PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — An event geared toward advancing the arts in the community will kick off next week in an effort to fill downtown with music.
Carol Ayoob, cultural affairs director at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, is organizing the second annual Music in the Park series. It will run from July 19 to Aug. 9.
The free concert series will include four consecutive shows this summer. Each Sunday afternoon performance will feature an opening and main act.
“We have cut the festival back this year, in part because we did not receive any grant money,” Ayoob said Thursday. “But we are going to have a performance every Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. in Riverside Park.”
Major sponsors of the event include UMPI, the Presque Isle Savings Bank of Maine, PNM Construction, MMG Insurance and the Presque Isle Downtown Revitalization Committee.
Ayoob said that several acts are lined up this year, including David Mallett, a premier singer and songwriter in the state. The festival also will feature Shamou, a Persian drummer and percussionist.
Other acts include Pat Pepin, a saxophonist, blues singer and bandleader and The Travis Cyr Project, a trio of folk musicians from Aroostook County and the Portland area.
Food vendors will be on-site offering snacks and drinks.
Ayoob said that last year’s event was successful, bringing 150 to 350 people to each show.
The Music in the Park series was offered for the first time last year largely thanks to a $7,500 grant from the Maine Arts Commission. Local donations and sponsorships also helped to cover the costs of the $10,000 series.
This year, all the funding for the event is being raised through donations and sponsorships.
“We are going to do a bucket brigade like they do at the [American] Folk Festival in Bangor,” Ayoob said Thursday. “And any extra donations we receive will be put towards next year, because we are already thinking about next year.”
In case of bad weather, the concerts will be held in UMPI’s Campus Center. Even if the show is indoors, concertgoers are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and blankets.
If you would like to be a Music in the Park sponsor or make a contribution toward the free concerts, call Carol Ayoob at 768-5903.