The Queen City of the East
PHC staffer Kate Swee is on the Radio Romance Tour with Garrison, Fred Newman, Aoife O'Donovan, Sara Watkins, and The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band and will update us periodically from the road.
Bangor: the former "the lumber capital of the world," claimed hometown of mythic lumberjack Paul Bunyan, the site of the earliest documented recipes for chocolate brownies and chewing gum, and the home of world-famous horror author Steven King (who still lives here!) — no wonder Bangor's nickname is "The Queen City of the East!" We were all happy to roll into the beautiful town with blue skies above us and not a rain drop in sight.
The Bangor Waterfront Pavilion is a brand new venue, opened on May 16th of this year, our performance only its 11th show. Despite a few construction areas and some rocky terrain (due to a field drainage mishap in the rainy month of June), the sights around the venue were beautiful. Alongside the Penobscot River, I could see runners, cycling groups, rollerbladers, and a few Shoe Band members taking an afternoon stroll down one of the many new paths along the waterfront. Pines, dogwoods and evergreens provided a nice green backdrop around the stage, and freight trains rolled by every once in a while, graffiti covering their boxcars, chugging along slowly and silently on the tracks beside the buildings.
We found the one and only Sara Watkins there in Bangor, ready to get to work on duets and finish out the rest of this Radio Romance Tour! We were all more than excited to see her again (as a veteran of our summer tours and, of course, a frequent guest on APHC). Almost immediately she was in the thick of the rehearsal, stomping her feet to a hot, fast-paced fiddle duo with Richard Kriehn, tenderly spinning around with Garrison during some lovely duets and learning many a new song and script to boot!
The owners of the Waterfront Pavilion were dedicated to making it a fun place to work — and a fun place for the touring crews to rest and take a breather! They had set up old pinball machines and Pacman games in the catering area, with many sets of patio furniture surrounding a fire pit outside the dressing rooms. ("In case you guys wanted some late-night s'mores," one of the production managers told me. "We just want you to have a wicked good time!" Their venue's motto, which was also plastered on a large banner as we exited the site — a very "Maine" thing to say!) Needless to say, we did have a wicked good time, and after some fiddlin', some hilarious poetry, and a couple pieces of homemade Maine blueberry pie, we were ready to drive a few hours south to our next destination: Hampton Beach.