Another Year in the Books

Guest post by Kelsey Johns

The tents are packed away and many of the performers are on their way to the next stage. The American Folk Festival has wrapped up a thirteenth year and is declaring it to be a success!

The Waterfront began to attract a gathering late Friday afternoon, and soon grew into a massive crowd to watch the Chinese Folk Art Workshop and parade. The parade was complete with dancing, a dragon, the L.L. Bean Bootmobile, and festival-goers tagging along to the end. The festival kept a great show going with Bill Kirchen among many other talented performers.

One of the most popular groups, and my personal favorite, was Bon Débarras, a musical trio from Montreal. They had several performances throughout the weekend and entertained the audience with different songs and stories each time. Other popular acts included Egyptian Celebration, Blue Highway, Andrea Beaton, and the Jones Family Singers.  As the weekend went on, people continued to rave about the music, the food, the crafts, and how the festival is a meeting place to catch up with old friends.

Younger children had the opportunity to learn about different cultures from all around the world with activities, crafts, and special performances by the Chinese Folk Art Workshop, Cambalache, and Khac Chi. It was a great way to engage festival-goers of all ages with the integrity of the weekend.

The beer additions in the Beer & Wine Pavilion were also a hit throughout the weekend! Festival attendees were able to revel in the tastes of Maine crafted beer including brews from Geaghan Brothers Brewing, Banded Horn Brewing, and Sea Dog Brewing Company (which sold an exclusive Festival Ale).

For those who could not make it out all three days, or were getting to the festival a little later in the day, WERU radio provided American Folk Festival entertainment via radio and internet for the thirteenth year. Saturday and Sunday WERU broadcasted live performances and interviews from noon to 6pm. It was great to drive into the festival Saturday afternoon with the radio on and be able to listen to the sounds of the Railroad Stage before even entering Bangor.

All around, the whole weekend was fantastic. The weather was beautiful and the atmosphere was contagious; even if you weren’t at the Dance Pavilion, it was hard to not move along with the rhythm of the music. The Bucket Brigade was out looking for donations, and had some of the snazziest stickers the festival has seen yet.

Even though the festival has just packed up and you can still smell the funnel cakes, kettle corn, and alligator still in the air, ideas are already floating in for the 2015 festival—August 28-30. And watch out for information about the 2015 edition of Color Bangor, to take place next spring!

Kelsey Johns is a Bentley University student and a longtime lover of the American Folk Festival. She lives in Maine with her family and their pets on Chemo Pond.
Dan Cashman

About Dan Cashman

Dan Cashman has been involved with the American Folk Festival since 2011 and is currently serving on the board of the Festival. For more information about the American Folk Festival, visit