%& Gold,” debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard charts.
Chromeo is a Montreal-based electronic duo composed of P-Thugg and Dave-1, who have released three albums of 1980s funk-inspired dance music, using synthesizers and talk boxes to great effect. Its albums “Fancy Footwork” and “Night By Night” charted high on Billboard electronic charts.
As for ticketing, there will be three levels of passes available to festival-goers. A film festival-only pass will be available, priced at $15-$25, but now all regular ticket holders for the two-day Waterfront music festival also will have access to the film festival and KahBang At Night events. There also will be a VIP pass, which offers access to special events and a VIP lounge on the music festival grounds. Early bird tickets go on sale Friday, April 29, with regular tickets on sale for $70 and VIP tickets on sale for $80. Prices will go up to $75 for regular tickets and $90 for VIP tickets May 27, and will be full price at $80 for regular, $100 for VIP by the end of June. Tickets are available online at kahbang.com.
The film festival will feature the same content as last year, along with a few new categories and events. The Kevin Bacon Homage category will feature films that have a connection with the actor, a tribute to the famous movie trivia game, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” There will be a Murray vs. Murray category, with three films featuring the actor Bill Murray, and a So Bad It’s Good category, featuring films touted as being some of the worst ever made, but are entertaining to watch simply because they’re so bad. Finally, an I-Films category will feature films made on iPhones.
KahBang at Night will return, with more bands and events in bars, restaurants and other venues in downtown Bangor. The opening night party, set for Friday, Aug. 5, will be held in West Market Square this year, and other new venues will be announced in the coming weeks. Additionally, the visual arts portion of the festival will be handled by the newly formed nonprofit wing of KahBang, KahBang Arts.
Executive director Lo said that with KahBang’s expanding national profile, more sponsors and event planning opportunities have come their way. An opportunity for KahBang to help put on shows on Portland’s Maine State Pier arrived earlier this month, with recently announced shows including rapper Wiz Khalifa on July 28. Despite the group’s expansion into Portland, organizers said they are primarily committed to the festival in Bangor.
“We are entirely privately funded, and we don’t use any city resources,” said Lo. “We want to be a boon to the city, not a crutch. There’s no other entertainment event like us in Maine, and our biggest goal is to shine the spotlight on Bangor. That’s what we’re here for.”