The 2014 American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront begins in 10 days, and organizers are putting the finishing touches on everything, from the schedule to the volunteer shifts to the beer. Yes, the beer.
That’s something AFF media coordinator Dan Cashman is particularly proud of.
“We’re going to be offering more Maine craft beer than ever, including Black Bear, Geaghan’s, Penobscot Bay, Belfast Bay and even the Sea Dog’s new, specially brewed Folk Festival Ale,” Cashman said. “We’re partnering with the (Greater Bangor) Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to offer a beer sampler at the Railroad Stage. It’s clear that craft beer is something Bangor audiences love, so it’s a natural addition.”
Beer is just one small element of the organizing, however. As always, the AFF relies entirely on donations from the community to pull off the three-day event each year. This year, several successful fundraising events helped offset some of that deficit, including the first ever Color Bangor event, which took place April 26, attracted more than 1,700 runners and raised more than $35,000 for the festival.
Nevertheless, Executive Director Heather McCarthy again renewed the festival’s yearly plea for donations to the bucket brigade.
“We’re always looking for new ways to make the festival a year-round part of the community, but a huge part of making this happen each year are those bucket brigade donations,” McCarthy said. “We suggest $10 per person, per day. A lot hinges on it every year.”
McCarthy also said they were still looking for more volunteers to fill out the remaining 200 shifts. Typically there are about 800 four-hour shifts each year. And while many have been filled this year, there are still spots left.
“We are eagerly recruiting new people all the time,” McCarthy said. “We can even sign people up on site, the day of, right at the entrance to the Railroad Stage. It’s a lot of fun.”
Aside from the logistical challenges organizers maneuver around each year, this year’s AFF is once again poised to be a laid-back celebration of music, food and community.
“We’re lucky enough that this year’s festival is coming on the heels of the World Acadian Congress up north, so we’re getting acts like Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, who have been able to make a little tour of Maine out of this year,” McCarthy said. “This is also the first time we’ve been able to feature music from the Persian Gulf and music from Cape Verde, right alongside festival favorites like gospel and blues and bluegrass. It’s shaping up to be another great year.”