PORTLAND – The guy playing the acoustic guitar early in the evening was a fisherman. And the artist singing those original Pete Kilpatrick songs later in the night was as well.

But a good portion of the Mainers who came to the Port City Music Hall Friday night to hear the Pete Kilpatrick Band were not. And that is exactly why the only Maine nonprofit that works to conserve Maine’s marine resources — namely its striper population — held a folk-rock concert to raise money for its work.

The Coastal Conservation Association of Maine wanted to bring Mainers of all outdoor passions and pursuits together.

Call it cross-pollination with a hip musical backdrop.

Pete Kilpatrick of Brunswick, who has toured with Dave Matthews, donated his time and talent, along with local recording artist Ryan Wimbish, who opened the show. The musicians volunteered to help CCA-Maine reach both the fishermen and non-fishermen among us, and teach all, if only with a reference or video image, about the need to study, clean up and protect our marine resources.

“We have a different group of fans. But I think everyone here tonight shares the same feeling that Maine is a beautiful place to live. To be able to fish and be outdoors, it’s what draws us here,” Kilpatrick said.

The idea for the concert came from CCA board member Adam Taylor, who hatched the thought while jigging for mackerel two summers ago. And when he presented the idea of a fundraiser that was rather off-beat, so to speak, to the CCA-Maine board, there was nothing for it to say but yes.

“It’s a fun way to raise money, to get exposure and maybe just tap into a new network of people who want to assist us,” said Taylor, a beer in his hand.

After drawing about 220 in 2012, more than 300 tickets that ranged in price from $15 to $30 were sold this year. And Taylor said that because of twice as many corporate sponsors this year, all proceeds would go to CCA’s conservation work.

For Tiffany Charleson and Andy Eisenhauer of Boston, the concert drew them because Charleson, a music lover, said, “We looked (Kilpatrick) up and I thought, ‘Yes, we can definitely listen to this.’“

But Eisenhauer, who shares a home with Charleson in Brunswick and is a fishermen and 10-year member of CCA-Maine, said they came for both the charity and the concert, and loved the synergy between the two.

“I am a member of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, and they are not filling their ranks, especially today. It’s all older members. This event, this opens it up to a broader audience and will reach young people,” Eisenhauer said.

Meanwhile, for Jay Dostie of Auburn, the concert was all about the music.

“I discovered Kilpatrick a year ago, and wanted to see him again,” said Dostie.

The scenes flashing behind Kilpatrick of anglers on Casco Bay, fishermen casting off the coast, and similar subliminal references to the state’s saltwater fishing heritage was not a big deal to Dostie, who does not fish.

But for Laurie Clark, who came with two friends, the gathering did remind them of what makes Maine beautiful. While none of them fish, they were happy to support the cause.

“Pete brought us out. But we are Mainers. And Maine is special,” said Clark of Brunswick.

And that’s what the guy everyone came to see thought as well.

Kilpatrick, who was playing in the second annual “Striper Sessions” for CCA-Maine, lives beside the Androscoggin River and fishes for the sea-run bass. “It’s definitely a cause I can get behind. I see local people talking about how the striper runs are just starting to improve. Anything we can do as artists, I want to help,” Kilpatrick said.

Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: Flemingpph


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