Valley colors inspire Foliage Music Fest contest winner
FORT KENT, Maine – Fort Kent resident, veteran’s rights activist and former Maine state representative Duane Belanger received a special gift Wednesday, July 20 for his creative contribution to a music festival the Bangor Daily News (BDN), Fiddlehead Focus, and the Fort Kent Outdoor Center will host in the fall.
The news organizations held a contest for naming the festival. Belanger entered the contest with the name “Foliage Fest,” which BDN organizers turned into the Foliage Music Fest. The festivities will take place September 18 at the Fort Kent Outdoor Center.
At Foliage Music Fest, festival goers will hear the sounds of a variety of popular Maine bands, such as The Ghost of Paul Revere, Dark Hollow Bottling Company, Ellis Paul, and the Soggy Po Boys. All of the bands perform original tunes.
Belanger said the seasonal beauty of the St. John Valley inspired him to come up with the name Foliage Fest. “I thought, well up at the Tenth Mountain Lodge (at the Outdoor Center) you’re surrounded by the trees. I figured in September many of those leaves will be nice bright colors and you’ll notice the foliage as you go up there and it will be a celebration of the foliage,” he explained.
Northeast Publishing general manager Andrew Birden presented Belanger with a $50 gift card on the lawn of the Tenth Mountain Lodge at the Fort Kent Outdoor Center on Wednesday.
Birden said Foliage Music Fest promises to be “a real Northern Maine event with Maine music and Maine people. It’s going to be amazing.”
He noted that another musical group may be joining the festival lineup. “We’re on the lookout for an Acadian band,” he said.
Fiddlehead Focus sought the public’s help in June to name the event. Readers presented 18 names for consideration. Fiddlehead Focus employees chose their top four favorite names, which Web Editor Melanie Daigle submitted to readers to cast their votes for their favorite name via a Fiddlehead Focus reader’s poll.
Foliage Fest earned 40 percent of the vote, followed by Autumn Blaze Music Festival, which was just two votes behind. Crown Music Fest and Fall-Tastic Music Fest received 12 percent and 11 percent of the vote respectively.
Bangor Publishing Co., which owns the Bangor Daily News, acquired the Fiddlehead Focus in the spring of 2016. The company also purchased the St. John Valley Times in November 2015. The Fiddlehead Focus and the St. John Valley Times have since combined.
A longtime Fiddlehead Focus subscriber, Belanger said he is pleased with the merger. “It’s nice to see a blending of the stories and a sharing of the resources between the three … From my perspective, I see it from Bangor Daily News, Fiddlehead Focus and the St. John Valley Times. I’ll see stories from Fiddlehead Focus will pop up on Bangor Daily News. It’s nice to see that growth.”
Belanger joked that he had no particular campaign strategy to promote Foliage Fest as the winning name of the music festival. “I think I told my daughter so I got one extra vote that way,” he said.
Belanger said he plans to attend the Foliage Music Festival, which will take place Sunday, September 18, from 12 to 7:30 p.m. at the Fort Kent Outdoor Center. Tickets are $10 for individuals who purchase them in advance, or $12 at the door. A Foliage Music Fest family discount is being offered to advance purchasers for families with up to two adults and up to three children, for $30. Tickets can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com/e/the-bdn-foliage-music-fest-tickets-26328780090.