June 24, 2018
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Hermon council approves permit for KahBang campsite

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

HERMON, Maine — As many as 1,900 KahBang Festival attendees are expected to set up tents at the Sports Arena next month when the nine-day celebration of music, art and film opens in Bangor.

The third edition of KahBang is set for Aug. 5-13 along the Bangor Waterfront and at multiple venues downtown.

Members of the Hermon Town Council unanimously granted festival organizers’ request for a concourse gathering permit during their meeting Thursday night, Town Manager Clinton Deschene said Friday.

A concourse gathering permit is required for gatherings of 500 or more people in an outdoor space or temporary structure, according to town ordinances.

Though the festival is headquartered in Bangor, the lack of a suitable site for camping prompted festival organizers to explore sites outside city limits, KahBang communication director Christopher Michaud said Friday.

Michaud said many comparable events around the nation provide campsites and given that about 50 percent of ticket sales to date are from outside Maine, there is a demand for that option. He also said camping was less costly than motel and hotel stays, which is good for the festival’s main audience, namely young adults.

To that end, festival organizers have been working closely with Sports Arena owner Len Cole to provide a camping experience that is both enjoyable and affordable, Michaud said.

KahBang’s application for campsite approval shows that the venue will be fenced and will provide spaces for tents, access to water and food vendors, portable toilets, a medical tent and a stage. A number of security steps have been put into place as have plans for sanitation and trash removal.

Hermon School Department buses will shuttle KahBangers between the campsite and the primary venue, town officials said Friday.

Michaud said details about the festival’s camping element will be released early next week.

“We were very excited about the opportunity to participate, even in a limited way, in an event that’s not only good for the community but for the region,” Deschene said Friday. “This is going to bring a lot of people from outside the state into a region we all know is great because we live here.”

Hermon Economic Development Director Ron Harriman agreed, adding that the Bangor event would provide the region an economic boost. The Sports Arena, which houses Pat’s Pizza and two bars, local service providers and nearby businesses are expected to benefit from the festival’s spinoff.

Established in 2009, KahBang began as a one-day concert event. In 2010, it expanded to nine days with the addition of film and art and KahBang@Night events.

This year, KahBang will showcase more than 50 bands on multiple stages. Featured performers include My Morning Jacket, Chromeo, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Atmosphere, Surfer Blood, Atomic Tom, Dom, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Evidence, Blueprint, Prof and The Gay Blades.

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