The Free Range Music Festival will return on Saturday, April 28. Founded in 2010, the Belfast Free Range Music Festival is a grassroots volunteer-powered celebration of original music that takes place annually in downtown Belfast. Participating musicians represent a wide range of genres and musical backgrounds, everything from rock to bluegrass and a cappella vocal groups to hip-hop.

In its first two years, the festival has hosted 58 local, regional and nationally touring acts (roughly 175 individual musicians) in multiple venues around the downtown area. Musicians and attendees have traveled from all over the East Coast and as far as Seattle, Eugene, Los Angeles and Austin to attend the event.

The 2011 Free Range music festival featured 32 acts including Michael Hurley, Grass Widow, Jacob Augustine, Jonny Corndawg, Big Blood, Audrey Ryan, Milkman’s Union, the 220s and The Toughcats.  Performances took place across eight venues — the Colonial Theatre, Waterfall Arts, First Church of Belfast, the American Legion Hall, Åarhus Gallery, Belfast Free Library and the Belfast Maskers Waterfront Theater. The Hillytown.com sponsored and afterparty that took place at Three Tides. The 2012 festival will follow a similar model and will feature an all-new lineup of musicians.

The Free Range Music Festival has launched a Kickstarter campaign in an effort to raise funds for the 2012 festival. Thanks to the support of community members and businesses, the festival was able to launch and fund its first two years on a shoestring budget. Moving into the festival’s third year, organizers are looking to further establish the Free Range Music Festival as a sustainable event for the city of Belfast and greater Maine music community.

Funds raised through the event’s Kickstarter campaign will help cover basic needs for the 2012 festival and provide seed money for future festival goals, including outreach programs for area teens, additional equipment purchases and extending the festival to include more year-round events. For more information about the festival’s Kickstarter campaign, visit kickstarter.com and search for Free Range Music Festival.

There are many opportunities for businesses to sponsor the Free Range Music Festival, as well. Sponsorship information can be found on the festival’s website, freerangemusicfestival.com. The Free Range Music Festival lineup will be announced in early 2012.

VillageSoup Knox/Waldo Arts Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401, ext. 251 or dernest@villagesoup.com.