85-degree weather did not deter a small but enthusiastic crowd for the free and open to the public kickoff concert for the third annual KahBang Music & Art Festival, held this year from 2-10 p.m. in West Market Square in downtown Bangor. By 6:30 p.m., the temperature had cooled slightly, and interested music fans of all ages began coming out to enjoy the seven bands scheduled to perform.
“This year’s kickoff show was an experiment, and we’re already coming up with new ideas for next year,” said Timothy Lo, KahBang’s executive director, who was handling management aspects of the show from the KahBang box office, located at the corner of Broad Street and Merchant’s Plaza. “I’m excited to see how packed this square gets for the Gay Blades. Once the sun goes down, people start to come out.”
The Gay Blades, Saturday’s headliner, are a rock duo out of New Jersey who have played every year of KahBang. Dylan Davis, 18, of Bucksport, first heard them just before last year’s festival, and was sporting a T-shirt of theirs in anticipation of their 9 p.m. show.
“I hadn’t heard them before last year but now I’m a huge fan,” said Davis, a recent graduate of Bucksport High School. “I like a lot of the other bands this year, too. There’s always something new.”
Other performers Saturday included Bangor’s own Temperature of the Sun, who started the afternoon off, as well as two bands from Belfast, the 220s and the Class Machine. All three reflect the diversity of KahBang’s lineup, with Temperature of the Sun’s catchy indie pop; the technical, classic-rock inspired music of the 220s; and the garage punk sounds of the Class Machine. Others bands set for the evening included Dean Ford and the Vanityites.
Saturday’s concert ran up against the annual WLBZ 2 Sidewalk Arts Festival, which meant multiple white tents were lined up along Broad Street and Main Street, selling paintings and crafts from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. The concert started at 2:30 p.m., which meant there was an interesting overlap between art fans and rock fans. Fortunately, local businesses benefited greatly from all the foot traffic.
“We’ve been very, very busy all weekend,” said David Chapman, manager of American Retro on Main Street. “Having stuff set up along Main Street is definitely helpful.”
KahBang continues all week, with films set for Sunday through Tuesday evening, bands at local bars starting Tuesday night, and the two-day music festival on the Bangor Waterfront on Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit kahbang.com.