Now that the Midcoast has had its first taste, however fleeting, of summer, it’s time to make some plans. Music, outdoors and in, is one of the perks of the sunny months, and tickets are on sale now for the area’s large music festivals.

While the third annual All Roads Music Festival in Belfast will get things going in mid-May (see story linked below), its tunes are under cover, for the most part. Come the first of June, the city’s waterfront will be filled with music, thanks to the fifth annual Belfast Ukulele Festival.

Actually, Friday, June 1, hosts the kickoff for the Saturday, June 2, uke festival at Belfast’s Steamboat Landing Park. The night-before event is up Route 1 a bit, at Searsport Shores Ocean Park and Campground. Beginning at 6 p.m., there will be pizza, a potluck, lots of strumming and rubbing shoulders with headliner Gerald Ross. This event is free (there are discounted campsites for those who wish to overnight), with donations for the fest gladly accepted. In order to ensure enough food, chairs and parking, RSVP is requested at

The next day, the fest runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with the usual mix of Maine uke group performances, workshops at the Boat House, vendors, raffles and a performance by this year’s special guest. Ross is a true multi-instrumentalist: in addition to ukulele, he plays guitar, Hawaiian steel guitar, the Cajun accordion, mandolin, bass, banjo, harmonica and charango.

Ross will stick to uke for the first and last of the day’s four hour-long workshops; the others are led by local ukulele gurus Jeffrey Weinberger and festival founder Frets Halligan, offering his perennial intro class. Class sizes are limited, so advance reservations are strongly suggested via the Midcoast Ukes website. Gate admission is $5, free for younger than 12.

In July, the North Atlantic Blues Festival marks its 25th year Saturday and Sunday, July 14 and 15, in Rockland Harbor Park. It also gets going the evening before, albeit unofficially. Friday night, July 13, blues lovers will find the city’s pubs hosting many of the same regional bands that will play the Saturday night club crawl.

Music will begin both Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m., with sets by young people attending the local Midcoast Music Academy’s Blues Camp, followed by the first festival act at 11 a.m. Saturday’s festival lineup features Slam Allen, Kat Riggins, Lurrie Bell, the Mike Welch-Mike Ledbetter Connection and the one and only Bobby Rush. Sunday acts are Vanessa Collier, Wee Willie Walker and the Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra, Mud Morganfield, Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials and the bayou’s own Tab Benoit. Ilana Katz Katz plays between acts both days.

Advance tickets are $30 per day, $55 for the weekend, available online ($3 processing fee per ticket) via; and at ticket outlets — the local ones are Huston-Tuttle in Rockland and K2Music in Camden. The hotline is 691-2248.

NABF Club Crawl cover charges are waived for festival bracelet wearers (Saturday or weekend ticket) at clubs, but you don’t have to be a ticketholder, or 21 and older, to take in the scene, as there will be almost a half-dozen bands performing along Main Street (closed to traffic Saturday night).

For many years, Bay Chamber Concerts’ annual series of classical chamber music concerts have delineated summer in Rockport. More recently, under the artistic direction of Manuel Bagorra, Bay Chamber has followed this traditional series with the Screen Door Summer Music Festival, a five-day immersion in a wide range of music past and the present set in a variety of settings — some intimate, others outside, all taking full advantage of high summer on the Midcoast.

This year’s Screen Door runs Wednesday through Sunday, Aug. 15 through 19. It brings back favorites such as Bach for Breakfast every morning at Camden’s First Congregational Church and free concerts on Camden’s Village Green. Highlights in this year’s Screen Door include “Symphonasaurus,” a family concert collaboration of Palaver Strings and Lincolnville’s John Burstein of “Slim Goodbody” fame.

The full Screen Door schedule, as well as tickets for the concerts that require them, can be perused at And speaking of Bay Chamber summer offerings, the popular, and weather-permitting, Music on the Lake concert is set for Saturday, Aug. 4. The lake in question is Megunticook and this concert is literally on the water: Yasser Tejeda & Palotré of Dominica will perform on a float; and concert attendees must arrive by watercraft. Details of the free event are on the website.