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It’s funny how something as ordinary as hearing a new song on the radio can send a person burrowing down a rabbit hole so rich with hidden trails and secret passageways, he’s still there decades later savoring every moment.

Phish is currently on a 26-date summer tour and will soon arrive in Bangor to play back-to-back shows at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 25 and 26.

Most every fan in attendance will have a different story about what brought them to Phish (insert Volkswagen Minibus joke here). Oh yeah, Phish fans have to put up with a lot of crap. It’s all good, man. We can take it.

The moment I received a message from The Maine Edge’s resident Super Genius assignment editor Allen Adams asking me to share the story of my path to Phish, I began compiling a list of details.

(Editor’s note: I’ve been looking for an excuse to have Mike go long on Phish for years; his passion for the band is palpable. With the band’s return to Bangor, I got what I wanted – and you all are getting something special.)

This is how I came to Phish and why I hope to never leave.

There’s a lot going on in the summertime here in Maine.

There’s all of the outdoors stuff, of course. There are mountains to be climbed and trails to be hiked. There are oceans and lakes and rivers begging to be swum in or kayaked or sailed upon. There’s even the nigh-ubiquitous ritual of heading “upta camp,” where you can do some, most or even all of these things depending on where you go.

Or if you’re leaning towards the arts, there are a multitude of options for you to take in, whether you’re looking for concerts or live theatre or film festivals. There’s a whole lot on that side of things as well.

But you might not be as familiar with just how many food-based festivals are happening all around the state of Maine over the course of the summer. These events – some taking place in just a single day, others clocking in at a week or longer – are devoted to celebrating various foodstuffs that are inherent and integral parts of life here in Vacationland.

Every summer, we here at The Maine Edge look to offer our readers a preview of a few of the phenomenal food experiences our great state has to offer. Here’s a look at just some of what’s to come.

Tuesday, 04 June 2019 15:44

Lay all your love on PTC’s ‘Mamma Mia!’

Written by Allen Adams

BANGOR – This summer, Penobscot Theatre Company is asking you to take a chance on them.

PTC will be closing out its 45th season with a production of “Mamma Mia!” This jukebox musical is based on the music of Swedish pop royalty ABBA, bringing loads of the quartet’s beloved songs onto the stage. From June 13 through July 14, the Bangor Opera House will be transformed into an idyllic Greek paradise, hosting a wedding about to be upended by unanticipated parental confusion – as in, who’s the father?

Producing Artistic Director Bari Newport continues to find the fun in this summer slot, bringing what will undoubtedly be a breezy delight to area theatergoers.

In advance of this month-long theatrical treat, we reached out to Amiee Turner, the show’s director and choreographer, to speak to her about the experience. Turner has a rich and varied theatrical background, having started her career as a Broadway dancer, dancing in half-a-dozen Broadway shows. She transitioned into directing and choreographing from there. In the years since, she’s helmed over 50 productions and produced about 70.

Turner was kind enough to answer a few questions from The Maine Edge.

Once again, summer’s arrival is upon us. The weather is warming up and the days are approaching their greatest length. People near and far are going to descend on our state’s beaches, mountains and forests; people are going to swim and hike and boat and generally experience the outdoors in a fashion that one can only achieve in Maine.

But there are other summertime perks, too.

For those who love live theater, there are loads of options. Companies near and far are bringing exciting work to stages all over the region; no matter where you might be, there’s a good chance that you’ve got some excellent theater happening nearby.

Some of these companies are stalwarts of the scene, having been around for decades. Others are relative newcomers, bringing a new energy to the proceedings. Bangor, Belfast, Bar Harbor, Blue Hill, Brooksville – they’ve all got something for you; Orono and Ellsworth and Stonington too.

It’s well worth your time to experience some of what our area’s summer stages have to offer. Here’s a look at just some of what’s to come.

If you haven’t already heard of Gillian French, well … it’s just a matter of time.

The Maine author’s latest offering is “The Missing Season.” It is her fourth YA novel – her previous works are “Grit,” “The Door to January” and “The Lies They Tell” – and one for which she will likely receive levels of acclaim similar to (if not greater than) those achieved by those earlier books.

It’s a wonderful piece of work, one that once again demonstrates French’s taut prose and storytelling acumen.

(Editor’s note: Check out our full review of “The Missing Season” elsewhere on the site.)

Ahead of the release of “The Missing Season,” French was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions from The Maine Edge. The author shares thoughts regarding the craft of writing, her process and – of course – her new book.

BELFAST – Maine’s many musical roads are once again converging on the midcoast.

The All Roads Music Festival is returning to Belfast on May 17 and 18, bringing one of the state’s largest collections of Maine-based musical talent into one place for two jam-packed days of sonic celebration. Spread across five different venues, All Roads is playing host to over 30 acts and something like 150 individual musicians. It’s a scene unlike any other in the state – one fully and utterly devoted to putting forward a cross-section of what Maine’s music scene has to offer.

There will be music from across all genres – whatever you like, you’re almost certainly going to be able to find it on one festival stage or another. In addition, All Roads is playing host to the always-wildly-successful Maine Songwriters Circle, where a group of talented songwriters get together and share a little of their collected collective wisdom.

For tickets, a full schedule or more information about the festival, visit the All Roads website at www.allroadsmusicfest.org.

Wednesday, 08 May 2019 11:20

Celebrating four decades of The Dogs!

Written by Mike Dow

One of Maine’s most enduring musical ensembles is celebrating a milestone this year as The Dogs commemorate 40 years as a band by recording new music for the first time since the late 1980s.

Meanwhile, The Dogs’ concert schedule is busier today than it has been in years, thanks in part to the three most recent members to join the band.

The Dogs’ lineup in 2019 features the band’s two founding members – lead guitarist Curt Bruton and drummer Buddy Adams – along with bassist and business manager Walter Stanley, guitarist and vocalist Rich Stacey and vocalist Cheryl Oliver, the first female member of The Dogs in the 40-year history of the band.

Wednesday, 01 May 2019 10:01

Previewing the cinematic summer: 19 for 2019

Written by Allen Adams

We begin this now-annual tradition as we always do: with the caveat that it seems a bit silly to be writing a summer movie preview so far in advance of summer.

Still, Hollywood has undeniably extended the season, turning the beginning of May into our summer starting point, so if we’re going to catalog the blockbusters, then this is where we start.

Although if we’re going to be real about it, the biggest movie of the year has already happened – “Avengers: Endgame” just had the biggest box office opening ever, clocking well over a billion dollars worldwide.

(Note: You can check out my review right in this very edition. If you’re reading this in print, you passed it on the way here.)

But while the biggest may have already landed, there’s still plenty to be excited about.

2018 has plenty of what we’ve come to expect from blockbuster season – plenty of sequels and a bunch of remake/reboot-type offerings and some superheroes, along with animated fare, a smattering of comedies, some kiddie flicks and maybe a horror picture or two. It’s not like we don’t know how it works.

Honestly, there’s a LOT of what we’ve seen before. But hey – familiarity isn’t always a bad thing. Let’s have a look at what the summer of 2019 has to offer.

(Please note: this not a list of the 19 best films, but rather an attempt at a representative sample of what’s coming. There are movies that I expect to enjoy that aren’t here and movies I expect to actively dislike that are. Still, it looks like there’s something for everyone.)

Wednesday, 24 April 2019 12:19

Independent Bookstore Day marks fifth year

Written by Allen Adams

A celebration of independent bookstores is marking its fifth year.

Independent Bookstore Day (or Indie Bookstore Day) began life in 2014 as California Bookstore Day before expanding into a more nationally-oriented event the following year.

IBD lands on the last Saturday in April – April 27 this year. It’s a time when many bookstores will feature special items, author signings and other events as they participate in the festivities and embrace the joys of the indie bookseller. You can find out more at www.indiebookstoreday.com.

If Independent Bookstore Day seems reminiscent of last weekend’s Record Store Day, there’s a very good reason for that. The initial California celebration was actually inspired by the ongoing success displayed by Record Store Day.

In honor of Independent Bookstore Day – and independent bookstores everywhere – we thought it appropriate to chat with some of the folks at Downtown Bangor’s beloved bookstore The Briar Patch about what draws someone to the book business, what a bookstore can mean to a community and even a reading recommendation or two.

Briar Patch owner Gibran Graham and bookseller Abby Rice were kind enough to answer a few questions ahead of the celebration – The Briar Patch will have a number of IBD-exclusive items on hand from 10 a.m. on – and share with us some of their thoughts.

(Please note: The Briar Patch is only one of the many quality independent bookstores that are scattered all over our state, each of which possessed of its own unique character and a similar devotion to the business of the printed page.)

BREWER – One of the region’s entertainment mainstays is turning 10.

Improv comedy troupe The Focus Group is marking its 10-year anniversary with a celebratory performance. “Our Big Dumb Decade” will take place on April 19 at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer – the longtime home of the group. The show starts at 8 p.m.; tickets are $5.

The show will feature members of the group both past and present, as well as a number of special guests who have shared the stage with the Focus Group at various times over the past decade.

(Editor’s note: In the interest of full disclosure, the writer of this story – and this note – is a founding member of The Focus Group. He is also not even a little bit sorry to be taking advantage of his position to promote this auspicious anniversary.)

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