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American Folk Festival announces first 2016 acts

April 6, 2016
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BANGOR The American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront has released the names of the first several artists scheduled to appear at the three-day event in August. Announced cultures include Western Swing, Bluegrass, Portuguese, Salsa, Prince Edward Island, Sri Lanka dance, and Jazz. All seven performers being announced today will be first-time performers at the American Folk Festival.

"This year marks the 15thFestival on the Bangor Waterfront," said Heather McCarthy, Executive Director of the American Folk Festival. "The lineup will be a mix of new performers and some returning favorites from the 15-year history. This community has embraced a festival that has drawn more than 1.5 million people over the last 14 years. We're very excited to present the 15thedition this August."

With 2016 marking the 15thAmerican Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront, organizers are not only excited about this year's edition, but are looking back at the festival's beginnings.

'While there were plenty of people looking at the opportunity of the National Folk Festival in 2002 as a chance to show off Eastern Maine and to succeed, I don't think anybody could have foreseen how this festival and our waterfront have evolved,' said American Folk Festival Board Chair Richard Fournier. 'Since 2002, we have seen 290 performing groups representing 152 different cultures, an economic impact of $238 million, and more than $1.3 million in bucket brigade donations. Simply amazing.'

Fournier noted that the hard work of many has gone into the festival. Fournier specifically noted the 'rock-solid' partnership with the City of Bangor that has kept the festival strong.

'To me, this is something that shows where this city is headed,' said Bangor City Council Chair Sean Faircloth. 'There are key puzzle pieces that happen over the course of history of the last 20 years. This was a lynchpin of what we have seen as far as the renaissance of the city in recent times. It's my honor to be here to follow in a long chain of Mayors and City Councils that have been in support of this.'

Fournier also credited the hundreds of volunteers who make the Festival a premiere event year-after-year.

'We are assigned one of the performers for the weekend, and our job is to make sure they get to the stage on time,' said Deb Neuman, a longtime volunteer at the American Folk Festival who most recently has been an 'artist buddy' at the Festival, and is also current president of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce. 'We also just make sure they are taken care of and they have what they need. What I love most about it is that I get to see our community through their eyes.'

The artists announced are:

Michael Mwenso & The Shakes featuring Brianna Thomas (jazz revue); Michael Cleveland (bluegrass fiddler); The East Pointers(traditional music from Prince Edward Island); Nathalie Pires(traditional fado music); Gerarde Contino y Los Harbaneros(Cuban singer/songwriter); The Western Flyers(western swing); and The National Women's Dance Troupe of Sri Lanka.

These artists are just the first of the lineup of artists who will perform at the American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront on August 26 - 28.

The American Folk Festival celebrates the roots, the richness and the variety of American culture through music, dance, traditional crafts, storytelling and food. The Festival is supported entirely by public donations that make it possible to continue to present the Festival in our community.

For more information about these acts or the rest of the 2016 American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront, please visitwww.americanfolkfestival.comor call207-262-7763.

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