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Guster’s fourth ‘On the Ocean’ festival to draw thousands to Maine Aug. 12 - 14 Featured

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Guster performs at Thompson's Point in Portland during the band's third "On the Ocean" Maine festival in 2019. The band will host the fourth edition of the event from August 12 to August 14 in Portland and in Fayette. Guster performs at Thompson's Point in Portland during the band's third "On the Ocean" Maine festival in 2019. The band will host the fourth edition of the event from August 12 to August 14 in Portland and in Fayette. (Photo by Matt Cosby)

PORTLAND – Music, food, fun and surprises await thousands of Guster fans during the band’s fourth annual “On the Ocean” festival, set for August 12 to August 14 in Portland and Fayette. The destination weekend is scheduled to include two unique concerts in Portland, as well as an intimate day-camp experience hosted by the band.

Guster formed in 1991 after the band members met at Tufts University. They celebrated their 30th anniversary last year with a sold-out concert backed by the Colorado Symphony. The members of Guster include lead singer Ryan Miller, guitarist Adam Gardner, drummer Brian Rosenworcel and bassist and guitarist Luke Reynolds. 

The 2022 edition of Guster’s “On the Ocean” festival will mark the first such event since 2019 due to the pandemic. Previous editions have included a pop-up concert on an island, a set performed on a party boat, comedy, bike trips, a “Guster Storytellers” event and an afternoon of baseball with the Portland Sea Dogs.

Guitarist (and Portland resident) Adam Gardner says his band’s “On the Ocean” festival is as much about Maine as it is the band and its fans.

“On the Ocean is about celebrating everything Maine has to offer in the prime of summer which I think is the best time to be in one of the best places there is,” he said.

The fan-focused weekend will begin on Friday, August 12, when Guster performs a sold-out acoustic concert at the State Theatre in Portland, the venue where the band recorded two shows in December 2003 that were later released on CD and DVD as “Guster on Ice: Live From Portland, Maine.”

During the State Theatre concert, Guster will be accompanied by a septet of strings, horns and woodwinds. Gardner says the band is no stranger to playing acoustic shows but adds that this one will be different.

“Every time we plan ‘On the Ocean,’ we ask ourselves ‘How can we make this extra special? How do we keep this interesting for people who’ve gone before?’ It really is amazing to perform with a string section. We did one recently in Nashville and another last weekend in Salt Lake. We’ve done something semi-similar with our acoustic tour but never quite like this.”

Folk, Americana and alt-rock singer and songwriter Josh Ritter will open the evening with a solo set.

“On the Ocean” moves to Thompson’s Point in Portland on Saturday, August 13, for what Gardner says will be “the big rock show.” Guster will headline the concert that evening following a mix of national and local support acts selected by the band, a fan Q&A, programming for kids, live karaoke and surprises.

Tickets for Saturday’s concert are still available at www.Guster.com but the more intimate Friday and Sunday events have sold out. Adult tickets are $55 in advance/$60 day of show. Kids tickets are priced at $10.

Support acts during the concert at Thompson’s Point will include South Carolina folk duo Shovels & Rope, singer and songwriter Amythyst Kiah, indie-folk band Darlingside and singer and songwriter Pete Kilpatrick.

Gardner said he’s excited to see all of the support acts and adds that having Pete Kilpatrick involved is especially meaningful to him.

“Pete was the first person I met when I moved to Portland years ago,” Gardner said. “We’re old friends and I’m really excited that he’ll be joining us for this.”

Gardner has lived in Portland for nearly two decades and says his band’s “On the Ocean” events are a chance for him to introduce fans to his favorite restaurants, locally crafted beers and coffees.

“From the day I moved to Maine I knew I would live out my days here,” Gardner said. “A lot of our fans have really become our friends so for me I’m excited for them all just to be here.”

Gardner said he’s excited about his band’s latest collaboration with Mast Landing Brewing Company of Westbrook. The brewery has crafted a Guster-themed hoppy pale ale which will be available at the band’s shows and at the brewery’s tasting room during the destination weekend.

Gardner says he’s a frequent patron of Po’Boys & Pickles, a Forest Ave. sandwich shop. The eatery has come up with a special Guster-themed sandwich for “On the Ocean.”

“We just did a photo shoot where you see me shoving a vegetarian fried pickle po’ boy in my face and it was delicious,” Gardner said with a laugh.

Fans at the Thompson’s Point show will have no shortage of dining options thanks to the numerous food trucks that will set up shop for the day, including Falafel Mafia, On A Roll, Mama Baldacci’s, Mainely Burgers, (kid friendly) PB&ME, Gouda Boys, Cheese the Day, and Mr. Tuna.

On Sunday, August 14, Guster will wrap “On the Ocean” by hosting “Camp Guster” at Camp Winnebago in Fayette for several hundred fans and their kids. The band is planning to serve as camp counselors for an afternoon of traditional camp games followed by an acoustic concert and sing-along by the campfire.

Gardner says he actually was a camp counselor at one time, adding it was the only other job he’s ever had, aside from his life in the band and as director of REVERB, a Portland-based non-profit environmental organization created to engage musicians and fans to promote environmental sustainability.

“Years ago, I was a camp counselor and a lifeguard,” Gardner said, adding “I’m not up to date on certifications but I do know CPR.”

Gardner said it was important for the band to include some kid-friendly activities for the weekend since many of the band’s fans have children.

Guster has a history with Camp Winnebago. It was there during a songwriting retreat in one of the camp’s cabins that the four musicians collaborated on a number of songs for their 2019 album “Look Alive.”

As for Guster’s ninth studio album, Gardner confirmed that the band has recently been recording.

“We have cut some tracks and we’re in the process now of finishing some of the songs,” he said. “All I can say about a release date is that it will be out as soon as possible.”

Gardner says he feels a tangible celebratory vibe at every Guster concert these days and says he believes it’s something most performing artists are seeing following the pandemic’s enforced downtime when live performances weren’t possible.

“I think everyone’s shows have that feeling to them, not just Guster’s,” Gardner said. There’s sort of this extra celebratory energy around it. We’ve noticed that on our regular touring dates outside of this festival.”

Gardner says “On the Ocean” has always had a fan focus and adds that he is grateful for their continued support and energy.

“We couldn’t do what we do without the fans and that’s a huge part of what ‘On the Ocean’ is about. It’s not just come see Guster, come see Maine, but come see each other. I really think a lot of fans come to see each other as much as they do us. That’s really cool and it’s been amazing to see the community that has been built around this band. A lot of what we do for this festival is to facilitate that.”

Last modified on Saturday, 06 August 2022 17:19

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