Riverside Park in Downtown Presque Isle will once again be filled with music on Sunday afternoons this summer as the Second Annual "Music in the Park" Series returns from July 19 to August 9.
The free concert series, which attracted average crowd sizes of about 200 people per show last year, will include four consecutive shows this summer. Each Sunday afternoon performance will feature an opening act and a main act.This year's big-name acts are slated to include David Mallett, premier Maine singer-songwriter; Shamou, a Persian drummer and percussionist; Pat Pepin, a saxophonist, blues singer and band leader; and The Travis Cyr Project, a trio of folk musicians from Aroostook County and the Portland area. The concerts this year will run from 1-4 p.m. Food vendors will be on site offering snacks and drinks and people are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and blankets with them to enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon at the park.
If weather is unfavorable, the concerts will be held at the University of Maine at Presque Isle's Campus Center. Even if there is rain, concert-goers are encouraged to bring their lawn-chairs and blankets to the indoor show, and show their support for the musicians who work hard and travel far to entertain and share their artistry.
Event organizer Carol Ayoob, UMPI's Cultural Affairs Director, said the University has received major support from several area businesses and organizations in order to present this summer's concert series. So far, major sponsors include the University of Maine at Presque Isle, the Presque Isle Savings Bank of Maine, PNM Construction, Dr. David Conner, MMG Insurance, the Presque Isle Downtown Revitalization Committee, Maine Public Service, and Bemis & Rossignol. Several small business owners and individuals also have given contributions to make this year's concerts as successful as last year's trial run. Citadel Broadcasting has offered again this year to promote performances throughout the series, including information about each artist.
Last year, the Music in the Park series was offered for the first time thanks in great part to a $7,500 grant from the Maine Arts Commission. Local donations and sponsorships helped to cover the costs of the $10,000 series, which featured six consecutive Sunday afternoons of music. This year, however, with the grant completed and a strong desire in the area to see the series return, all the funding from the event is being raised through donations and sponsorships.
"Even though economic times are tight, the people and businesses of Presque Isle have really pulled together to once again make this concert series happen," Ayoob said. "We still need more donations in order to ensure all four performances are able to happen, but I'm confident that we'll be able to present the region with another summer full of great music."
If you would like to be a Music in the Park sponsor or make a contribution toward the concerts, which are free, please call Carol Ayoob at 768-5903.