BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor Waterfront pavilion will be known as Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, thanks to a four-year naming rights agreement between the Darling’s auto dealerships and Waterfront Concerts announced Monday.
“We’ve been a sponsor for the Waterfront Concert Series for the past three years, and we’ve been impressed with the star power Alex Gray and his staff have brought to the Bangor Waterfront,” said Jay Darling, owner of Darling’s, speaking at a news conference Monday afternoon. “We’ve been looking for a way to strengthen our relationship with Waterfront Concerts to ensure that music lovers in Bangor will have a venue that they can be proud of for years to come.”
The rights agreement is a four-year exclusive naming deal with an option that would expand it to 10 years. Neither Waterfront nor Darling’s officials would provide a figure on the total value of the deal, as Gray said the deal had not yet been completed and would not be completely official for a few more weeks.
“What does this really mean for the Waterfront Concert Series? What it ultimately comes down to is this is that next step,” said Gray, also speaking at the news conference. “It gives us the ability to go out and chase higher-level acts. … As I’ve consistently said to the [City] Council, I truly believe that the city of Bangor is poised to be the entertainment capital of the state of Maine, and really north of Boston.”
Bangor City Council president Nelson Durgin applauded the deal, noting that the estimated $30 million boon that the concerts have brought to the city makes it even more important to make sure the concerts stick around.
“With the new Cross Insurance Center, with the Waterfront Concerts continuing on, the regrowth of the downtown and the upgrading of some of our facilities, you’re finding Bangor is a destination now,” said Durgin. “And Darling’s is going to be very much a part of that destination on the waterfront.”
The deal is effective this year. Two concerts — Sting on Thursday, June 20, and Darius Rucker with Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer on Friday, June 21 — already have been announced for the third season of Bangor’s Waterfront Concert Series. The next show announcement is set for Monday, Feb. 11, followed by another on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
The city has been working on the pavilion facility grounds since last fall to regrade the surface and reposition the pavilion to aim it downtown and provide for better acoustics. The stage is being moved a few hundred feet and rotated about 90 degrees so it is aimed almost directly downtown to create more space and address volume level concerns voiced by Main Street residents. The facility will have a capacity of 16,000 fans.
The name “Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion” will apply to the venue only during Waterfront Concert Series events; for other events, such as the KahBang Festival and the American Folk Festival, it still will be known as the Bangor Waterfront Pavilion.
Darling’s has been a Bangor-based, family-owned business since 1903, when it began selling cars, trucks and bicycles. The business now has six locations in Maine.