There’s nothing like free live music to get people in a festive mood.

And free music is a definite focus of the 37th Annual Old Port Festival happening Sunday in downtown Portland.

There will be six music “stages” set up throughout the Old Port, with different acts all afternoon. The festival’s organizer, Portland’s Downtown District, hired some 30 bands for the show. About 40,000 people usually attend the festival, so you know Mainers like their free music.

There are also lots of other activities, especially for children. The festival kicks off at 11 a.m. with a parade led by Shoestring Theater, a community-based puppet theater in Portland. Activities continue until 5 p.m.

More than 90 Maine artists will show and sell their art and crafts down on the lower end of Market Street. There will be a 25-foot rock-climbing wall on upper Market Street and a children’s area with pony rides at Post Office Park.

The six music stages offer a diverse and interesting mix of performers and styles, from teen bands playing punk, rock, pop and hardcore on the Maine Academy of Modern Music Stage to Irish music performers on the Bull Feeney’s stage, and from top local bands on the WCLZ stage to up-and-coming national pop acts on the Q97.9 stage.

WCLZ (98.9 FM) has a big focus on local music, and its stage at Fore and Pearl streets presents some of Portland’s best-known local acts, including country/rock musician Don Campbell, who tours the nation and splits his time between Nashville and Maine. The stage also includes singer-songwriter Jason Spooner, Gypsy Tailwind, Zach Jones and Fanfarlo.

The Maine Academy of Modern Music stage has the most bands with 11. Low Flying Airplanes, a folk-rock band that won the academy’s Rock Off competition on May 1, will perform from 2 to 2:30 p.m.

Pop radio station WJBQ (97.9 FM) reached out to various national record labels for the collection of acts on its stage, including The Maine (Interscope Records), Charice (Reprise Records) and Shontelle (Universal-Motown). The stage also has Maine rapper Spose, who is signed to Universal-Motown.

There’s also a variety of bluegrass acts on the Sebago Brewing Company stage, and country acts at the WPOR (101.9 FM) stage. WPOR’s line-up includes local (the Kelly Parker Band) and national acts such as Gwen Sebastian, Bridgette Tatum and Brady Seals.

So if you wander the Old Port Festival for even a few minutes, you should be able to find some music to suit you. Whatever your mood.


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

[email protected]


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