It sure seems like we’re making up for lost time when it comes to big outdoor summer concerts.

During the worst part of the pandemic in 2020, they were all but non-existent, and last summer, tour schedules were paired down and only a fraction of the usual number of large-scale outdoor shows took place in Maine.

This summer, however, the schedule is stacked.

Darlings Waterfront Pavilion is now the freshly renovated Maine Savings Amphitheater in Bangor and ready for a busy summer. Among the improvements are 214 new bathroom stalls, improvements to elevation and site lines and enhanced/increased food, beverage and merchandise sales points.

Vinegar Hill Music Theatre in Arundel is presenting some outdoor shows, as is Maine Maritime Museum  in Bath and Maine Craft Distilling in Portland. There’s also a couple of shows that are part of the Whistlestop concert series, presented by Narrow Gauge Cinema in Farmington.

Meanwhile, Thompson’s Point in Portland is about to launch into the busiest schedule it’s ever had with 21 shows booked – and counting.


You want to dance? Sylvan Esso has that covered, and so do The Backstreet Boys. You want to rock out? There are plenty of shows for that (we’re looking at you, Aerosmith). You want to catch an ’80s vibe? Hello, REO Speedwagon, Styx and Loverboy! And if you straight up just want to waste away (again) in Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffet is here for you.

To get you and your ears ready for a summer to remember, here’s a highlight reel, so to speak, of some of what’s in store, starting next weekend and heading all the way to September.

Sylvan Esso. Photo by Shervin Lainez

Head into Memorial Day weekend with a mega dance party starring Sylvan Esso, the duo of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn. They’re three studio and one live album into a wildly successful career that includes a Grammy nomination for best dance/electronic album in 2017 for “What Now.” The band is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, and it’ll be a hip-swaying soiree with tunes like “Ferris Wheel,” “Die Young” and “Dress.” The latest album is 2020’s mesmerizing “Free Love.”

Sylvan Esso with Samia
7 p.m. May 26. Thompson’s Point, Portland, $40 in advance, $45 day of show.

Every little thing is gonna be all right in Arundel with a show from The Wailers. Reggae legend Bob Marley has been gone for more than 40 years, but his spirit lives on in his band’s music. You’ll happily sway to hits like “Three Little Birds,” “Could You Be Loved,” “Buffalo Soldier” and “Jamming.” In 2020, The Wailers released “One World,” its first album in 25 years, which earned them a Grammy nomination for best reggae album. The single “One World, One Prayer” features Marley’s daughter, Cedella Marley, and her son, Skip Marley. Stir it up, little darlin’, stir it up!

The Wailers. Photo courtesy of the artist

The Wailers
6 p.m. June 3. Vinegar Hill Music Theatre, 53 Old Post Road, Arundel, $50.


The Head And The Heart. Photo by Shervin Lainez

Indie-folk act The Head And The Heart released its fifth album, “Every Shade of Blue,” at the end of April and will be at Thompson’s Point in early June to play songs from it and the four than came before, dating back to 2011. Most of the “Every Shade” album was made remotely in the band members’ individual studios during lockdown, and the end result is 16 tracks. ” ‘Every Shade of Blue’ is a collection of songs that celebrates the beautiful mess that we were during this time of transformation,” says vocalist and violinist Charity Rose Thielen. British singer-songwriter Jade Bird opens the show.

The Head And The Heart with Jade Bird
6:30 p.m. June 4. Thompson’s Point, Portland, $45 in advance, $50 day of show.

Sheryl Crow. Tony Norkus/

Singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow released her platinum-selling debut album “Tuesday Night Music Club” in 1993, and 10 have followed. Her hits are many and include “All I Wanna Do,” “If It Makes You Happy,” “Everyday Is A Winding Road,” “A Change Would Do You Good” and “My Favorite Mistake.” Crow and her band have been dialed in for decades, and their live show is a fierce and fun showcase of their talent. Crow manages to be both commanding and funny on stage, and her high-energy performance will stay with you for days. What’s more, Crow chose one heck of an opening act with Grammy-winning blues legend Keb’ Mo’. Brush up on all things Crow-related by watching the new documentary “Sheryl,” streaming on Showtime.

Sheryl Crow with Keb’ Mo’
6 p.m. July 13. Thompson’s Point, Portland, $55 in advance, $60 day of show.

Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio playing at the Cross Insurance Arena in 2016. Joel Page/Staff Photographer

It will be an all-out pilgrimage to Bangor for legions of Phish fans, aka Phishheads, as the band plays at Maine Savings Ampitheater on a midsummer’s evening. The multi-genre band crosses over into jam and rock and is known for lots of improv during is live shows.  Phish formed in 1983 at the University of Vermont. Its debut album was released in 1989, and 15 have followed along with a number of live ones. Fronted by Trey Anastasio, the band also features longtime Mainer Jon Fishman on drums. Fishman moved to Lincolnville from Vermont in 2006.

7 p.m. July 16. Maine Savings Amphitheater, Bangor, $49.50 to $95.


Hey Parrotheads, chances are you won’t blow out your flip-flop on your way to see Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band in Bangor. But if you own a colorful Hawaiian shirt, now’s the time to bust it out, ditto for the hula skirts. It’s all about the accessories at Buffet shows, and certainly all about the preshow tailgate parties, which always embrace the fact that it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. Chances are excellent you’ll find a cheeseburger in Bangor and a margarita or two. Fins up!

Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band
7:30 p.m. Aug. 2. Maine Savings Amphitheater, Bangor, $45 to $145.

Guster at Thompson’s Point in 2019. Photo by Matt Cosby

After a two-year hiatus, Guster On The Ocean weekend is back, starting with an Aug. 12 concert at the State Theatre during which the alternative rock band will play an acoustic set and there will also be a performance by singer-songwriter Josh Ritter. On Aug. 13, things move over to Thompson’s Point where the gates open at 2 p.m. The jaw-dropping lineup features folk duo Shovels & Rope, indie-folk act Darlingside, singer-songwriter Amythyst Kiah (who just opened a show for The Who) and Maine singer-songwriter Pete Kilpatrick. There will also be a B-stage with comedy and improv. The weekend concludes on Sunday with Camp Guster at Camp Winnebago in Fayette.

Guster On The Ocean
3 p.m. Aug. 13. Thompson’s Point, Portland, $55 in advance, $60 day of show, $100 VIP.

The Ghost of Paul Revere’s Griffin Sherry, second from left, Sean McCarthy, second from right, and Max Davis, right, joined by Jackson Kincheloe, on harmonica. Joel Page/Staff Photographer

Heads up fans of Portland-based holler-folk act The Ghost of Paul Revere. ICYMI, the news recently broke that the band is disbanding after an 11-year run. This means that their Thompson’s Point show is their swan song and will likely be an exuberant, emotional night for band members and fans alike. They’re the headlining act of their annual Ghostland music festival, and this year’s lineup also features Hiss Golden Messenger, Marco Benevento and GoldenOak. Don’t sleep on tickets, this one will surely sell-out.

Ghostland feat. The Ghost Of Paul Revere
4 p.m. Sept. 3. Thompson’s Point, Portland, $41 in advance, $46 day of show.


Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. agwilson/

For more than five decades, rock band Aerosmith has been blowing the roof off of venues, and this time around, they’ll likely punch a hole right through the Bangor sky. Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer and Brad Whitford are all in their 70s, but don’t think for a moment they won’t be ready to rock. They’ll be coming into Maine on the heels of an eight-night run in Las Vegas, and a few days after Bangor, they’ll head to Fenway Park. A scan of past setlists revealed that Aerosmith has many hits and like to play them live. Be ready to revel in the glory of “Walk This Way,” “Sweet Emotion,” “Love in an Elevator,” “Cryin’,” “Toys in the Attic” and “Rag Doll,” to name just a few. Sing with them, sing for the year, sing for the laughter and sing for the tear – but dream on if you think this show isn’t going to sell out.

7:30 p.m. Sept. 4. Maine Savings Amphitheater, Bangor, $47.50 to $167.50.

Wait. What? REO Speedwagon, Styx and Loverboy all at the same show? Believe in this ’80s music miracle because it’s coming true and will close out the season at Maine Savings Ampitheater in Bangor. It’s hard to wrap one’s head around all of the jukebox hits you’ll hear that night, but on the ballad front, keep your ears open for REO Speedwagon’s “Keep on Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” “Babe” from Styx and “Heaven In Your Eyes” by Loverboy. And when it’s time to rock, all three bands will be slaying with “Take It On The Run,” “Renegade,” Mr. Roboto,” “Too Much Time On My Hands,” “Turn Me Loose” and “Working for the Weekend.” Climb aboard this starship and come sail away with this trio of iconic acts who will be slaying you with nostalgic tunes all night long.

REO Speedwagon, Styx and Loverboy
6:45 p.m. Sept. 18. Maine Savings Amphitheater, Bangor, $28.50 to $353.50.

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