Trail of tunes

By CLEA SIMON  |  June 9, 2009

AMERICAN FOLK FESTIVAL | AUGUST 28 THROUGH 30 | The American Folk Festival, located on the Bangor waterfront, roots its sound in groups with at least a partial US base (Forro for All, for example, hails from New York City as well as Brazil). But this free festival, the outgrowth of the National Folk Festival, which was held here from 2002 to 2004, aims to "present music, dance, and other performing arts representing cultural traditions from across America and the world." That means Delta blues meets Puerto Rican cuatro, Andean pipes, and Tejano blues on five stages by the Bangor waterfront (and a children's area as well). And just so you know where you are, there's a "Taste of Maine" food area, too.

40 Harlow Street, Bangor, Maine | 207.992.2630 |

WHITE MOUNTAIN BOOGIE N' BLUES FESTIVAL | AUGUST 14 THROUGH 16 | Blues is a big enough bucket to hold almost anything. At the 13th annual Boogie N' Blues Festival, in New Hampshire's White Mountains, that range will be celebrated by setting Louisiana guitar great Sonny Landreth up against the acoustic blues of the Saffire Uppity Blues Women (a farewell performance from the 25-year-old group), with ringers like Candye Kane adding some rockabilly sass to the mix. Fireworks on Saturday night bring additional sparks, and a new-this-year children's section promises to be a "quiet area."

2010 Route 175, North Thornton, New Hampshire | 603.726.3867 |

Fleet Foxes play the Newport Folk Festival on August 1

NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL | AUGUST 1 AND 2 | Money troubles threatened Newport's summer festivals earlier this year. And when founder George Wein announced his plans to host a jazz and a folk festival on the beautiful seaside site this spring, some worried that it was too little, too late. But you don't get to Wein's age without having connections. This year's George Wein's Folk Festival 50 brings together old school (Pete Seeger, Billy Bragg, Joan Baez) with such pop-rock crossovers as the Decemberists and Fleet Foxes to gorgeous Fort Adams State Park.

Harrison Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island | 800.514.3849 |

NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL | AUGUST 7 THROUGH 9 |George Wein's Jazz Festival 55 will bring such legends as Etta James, Tony Bennett, Dave Brubeck, Joshua Redman, Branford Marsalis, and Joe Lovano to the same waterside venue. A very packed bill promises great music on three stages, with sailboats and the beautiful Newport Harbor as the ultimate backdrop.

Harrison Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island | 401.848.5055 |

RHYTHM & ROOTS | SEPTEMBER 4 THROUGH 6 | Hankering for some old-fashioned fiddle and chank-a-chank zydeco? Hang on until Labor Day and the Rhythm & Roots festival will scratch that itch. Now in its 12th year (the 11th in its current southern Rhode Island location at Ninigret Park), this three-day festival brings real Louisiana acts (including zydeco star Keith Frank and Cajun neo-traditionalist Steve Riley) together with such other roots acts as Asleep at the Wheel, who add Texas swing to the mix. But don't just go for the nighttime sets (which include Hot Tuna this year). The joys of this day-long party are the lesser-known acts (listen for fiddler/accordionist Cedric Watson). The dance floor is open all day.

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Related: Summer treats, Photos: Newport Jazz Festival, The music man, More more >
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