In Maine, the hills—as well as the fields, parks, downtowns, and village squares—are alive with music. The state's musical heritage includes the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, one of the country's oldest continuously-operating orchestras; well-known musicians including Dick Curless, Don McLean and Noel Paul Stookey (the Paul of Peter, Paul, and Mary); singer/songwriters Ray Lamontagne, Ellis Paul and Patti Griffin; and bands including the Rustic Overtones.
While rich in homegrown talent, the state also hosts nationally renowned artists, often in city clubs, concert halls and civic centers. But they frequently perform in small-town venues such as singer/songwriter Carol Noonan's renovated barn, the Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield. And the world's best musicians trek to Bob Ludwig's Gateway Studios in Portland, where the mastering genius helps them craft their work. Ludwig has mastered the recordings of artists as varied as Tony Bennett, Bruce Springsteen and Nirvana.
Vacations to Maine can be built around music. You can enjoy a blues, jazz, folk, or bluegrass festival or attend a Klezmer, choral, or chamber concert. Like traditional tunes? In Maine, you can find the music of Acadian, Swedish, Franco-American, Caribbean and Russian cultures. Musical theater and dinner concerts are popular in the state. Have a passion for classical or new music? Maine has it. Indie performers rock smaller performance halls, while acoustic artists play coffee houses and wine bars.
Hearing great music doesn't have to hurt the wallet. Local bands perform free outdoor concerts on town greens and march in parades; music is part of many free fairs and festivals; and L. L. Bean offers a free outdoor summer entertainment program. Cities and towns often sponsor concerts in parks, and nonprofits present concerts in historic venues, gardens, and park settings with admission by donation.
Finally, while touring through the state, tune into local radio stations, which often highlight local artists or broadcast concerts or other musical productions.