KENNEBUNKPORT – By all appearances, Taylor Swift really does like Maine.

After several days of rumors and reported sightings, the young darling of country music came out for all to see Friday night, appearing at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church on the water in Kennebunkport to introduce the video for her new song, “Mine,” live on CMT.

She even brought along her band and performed a few songs for a crowd that started out at about 600 and grew much larger as the evening progressed. As soon as Swift began playing — following a brief surprise meeting with former President George H.W. Bush and many of his grandkids — throngs of people from throughout Kennebunkport village raced down Ocean Avenue to catch the free unannounced concert.

“I adore you, thank you so much,” Swift told the crowd, which included hundreds of youngsters propped on their parents’ shoulders so they could get a better view of the wholesome pop star. “It’s been wonderful spending time in this town and this part of the country.”

The adoration was mutual. Many fans carried signs professing their love in return, and the mostly young crowd shrieked when Swift walked on stage, which was set up on the lawn at the stately stone church and decked out in lobster traps and buoys.

CMT host Katie Cook interviewed Swift in a 30-minute show to introduce the video. Throughout the interview sequence, CMT included several sweeping shots of the rocky coast.

It was a beautiful setting, with a perfect summer day giving way to a cool evening and spectacular sunset, followed by a dramatic moonrise.

Swift filmed the video in Kennebunkport earlier this summer. She told Cook that she chose Maine as the setting for the video because “I’ve always been weirdly obsessed with the New England kind of look.”

CMT will repeat the video several times today and throughout the weekend, as will its sister stations MTV and VH1.

Instead of just popping in, shooting the video and moving on, Swift actually got to know the town a bit. She took Cook on a tour of Kennebunkport before the taping.

Throughout the afternoon as they stood in line waiting to get into the church grounds, fans exchanged stories of Swift spottings and close encounters.

Melissa Cloutier of Greene brought her daughter, Brittany, and her friend, Addie Gagnon, both 13. They spent the day moving from one location to another following leads that Swift was here, there and everywhere.

“Everywhere we went, she had just left,” Cloutier said. “We were always too late.”

No matter. They got to the church on time, and finally got to see Swift for themselves.

John and Katie Crystal of Sanford came with their great-granddaughter, Kassidy, who is 6. Kassidy brought along her pink guitar, hoping for a lucky encounter that would end in an autograph.

Lucy and Katie Weld, 13 and 15, were vacationing at Goose Rocks Beach with their friend, Charlotte Webb. The Weld sisters are from New York, and Webb is from Ontario. They were sunning themselves when someone told them that Swift was in town and was going to give a free concert that evening.

The girls didn’t believe the news. But they kept hearing whispers and rumors, and showed up at the church on the chance the stories were true.

“She is so genuine,” Lucy Weld said. “She is not fake like all the others. Her songs are about things people know about, like breaking up and high school.”

“Mine,” the video that debuted Friday, is a love song with a happy ending. It tells the story of a budding romance that survives hard times and ends in marriage. A key scene in the video was shot at Christ Church in town. There are several beach scenes, as well.

While talking with Cook about the video, Swift joked that she still has mosquito bites from the early-summer video shoot on the beach.

The Rev. Peter Cheney, priest at St. Ann, was quite amused by the drama of the day. He watched it unfold from the veranda of the church’s private residence — near enough for an up-close view, but far enough away to stay out of the fray.

“I had never even heard of this woman until this morning, because I’m an old fart,” he said.

After witnessing the crazy scene play out on the lawn of his beloved church, no doubt he’ll never forget her.

 

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at: [email protected]