In the world of rock music, as in life, it’s important to make the most of your opportunities.

Bangor-area promoter Alex Gray happens to have a friend who works as an agent for the legendary rock band Stone Temple Pilots, so he used that connection to the best of his ability: He was able to get Stone Temple Pilots — STP — to headline the third annual Oxxfest music festival this Sunday at the Bangor Waterfront Pavilion.

The same can be said for Sick Puppies, an Australian band that has been building a steady following around the world for the last four years or so. They’ve been at festivals with STP before. But when they hit the stage at Oxxfest, they’ll have second billing, going on just before Stone Temple Pilots.

“We’ve never really met them or anything, or hung out, but it’s cool to be playing with them,” said Shim Moore, guitarist for Sick Puppies. “We’ll do our best to get the crowd into it.”

Sick Puppies got considerable airplay on alternative rock radio stations after the 2007 album “Dressed Up as Life” yielded several hits on the modern rock charts, including “All the Same” and “My World.”

The follow-up, 2009’s “Tri-Polar,” built on that success, debuting at No. 31 on the Billboard 200. A live album recorded at the House of Blues in Cleveland was released in June.

As important as radio success is to Sick Puppies, Moore says the foundation for success is built on the band’s knack for fostering audience participation.

It may sound slightly hokey, but Moore says he and his bandmates try hard to get fans at a live show to sing along, clap and suggest songs they want to hear. They also try to throw in some covers of pop hits, just to make fans feel like they’re getting something a little extra.

“Getting the crowd into it is the biggest thing for us,” said Moore. “Crowd participation is a fine art. Some (bands) overdo it, and some don’t do it very well at all.”

There’ll be lots of opportunities for crowd participation at Oxxfest, with more than 30 local and national bands playing over a 12-hour period. Gray started the festival three years ago, taking the title as a play on Ozzfest. Plus, it was held in the town of Oxford one year, and Wiscasset another.

This is the first year it will be held at the Bangor Waterfront Pavilion, where Gray also books a successful summer concert series.

Obviously, the big draw will be Stone Temple Pilots, which is scheduled to close the festival with a 90-minute set beginning around 9 p.m.

STP helped define the genres of modern rock and alternative rock in the early 1990s. They went on to become one of the best-selling bands of the decade on the strength of a slew of hits that included “Plush,” “Vasoline,” “Big Bang Baby” and “Lady Picture Show.”

Plagued by the drug problems and erratic behavior of lead vocalist Scott Weiland, the band broke up in 2003. Weiland joined former members of Guns ‘N Roses in Velvet Revolver for two chart-topping albums before rejoining STP in 2008. A self-titled album was released last year to both critical and public acclaim, and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200.

Last year, Oxxfest attracted about 10,000 people, and Gray expects at least that many this year.

So for the many local bands who will play the festival — playing in front of Stone Temple Pilots before an audience of 10,000 or more will be an opportunity they’ll want to make the most of.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

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