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Maine Edge readers to cite 10 Best Waterfront Concerts from 10 great seasons

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It’s hard to believe that more than a decade has passed since the greater Bangor area’s entertainment landscape was transformed by the rise of Waterfront Concerts and Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion.

To celebrate this milestone, The Maine Edge is asking readers to share their picks for the 10 best shows presented at the venue since it opened. One winner, selected at random, will receive a prize package including ticket vouchers to exchange for an upcoming show of the winner’s choice courtesy of Waterfront Concerts.

Waterfront Concerts staged its first show at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion on July 27, 2010, with a performance by the Irish music ensemble Celtic Woman. Since then, the company has presented hundreds of shows featuring the top touring acts in rock, country, pop, metal, top 40, blues, folk and comedy. From Phish to Kenny Chesney, Van Halen to Willie Nelson and Jimmy Buffet to Rob Zombie, the venue has presented a stunning lineup of the biggest names in live performance, while also introducing audiences to up and coming artists before their career breakthrough.

Waterfront Concerts’ founder and owner, Alex Gray, says he remembers the naysayers who said that a Bangor-based concert venue would never work.

“Conventional wisdom said this had to be in southern Maine at the very least, and many thought it wouldn’t work at all in the state,” Gray said during an interview with The Maine Edge.

Gray recalls that when he and his team began putting together plans for what became Waterfront Concerts back in 2008 and 2009, Maine’s entertainment prospects looked considerably different than they did 10 years later.

“Portland had the Cumberland County Civic Center, but it was old and didn’t have a lot of the modern frills of new buildings, so acts were passing us by,” Gray said. “Maine was kind of an afterthought, and it wasn’t a place where most acts came to play.”

That began to change with the rise of Waterfront Concerts, and the ability to host top-tier artists at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, especially after the venue’s renovations and subsequent expansion for the 2013 season which pushed maximum audience capacity from 10,000 to nearly 16,000.

“When we created this with help from the city and the fans, the talk in town suddenly turned from the Red Sox and hot-stove baseball to ‘Who’s coming to Bangor this season?’ We see that as a kind of reward and a feather in the cap to develop this in a period when most thought we couldn’t.”

And what do the artists themselves think about the reception they receive from Maine’s concertgoers?

“The artist leaves here amazed at the energy of the crowd and the genuine nature of the people here,” Gray said. “Artists will walk off saying ‘Wow, that was crazy,’ commenting on the amount of love given to them by the fans. This is not just another venue to them.”

2020 would have marked the 11th season of Waterfront Concerts at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion. Since the pandemic silenced virtually every concert venue in America, the impact has been devastating for the industry, WFC included. It’s still a little early to know for certain if or when mass-gatherings will be possible this year, but there are indications of hope, and Gray will discuss those signs in an upcoming issue.

Let’s celebrate an incredible decade of entertainment in the Queen City by selecting the 10 best shows from 10 great seasons of Waterfront Concerts at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion. Which shows were your favorites and why? Send your picks to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

One winner, selected at random, will receive two ticket vouchers good for an upcoming show of the winner’s choice, a 10th anniversary Waterfront Concerts hoodie, and a premium seats water bottle, courtesy of Waterfront Concerts. Your picks for the best WFC shows of all time will be featured in an upcoming issue of The Maine Edge.

Last modified on Wednesday, 10 March 2021 06:24

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