A search involving a Maine Warden Service helicopter and scores of family members and friends of Dean Levasseur failed to find the guitar player from Freeport, who has been missing since Saturday night, when his band was scheduled to play at an outdoor gathering in Penobscot County.

Levasseur, 24, disappeared about a half-hour before his band, Roots, Rhythm & Dub, was scheduled to play at Chickenfest, a bash organized each year by students at the University of Maine.

Levasseur is a dedicated band member who is unlikely to skip a gig, friends said. And he left his guitar at the stage.

“He’s a very bright, friendly guy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him with a frown on his face,” said Deanna Jordan, a good friend of Levasseur’s sister who has known him for years. “I know that he’s very passionate about his music, and the fact that he didn’t show up to play Saturday night is very disconcerting.”

Concern for the Caribou High School graduate prompted friends to drive two hours from Aroostook County to Howland, and others to drive from Bangor and points south, to join in the search.

“He’s a bright, intelligent young man,” said Kyle Anderson, a high school friend who came from New Sweden to join the search. “He has a lot of potential. All and all, he’s a great guy.”

Chickenfest is an unauthorized gathering held each year by UMaine students at locations in the Bangor area. The spot in Howland, on paper company land, is mostly dense forest and bogs, with a small clearing where 200 to 400 students gathered for Saturday’s concert and barbecue.

Levasseur was last seen shortly before his band was scheduled to play, at 11 p.m. He did not show up to play or respond to an announcement over the public address system, said state police, who are leading the search. The band played without him, authorities said.

Brendan Parsons, who plays piano and sometimes sits in with the band, said, “It’s just kind of uncharacteristic for Dean to not be in touch with anybody.”

Parsons, who said he attended Chickenfest, described Levasseur as laid-back, thoughtful and optimistic — “just chill and like he’s always listening.”

Levasseur has played with the band, based in South Berwick, for a couple of years, performing reggae covers and the band’s own music.

Bands started playing at 7 p.m. Saturday, and were interspersed with a DJ.

“This was just on a logging road. It wasn’t a huge field; kind of compact, a couple hundred people,” Parsons said. “Good times, no violence or anything. Just college kids and music and fires.”

Anderson said 55 to 60 people had shown up to search by midday Tuesday, and others kept coming in the afternoon.

“It is really thick woods, a lot of swampy areas, full of thick brush,” he said.

The area appeared to be a logging site from years ago. Authorities said the searchers covered roadsides and the area near the party site, but turned up no clues. They plan to resume after 7 a.m. today.

Although he is from Caribou and his driver’s license lists an address in Bangor, authorities say Levasseur has been living with his mother in Freeport. His LinkedIn social networking page says he has been attending Southern Maine Community College in South Portland. He attended the New England School of Communications in Bangor from 2008 to 2010, the page says.

Levasseur’s older sister, Deidra, recruited search volunteers through a Facebook website, “Search for Dean Levasseur.” At one point, more than 130 people had pledged to join the effort.

Levasseur’s cellphone signal was last identified Monday morning, coming from a tower in neighboring LaGrange. Police said the phone could have been anywhere within a 10-mile radius of that location.

Friends are hoping for the best.

Deanna Jordan said, “I hope and pray that they’re able to find him soon, safe and sound.”


Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: [email protected]