After rainy start to KahBang, thousands visit Bangor waterfront for blue skies, music, beer and vendors
Friday might have been a wash, but the music, food and fun on Saturday at the KahBang Festival on Bangor’s Waterfront was full of unlimited sunshine and not a cloud in the sky.
The fifth edition of the yearly festival brought more than 60 bands and between 3,000 and 4,000 people to Bangor to enjoy a wide array of up and coming, independent bands. They ranged from popular Maine hip-hop artist Spose to New York noise pop band Oberhofer; from the soul-inspired Brooklyn six-piece the Dirty Gems to electronic artists and DJs like Break Science and Lazerdisk Party Sex.
Friday night was a difficult evening for the festival, with nearly nonstop rain that at times heavily deterred the majority of festival-goers. Muddy fields made for difficult dancing, and the constant wet made it dangerous for amplifiers to be plugged in. Several bands, including Mississippi indie rockers Weeks, had to postpone their performances until Saturday. Canadian indie pop artist Lights played an acoustic set, and headlining band Dr. Dog performed in the Dance Tent, instead of on the Main Stage.
But Saturday’s weather was the exact opposite: perfectly clear and breezy, with temperatures in the upper 70s and not a cloud in the sky.
Amy Yudaken and Ashley Leedberg, both 22, of Saco were in attendance with a big group of friends, most of whom were regular KahBang-goers. After riding the Gravitron and the Zipline — two attractions that, along with the Ferris wheel, were free with a KahBang VIP pass — they were primed and ready to enjoy the evening’s headliners, which included alternative rapper Earl Sweatshirt, a member of the Odd Future hip-hop collective.
“What I love about it is the fact that there are so many great artists actually here,” said Leedberg. “Instead of going south, they’re here. I like just seeing all these different people. I loved Gentlemen Hall earlier, they were so much fun.”
“I haven’t been to a festival over a year, so I definitely had to come to this one,” said Yudaken, who attended last year’s festival as well. “And my friend [Portland rapper] Lady Essence will be performing at Tantrum later, so I’ve definitely got to go see that.”
In addition to the music and the rides, there was a wide array of other attractions. On Friday, the What’s Next Conference, organized by the Bangor Daily News, was held in a clear-span temporary structure, which was protected from the rain. It brought multiple panelists and speakers from all over the country to Bangor to lead technology and business discussions on topics such as social media, app development, marketing and branding.
The KahBang Brew Fest, sponsored in part by Nocturnem Drafthaus and Central Street Farmhouse, attracted hundreds of beer lovers who sipped specialty brews from Maine and national breweries, and to listen to music from the likes of Spencer Albee, the Ghost of Paul Revere and Worried Well.
W.A. Bean & Sons Meats, from Bangor, served up their new speciality chicken sausage at the Brew Fest, made with Bangor’s own Geaghan Brothers Brewery beer.
“It’s a great opportunity to let people see what we do,” said Sean Smith, head of marketing for W.A. Beans.
Vendors ranging from Bangor visual artist Pigeon to Portland-based Fast Food Prints, a mobile screenprinting company, were selling their wares. Coast to Coast Vintage, a Connecticut-based vintage clothing store that operates out of a restored 1976 Serro Scotty trailer, brought their hand-selected duds to KahBang after being contacted by festival organizers over the spring. Owners Jaimee Dormer and Adam Lodynsky have spent the past four months traveling the country, going to festivals, flea markets and other events.
“We’ve been able to meet so many people and have some pretty amazing adventures, all over the country,” said Lodynsky, who will bring their shop to Portland’s Flea-For-All on Kennebec Street on Sunday.
The fun continued into the night, with late night performances at bars around town, and an early-morning dance party at the KahBang Campsite, in Hermon near the Sports Arena.
“One of the things I love about KahBang is that you can just dance and dance, all day and all night,” said Cody Landry, 20, of Kittery, who attended last year’s festival as well. “You can party and listen to awesome music and be with cool people. It’s awesome.”