What a difference a year makes. With most pandemic restrictions lifted, outdoor live music is bursting at the seams this summer, and you can choose from a variety of genres and venues. From ongoing series to concerts at breweries, wineries and distilleries to big-stage shows at places like Thompson’s Point, take your pick and get ready to finally rock again.

Some shows, like Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats on July 30 and Lake Street Dive on Aug. 21 at Thompson’s Point, sold out quickly, but there are still tickets left to those we’re highlighting below. For even more live music, see our summer events roundup for details on blues and bluegrass festivals happening around the state, and keep an eye on our Got Tix listings, updated weekly with the latest bookings, like the just-announced Lindsey Stirling show happening Aug. 19 at Maine Savings Pavilion at Rock Row in Westbrook, and KISS on that same date at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor.

Bait Bag performs on June 25 in Bath. Photo by William Trevaskis

Grant Lot Summer Outdoor Concert Series
7:30 p.m. Fridays through July 30. Lot Behind the Grant Building, 31 Centre St., Bath, $12, free for kids under 12. Grant Lot Summer Outdoor Concert Series on eventbrite.com.
The co-working space Union + Co and indie label Burst & Bloom Records are co-presenting a fantastic series of shows in Bath. Acts are coming to town from New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and right within Maine. Catch feminist punk trio Bait Bag from North Haven Island this weekend and hear them tear through tunes like “Good Guy,” “Girl Pushups” and “Safe Word.” The rest of the lineup is Sojoy on July 2, Dead Gowns & Eliza Edens on July 9, Hello Shark on July 16, Jocelyn Mackenzie on July 23, and The Huntress and Holder of Hands on July 30. Sure, maybe somewhere along the way someone paved paradise and put up a parking lot, but in this case, it’s pretty great.

Seagrass Strings Festival
3 p.m. June 27. Maine Craft Distilling, 123 Washington Ave., Portland. Tickets are $35 on eventbrite.com
Spend your Sunday afternoon soaking in the sun as you enjoy a slate of lively bluegrass tunes outside at Maine Craft Distilling. The one-day festival features performances from regional and national musicians who will dazzle from atop the big brewery stage. The lineup is bluegrass/funk-pop act Twisted Pine, jazz-grass supergroup Mr. Sun (fiddler Darol Anger, guitarist Grant Gordy, mandolin player Joe K. Walsh and bassist Aidan O’Donnell), fiddler Bruce Molsky and the duo of vocalist Celia Woodsmith and mandolin player Maddie Witler, who are both in the band Della Mae.

Mallett Brothers Band album release shows
7 p.m. July 2 and 3. Bissell Brothers Three Rivers, 157 Elm St., Milo. Tickets are $25 on eventbrite.com (search TMBB ‘Gold Light’ Release).
Hoist a pint and celebrate the release of “Gold Light,” the new album from Americana and country act The Mallett Brothers Band. Not only will you love the music, you’ll be able to try Gold Light, a special collaboration corn lager. You know you’ve made it as a band when you get your own beer! “Livin’ on Rock ‘n’ Roll” is the first single from the album, and it’s destined to become your summer theme song.

The Ghost of Paul Revere performing outdoors in May at Vinegar Hill Music Theatre in Arundel. Photo by Emily Haranas

Vinegar Hill Music Theatre Drive-up Shows
Various dates in July and August, shows start at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $80 to $175 per vehicle. vinegarhillmusictheatre.com
One of the pandemic’s silver linings has been the creation of drive-up concerts and Vinegar Hill Music Theatre in Arundel is shining brightly with a robust list of offerings. They’ve also got a busy schedule of indoor concerts and films, and there are some drive-up movies in the mix. Vinegar Hill added a 16-by-20-foot stage to its parking lot and shows happen rain or shine. You can also pre-order concessions to enjoy during performances. Sensational drumming group Recycled Percussion plays a three-night stint from July 8-10. On July 22, see folk rock legends Aztec Two-Step featuring Rex Fowler, Dodie Pettie and friends. Jam band Neighbor takes the stage on July 30, and singer-songwriter Dar Williams will be there on Aug. 7. The series winds down with Maine rock act Rustic Overtones on Aug. 13.


A scene from a 2019 Hot Summer Nights show in South Berwick. Photo courtesy of SoBo Central, South Berwick’s non profit community group.

Hot Summer Nights
Various dates in July and August, shows start at 6 p.m., Central School, 197 Main St., South Berwick, free. facebook.com/HotSummerNightsConcerts
Bust a move over or down to South Berwick this summer for the Hot Summer Nights series of shows on the lawn at Central School. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and snacks, and take your pick of shows or hit them all. See a folk rock show from The Reconstructed on July 21 with opener Mae McDougald, a 2021 grad of Berwick Academy. July 28 features The Jim Dozet Band with its harmony-rich Americana. Eliot’s Manu Ritchie opens. It’s all about New Orleans jazz on Aug. 4 with a show from Soggy Po’Boys. Lastly, there’s the South Berwick Community celebration Lantern Fest that includes a parade, picnics on the lawn and a performance from The Old Hat String Band. This event is on Aug. 11 at Spring Hill at 117 Pond Road in South Berwick.

Moosehead Music Festival
July 23-25. Moosehead Aero-Marine Complex, 15 Lower Lincoln St., Greenville. Tickets range from $25 to $40 on eventbrite.com
If three days of Americana music on the shores of Moosehead Lake sounds like your idea of a good time, then head to Greenville for the annual Moosehead Music Festival. This year’s lineup features Bishop Avenue, The Don Campbell Band, David Mallett, The Mallett Brothers Band, Chris Poulson and The Social Club, Denny Breau, Black Cat Road and The Boneheads. For dining, camping and lodging suggestions, head to destinationmooseheadlake.com/sleep.

Camden Summer Sounds
2 p.m.  Aug. 8 and 22, Camden Snow Bowl, 20 Barnestown Road, Camden. camdenoperahouse.com.
Not that anyone needs a reason to go to lovely Camden, but we’ve got two in the forms of the Summer Sounds shows presented by Camden Opera House’s Community Arts Fund. Bring lawn chairs and know that the show will go on rain or shine. Food trucks will be on site. On Aug. 8, it’s the folk rock act Jason Spooner Band with opener Travis James Humphrey. Then on Aug. 22, you can dance away the afternoon to the traditional Cuban sounds of Primo Cubano after an opening set from the Ryan Blotnick Quartet.

Blues Traveler. Photo by Graham Fielder

Savage Oakes Vineyard and Winery Summer Concert Series
Aug. 15 and Sept. 2, Savage Oakes Winery, 175 Barrett Hill Road, Union. Tickets are $30-$55 at savageoakes.com. Bring lawn chairs and blankets.
Savage Oakes is partnering with Portland music venue One Longfellow Square to present singer-songwriter Amy Helm who takes the stage at 4 p.m. on Aug. 15. Tickets are $30. Amy is the daughter of the late Levon Helm from The Band, and she used to play with her father in his blues band The Barn Burners. She also co-founded the alt-country group Ollabelle, which released a trio of albums. Helm released her debut solo album, “Didn’t it Rain,” in 2015 and followed it up in 2018 with “This Too Shall Light.” Her latest single is the gorgeous, hopeful tune “Carry It Alone” from her brand new album “What the Flood Leaves Behind.” At 7 p.m. on Sept. 2, you can enjoy a night of blues-infused rock from Blues Traveler, led by lead singer and harmonica player John Popper. They’ve got a dozen albums of tunes to choose from including the hit “But Anyway.” Other well-known songs include “Hook” and “Run-Around.” Catching this show is a sure-fire way to speed things up as summer starts its slow fade. Tickets are $55.

Annie Clark, who goes by St. Vincent, sings “Cruel” during her set on the B stage at the Gentlemen of the Road tour at the Eastern Prom in Portland in 2012. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

State Theatre Summer Concert Series at Thompson’s Point
Various dates into September, shows start at either 6 or 7 p.m., Thompson’s Point, Thompson’s Point Road, Portland. Tickets range from $40 to $56. statetheatreportland.com
Among last summer’s most-missed live music experiences were the huge shows at Thompson’s Point. The wait is over, as they’ve got several solid acts lined up. As mentioned earlier, a couple are sold out, but there’s plenty left on the schedule to satisfy fans of the giant concert space with killer sunsets on Casco Bay. Tickets go on sale on Friday for Brandi Carlile on Aug. 20 and Dirty Heads & Sublime on Sept. 21. They’re available now for singer-songwriter and two-time Grammy winner Jason Mraz, who takes the stage on Aug. 24 with his hit tunes “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry),” “I’m Yours” and “You and I Both.” On Aug. 25, see the co-bill of rock bands Wilco and Sleater-Kinney. The latter is the duo of Corin Tucker and “Portlandia” star Carrie Brownstein. On Aug. 26, catch alternative rock band 311 with Iration and Iya Terra. A week later, it’s rock musician St. Vincent on Sept. 3. Ghostland with The Ghost of Paul Revere, Deer Tick, The Mallett Brothers Band and Karina Rykman is on Sept. 4, and country artist Brett Young closes out the season on Sept. 18.

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