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Penobscot Music Festival returns

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Fourth annual festival set for May 28 at new venue

BANGOR - The fourth annual Penobscot Music Festival, a celebration of the greater Bangor area’s live music scene, is set for Sunday, May 28, from 2 p.m. – 10 p.m. at the Anah Shriner’s building, 1404 Broadway in Bangor.

The festival’s location for the past three years has been Jeff’s Catering in Brewer.

“The people at Jeff’s Catering have been amazing to work with,” said festival organizer Vinny Cormier, leader of headlining band Dakota. “I think people will like the new venue too. It makes sense to hold the festival at the Shriner’s building because all of the money we raise will go to the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children.”

“The Shriners know what they’re doing when it comes to raising money for great causes,” Cormier continued. “That’s what they do and they are very good at it. It made sense to turn the reins over to them and I’m grateful that they want to keep the name Penobscot Music Festival.”

According to Cormier, admission to the festival will be by donation.

“Any amount that people will want to donate will get them in,” he said. “This keeps the festival affordable for everyone and we’re hoping that people who can afford to donate a little more will do it.” 

The concert is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. sharp with each of the lineup’s eight bands performing a 55-minute set. 

“As one band is playing, the next one will set up,” Cormier continued. “The stage in the Anah Shriner’s building is enormous, probably big enough for four bands, with a big dance floor in front of it.”

Cormier said that he approached the Shriners earlier this year about taking over the festival.

“I told them that if they take it on, I’ll provide the entertainment,” Cormier told me. “We have things planned for the brief time between bands, including 50/50 raffles and door prizes.”

A cash bar and food will be catered by Rollie’s Bar & Grill of Belfast.

Cormier says he is proud that the Penobscot Music Festival has been raising money to help children’s charities from the beginning. 

“From the start, the money generated by this festival has gone to help kids – whether it was for the Autism Society, Children’s Miracle Network or Make a Wish, it’s always been about the kids and I’m glad that it will continue helping kids by raising money for the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital,” Cormier told me.

The lineup for this year’s edition of Penobscot Music Festival features eight Maine bands. I asked Cormier to give me a brief take on each of them.

2 p.m.Tune Squad – “I’ve heard they’re a very tight band.” (Tune Squad describe themselves as Alternative Blues Rock.)

3 p.m. – Midnight Rose – “From country to classic rock, they’re a very versatile band.”

4 p.m. – LiveWire – “Hardcore rockers.”

5 p.m. – Right Out Straight - “Meat and potatoes, straight ahead rock.”

6 p.m. – ShyBoy – “A classy rock and roll band. My son and I are big fans of those guys.”

7 p.m. – Alison Ames Band – “Very classy. Great musicians in the whole band.”

8 p.m. – Overdrive – “A solid as a rock, hardcore band.”

9 p.m. – Dakota - “Right now, Dakota is on fire. This is the best lineup I’ve ever been in after more than 30 years of the band.”

Cormier says he wants local music fans to come out, have a good time and enjoy a celebration of the area’s growing live music scene with friends and family.

“It’s Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and people probably have the next day off,” Cormier says. “It’s a great time, a great cause and we’re all really excited about this one. We’re also grateful to have a head start in donations from many great area businesses. Once they hear that the Shriners have taken this on, they whip out the checkbook. Everyone knows about the amazing work that the Shriners for our kids.” 

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