June 21, 2018
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Portland to throw a public picnic party of music, arts, food

By Kathleen Pierce, BDN Staff

PORTLAND, Maine — On Saturday, more than 100 vendors — from upcycled clothiers to letterpress cardmakers to sterling silversmiths — plus a roster of up-and-coming bands will take over Lincoln Park for the free outdoor Picnic Music and Arts Festival.

“It’s not a traditional craft fair, it has more of a punk esthetic,” said Amy Teh, who came up with the concept six years ago with her husband Noah DeFilippis.

The couple, who run Pinecone+Chickadee on Free Street, felt Portland was ready for a Do-It-Yourself craftopia. The festival that takes over Lincoln Park has not strayed far from its roots.

“We wanted people to come hang out all day in the grass,” said Teh.

So they corralled a few of their favorite makers and musicians into a list of participating artisans that swells over 100.

“It’s all handmade stuff. A couple vendors are selling vintage items. It’s a very diverse group,” said Teh.

Like a good picnic, there’s plenty to sample. And the live music stage is an eclectic spread.

“From indie rock to experimental to punk rock and everything inbetween. There’s lots of overlap,” said Bryan Bruchman of HillyTown, a Portland-based music website, who books the bands for the makeshift stage.

This year, popular Portland tunesmiths Forget Forget and Contrapposto as well as upstarts such as Leveret create the soundtrack to the urban scene. While not a definitive showcase of the Forest City sound, Bruchman acknowledges that it’s pretty close.

“This year it’s a little more toward newer bands. I try and pick a sampling of stuff that’s local,” he said. “There are no cover bands. It’s all original music.”

But that doesn’t mean this is for hipsters only. Spread out your blanket and find a tree.

“It will be mellow in the morning, family friendly in the afternoon and heavier at night,” said Bruchman.

The best way to sample Picnic, say those in the know, is a la carte.

“Some people show up early, go to work and come back. It’s a whole range. It’s a free festival so anyone can come and go. There are no restrictions,” said Bruchman.

Food has a wider presence this year with Verbena in South Portland, Coffee by Design and the El Corazon food truck at the park to help fill your picnic basket.

Picnic Music and Arts Festival will be held 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, at Lincoln Park on Congress and Franklin streets in Portland. The event is free.

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