NORTH ATLANTIC BLUES FESTIVAL | JULY 10 AND 11 | A harborside music tradition, this festival brings headliners like James Cotton (Saturday) and Keb' Mo' (Sunday) to top off all-day bills that start with lesser-known luminaries like Canadian singer Shakura S'Aida or Memphis guitarist Preston Shannon. A separate Saturday evening "club crawl" is included, for Saturday or all-weekend ticket holders 21 and older.
Public Landing | 275 Main Street, Rockland | 207.691.2248 | northatlanticbluesfestival.com
AMERICAN FOLK FESTIVAL | AUGUST 27 THROUGH 29 | Despite a soured economy, this free festival once again promises to "bring the world to Maine," on a slightly reduced footprint of four outdoor stages, as well as a children's activity area and a Folk and Traditional Arts area, showcasing Maine handiworks. The outgrowth of the National Folk Festival, which was held here 2002 to 2004, the festival takes its mission seriously, with gospel and soul from the Holmes Brothers, salsa from Puerto Rico's Viento de Agua, Kenya's Kenge Kenge, Korean drumming, bluegrass, and more. Yes, this year they are asking for donations. They're worth it.
40 Harlow Street, Bangor | 207.992.2630 | americanfolkfestival.com
WHITE MOUNTAIN BOOGIE N' BLUES FESTIVAL | AUGUST 20 THROUGH 22 | Now in its 14th iteration, this year's weekend-long lineup features five Blues Music Award winners, including piano player Eden Brent, Grammy-nominated guitarist Ruthie Foster, harmonica player Jason Ricci, BMA Song of the Year winner Mike Zito, and BMA Album of the Year winner Joe Louis Walker. Held in a natural amphitheater, the festival also features the usual food and crafts, children's activities, camping — and a climbing wall.
Sugar Shack Campground | NH Route 175, North Thornton | 603.726.3867 | nhblues.com
NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL | JULY 30 THROUGH AUGUST 1 | Kicking off with a Friday-night concert by Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, the enduring festival returns to this beautiful peninsula park for a lineup that stretches "folk" to include all sorts of roots music. That means soulful rocker Levon Helm, New Orleans's Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and R&B revivalists Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings sharing billing with John Prine and Doc Watson. As the Del Fuegos once said, it's all music for folks.
Fort Adams State Park | Newport | 401.848.5055 | newportfolkfest.net
NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL | AUGUST 6 THROUGH 8 | Solvent and officially renamed the Carefusion Newport Jazz Festival, George Wein's venerable summer topper brings two full days of music to this gorgeous seaside venue in its 56th year. Three stages (not including the Friday-night opener at the nearby International Tennis Hall of Fame) keep the music going. And while many camp out in front of the main Fort Stage to see big names like Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Wynton Marsalis, the smaller side stages will showcase up-and-comers like Gretchen Parlato and Anat Cohen.
Fort Adams State Park | Newport | 401.848.5055 | newportjazzfest.net
RHYTHM AND ROOTS FESTIVAL | SEPTEMBER 3 THROUGH 5 | Now in its 13th year, this New Orleans–themed roots festival once again welcomes a mix of Southern acts (pianist Marcia Ball, zydeco's Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys and CJ Chenier, along with roots rockers the Texas Tornados) and locals (the Magnolia Cajun Band) to its big main stage, but don't overlook the smaller side stage, kids' area, and dance area.