Jeff Shaw, the executive director of the Maine Academy of Modern Music, wasn’t sure what to expect when his organization, which uses the power of music to inspire musicians of all ages, announced it was hosting its second Resurgam Music and Arts Festival on Portland’s waterfront.

Last year’s festival, which was held at Thompson’s Point on the Fore River, went over well, but fees for parking and public access were limited by that location.

With Sunday’s near-perfect weather and free on-street parking throughout downtown Portland, Shaw could only marvel at this year’s turnout, which he estimated to more than 7,500 people throughout the day, many of them tourists who were drawn to Ocean Gateway and nearby parks by the sounds of music.

“There are more tourists here than last year, and the weather has certainly helped. It’s only 2 o’clock, but I would already say that it has been a success,” Shaw said, indicating that he is seriously considering bringing back Resurgam to Portland’s waterfront in 2024.

A crowd gathers to watch bands play at one of the stages during The Resurgam Music and Arts Festival at Ocean Gateway in Portland on Sunday. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Thompson’s Point is located behind the Portland Transportation Center and has limited public parking. For Sunday’s Resurgam festival, the only limit on parking was finding an available nearby space.

While Shaw said he is not trying to replace the Old Portland Festival, which ended in 2019, he does believe that the Resurgam festival could be here to stay. He views the festival as filling an entertainment void while offering local musicians the stage to showcase their talents.


He said Resurgam is more family-friendly than the Old Port Festival and more accessible due to its location near Portland’s Commercial Street restaurant district, the Casco Bay ferry terminal and the Eastern Promenade walking/biking trail. Dozens of bikers pedaled to the festival.

“I am seeing a lot of smiling faces,” Shaw said. “I think people are excited about the festival being back on the peninsula. I’d say there is a good chance we will return next year.”

Hannah Joseph, her 2-year-old daughter Daisy Pearson and 4-year-old son Cedar Pearson, and grandmother Poff Carmen, all of Poland, enjoy the music as Corpus Chicanery plays Sunday. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Members of the Portland-based band Rigometrics spent part of their afternoon lounging in a school bus they purchased and refurbished to accommodate their tours around Maine and the country. They were scheduled to perform on the Bissell Brothers stage at 5 p.m. Sunday.

Their painted bus, parked near the stage, contains bunk beds, a kitchen sink and other accommodations for band members.

Keenan Hendricks, the group’s keyboard player and lead singer, said the Rigometrics play uptempo rock and roll. The band, which performs regularly at Portland House of Music, also features Derek Haney on drums and Josef Berger on guitar.

Hendricks said he is grateful to have the opportunity to showcase the band’s music at a venue that on Sunday attracted thousands of onlookers.


The band formed two years ago during the COVID-19 pandemic and never looked back. In addition to gigs at Portland House of Music, the band does a lot of tours, including one performance as far away as Kansas.

“It is going to be a lot of fun,” Hendricks said of Sunday’s venue and the opportunity it presents. “It’s a big day for us.”

“This exposes us to a new crowd,” Haney added.

Sunday’s festival featured more than 60 performances of music and dance on five stages, as well as a Maker’s Mall for local businesses to sell crafts and goods, food trucks, beer gardens, and a children’s arts area. Admission was free.

The performance schedule was heavy on local artists. Besides the many MAMM students, groups and faculty who performed, the various stages included a variety of well-known and up-and-coming Maine acts. The genres ranged from pop and rock to jazz and bluegrass.

Portland alternative rock act John Hughes Radio performs during The Resurgam Music and Arts Festival at Ocean Gateway Sunday. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

For artists, Resurgam was a chance to play a free show for Mainers and possibly attract new fans.

The Old Port Festival had served that purpose too, but its main mission had been to attract people to the Old Port. By 2019, that mission had been accomplished, and the Old Port had become a nationally known tourist destination.

Sunday’s festival was used by MAMM to highlight the music school’s newest location at 144 Fore St. The 3,500-square-foot space is under renovation but will be open for lessons and rehearsals in the fall, Shaw said.

The school also has a location on Presumpscot Street in Portland but had to close down a location on Casco Street downtown during the pandemic.

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