BIDDEFORD — River Jam Festival, celebrating life along the Saco River, will once again take place in Biddeford on Aug. 19 and 20.

Now in its eighth year, the festival hits its stride with an arts extravaganza on Main Street Friday night hosted by Engine and an all-day family event on Saturday in Mechanics Park hosted by Heart of Biddeford, said its director, Delilah Poupore.

Poupore is enthusiastic about this free community celebration.

“With Fringe Fest on Friday Night and River Jam all day Saturday, it’s an incredible array of offerings — and different aspects appeal to different people, so there’s really something for everyone to enjoy,” she said in a news release.

Engine’s Director Jess Muise said Fringe Fest “invites unfettered expression,” which means the community will enjoy live music in Shevenell Park, an array of dance and circus arts offerings (including fire dancing), and interactive art making. Muise and the staff and volunteers at Engine have crafted an evening that elevates and brings to the center of town experiences that may not be seen as “mainstream,” Poupore said.

Live music, dance performances and kid’s activities commence at 11 a.m. Saturday at Mechanic’s Park. Guests may browse local vendors and meet community groups. Biddeford Cultural & Heritage Center has coordinated a Cultural Cuisine tent with free tastes from Biddeford’s diverse communities, and La Kermesse will once again serve crepes and fried dough. Kids can take a horse drawn wagon ride to try a canoe at Rumery’s Boat Yard.


River Jam began with the idea of an amazing music festival that would feature musical artists in the “Roots” genres, Poupore explained. Daytime performances include Italian/Sicilian, Franco-American, Bollywood, and Folk/Hip Hop artists. Louisa Stancioff takes the stage with her trio at 5 p.m. Recently named by DownEast Magazine as “one to watch,” Stancioff provides a transition into the evening “vibe,” to be followed by a favorite from last year, Love By NUMB3RS. The evening music culminates with a collaboration between Coyote Island and Assasi (a Syrian hip-hopper who has made Biddeford his home). Coyote Island along with Bilad El-Sham will bring the crowd to a crescendo and there will be fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

Four of Biddeford’s breweries — Banded Brewing, Blaze Brewing Co., Lucky Pigeon, and Sacred Profane – and Lorne Wine make up the Beer & Wine Garden, and a host of delicious food trucks will help create an evening to remember, organizers promise.

The weekend is free and open to all. People with disabilities who require reasonable accommodation to participate in this event should contact Poupore through the contact form on the Heart of Biddeford website or by calling 207-284-8520.

Heart of Biddeford expresses its gratitude for support from the City of Biddeford; the City Council; the Recreation, Police and Public Works departments; with special thanks to River Jam Festival’s Presenting Sponsors: Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution as well as Biddeford Savings (a division of Maine Community Bank). Fringe Fest’s Presenting Sponsor is Town & Country Federal Credit Union. All partners and sponsors are listed on the website.