From the community

River Jam Festival in Biddeford

Posted Sept. 01, 2014, at 12:50 p.m.
BIDDEFORD, Maine — Downtown Biddeford will play host to the inaugural River Jam Festival, a weekend of music Sept. 26-28, sponsored by the Heart of Biddeford.
The weekend will include an all-day Outdoor Stage on Saturday, music events during Friday night’s ArtWalk, the third annual Oak and the Ax Fest, as well as a Fringe Fest with music in many downtown venues throughout the weekend.
The Heart of Biddeford is partnering with the Oak and the Ax, the Pepperell Mill Campus, Engine, City Theater and the University of New England to host the weekend.
The highlight will be Saturday’s Outdoor Stage on York Street on the Pepperell Mill Campus, where headliner Lady Lamb the Beekeeper will be joined by regional roots rock favorites like Kingsley Flood, the What Cheer? Brigade, Samuel James, Amy & the Engine, and many more. Music and kids events during the day (including “Chalk While You Rock”) will be free and open to the public. A $5 gate charge will apply after 5:30 p.m.
The River Jam Festival was designed to coincide with the third annual Oak and the Ax Fest, where bands play all weekend inside the intimate venue at 140 Main Street. Owners Greg Jamie and Kristin Kellas helped create the concept for the River Jam Festival and booked the Outdoor Stage headlining bands.
During the day on the Main Stage, bands that appeal to families will be featured, along with kids’ activities (bungee jumping, pony rides, and a community chalk mural in a nod to the long-running “Chalk on the Walk” event). There will be a food truck rodeo and, in the evening, Banded Horn Brewery will join the fun.
“This event will appeal to families, locals, and visitors of all ages, plus we really expect to draw the under-35 crowd,” says Heart of Biddeford Executive Director, Delilah Poupore. “Events like this create a sense of community as well as bring revenue to the businesses here. They also send a message to younger adults that we want them to come visit, as well as live and work here in Biddeford. That’s one of the reasons that the Pepperell Mill Campus, University of New England, and Southern Maine Health Care (York County’s largest employer) are behind this.”
University of New England’s Dean of Students, Mark Nahorney sees the importance of events like this for the University and for the broader community, “The University is pleased to have been an early and dedicated supporter of the River Jam Fest as well as all arts events in Biddeford.” Doug Sanford of the Pepperell Mill Campus agrees. “Having activities that attract a young educated potential workforce, who understand the responsibilities of giving back to their communities, is paramount to the success of Biddeford. Events like the River Jam Festival are part of the reason why Biddeford is becoming the place for young adults to live, work, and grow their families.
The Heart of Biddeford is grateful to local businesses who are willing to get behind these events. “Biddeford Savings has been our Chalk on the Walk sponsor for many years, and they were game to get behind this new event,” says Poupore. Charles Peterson, the bank’s President says, “The River Jam Festival is another example of the energy that is contributing to the rebirth of this wonderful, historic city. By offering the communities of southern Maine a compelling reason to visit the downtown area, events like the River Jam Festival contribute to the vitality of the restaurants, shops and service providers that have chosen to invest here. We expect to see an increasing amount of economic activity like this in the future as Biddeford becomes more of a destination.”
The Festival Sponsors are Biddeford Savings, Southern Maine Health Care, and P&C Insurance, along with supporting sponsorships from Saco Biddeford Savings Institution, Biddeford’s Downtown Development Commission, Dispatch Magazine, and Suger/angelrox.
The Heart of Biddeford in partnership with the City of Biddeford, the business community, property owners, and residents, fosters economic development and improves the downtown and quality of life within its boundaries by supporting existing businesses, attracting new businesses, promoting the downtown through events and working to beautify the urban core. Information about the festival and bands can be found at www/heartofbiddeford.org andwww.BiddefordRiverJamFestival.com (website will be live 9/3/14). To set up an interview or receive contact information for festival partners and sponsors, please contact Delilah Poupore, Heart of Biddeford, 207-284-8520 or emaildirector@heartofbiddeford.org.

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