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Early tally: $118,000 donated at American Folk Festival; down from 2012

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Jim Poole of Kenduskeag (right) drops money into a donation bucket held by festival volunteer David Pelkey during the 2012 American Folk Festival in Bangor on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012.
By Emily Burnham, BDN Staff

Early tallies revealed Wednesday show that donations made to the American Folk Festival during the weekend of the event are down from 2012, but organizers noted that coin contributions still have to be counted.

According to a Wednesday press release, the early donation totals show that festival goers “kicked in” more than $118,000 to the Bucket Brigade during last weekend’s event on the Bangor waterfront. Final financial figures will not be available until December, which is the end of the festival’s fiscal year. The preliminary 2013 numbers are down approximately $13,000 from 2012, when $131,912 was dropped into donation buckets. The highest donation year ever was in 2010, when attendees contributed $170,673.

“Beyond the finances, what is most important to us is that people enjoyed the festival,” said 2013 American Folk Festival board Chairman Rick Fournier. “We are hearing so many comments from people who were impressed with one particular act, or the overall pool of musical talent at this year’s festival; we’re hearing from people who loved the children’s area; we’re hearing from people who experienced a new culture for the first time; we’re hearing from craftspeople who saw a record year. We had great weather, great crowds, and I think Bangor had a heck of a good time.”

The festival this year featured a different physical layout, including moving the children’s area to a more centrally located spot next to the Penobscot Stage, a smaller Railroad Stage set in its original location and switching the position of the Dance Pavilion so that the beer area faced the front entryway. According to festival Executive Director Heather McCarthy, these changes were generally well-received.

“People were really excited about the return to our original-sized Railroad Stage, and they loved the new genres of music that we have not featured before in Bangor,” McCarthy said. “We’ve heard so many positive comments in the immediate days following the festival, that it’s hard to not already get excited about 2014.”

Numbers on the overall attendance of this year’s festival are not yet available, though according to Wednesday’s press release, they figure in the tens of thousands. The 2014 American Folk Festival on the Bangor waterfront is set for Aug. 22-24.

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