The Toughcats, the nationally-known, fun and energetic Fox Islands trio who play their own blend of old-timey bluegrass, thoughtful indie rock and classic pop, are headed to the Midcoast mainland for two benefit shows.

The band tours nationally, but nowhere are their fans more devoted than right here. They play music and film festivals, theaters, bars, boats, fields and everything in between. The band has shared a bill and worked with the likes of Kathy Mattea, Hot Buttered Rum, Deerhoof, Sam Bush, The Mammals, Tony Trischka, The Avett Brothers, The Red Stick Ramblers and author Jim Hightower, to name a few.

Last year, The Toughcats played two back-to-back shows with Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show as a joint band, performing music from both repertoires and even some covers including Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road.” In February, The Toughcats released their second CD, “Run to the Mill.”

On Friday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m., The Toughcats will perform a concert to benefit Unity Barn Raisers at the Unity College Centre for the Performing Arts, 42 Depot St. Tickets are $15; for more information, call 948-7469 or visit

The next night, The Toughcats will turn up the heat for a Tropical Dance Party to benefit Partners in Health’s medical work in Haiti. The benefit dance party, which organizers say is likely to sell out, will begin 7:30 p.m. at the Rockport Opera House, 6 Central St. Lincolnville resident Shannon Thompson planned the event in an effort to celebrate her birthday in a meaningful way. Her goal, she said, is “to gather friends and other fun-seekers together for a rollicking good time while making a significant contribution to disaster relief efforts in Haiti.”

Tropical dress is encouraged. Tickets are a $20 minimum donation and are available online at; at HAV II in Camden; or at Rock City Books & Coffee in Rockland. For more information, visit the event Web site; call Thompson at 975-2992; or send e-mail to

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to