SUMNER — After moving to Sumner a year ago, Lori Haigh discovered there was a lot of untapped artistic talent with the town’s youngsters and wanted to find a way foster that creativity. She found that through the first-ever West Sumner Village Music and Art Festival.
The two-day event will run from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, and from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27, at the former Sumner Grange at 20 Front St.
A one-day pass is $8.50 or the weekend pass is $15, which can be purchased online at www.eventbrite.com/e/west-sumner-village-music-festival-tickets-33430624899. Tickets can be purchased the day of the festival for $10 a day or $15 a weekend. All of the ticket sales will go to the musicians, according to Haigh.
Haigh moved to the Pine Tree State last August after living and working in Los Angeles as a publicist representing musical artists. While in California, she put together the Malibu Music Awards and Festival, which was a weeklong event featuring music acts at 26 nightclubs, culminating with with an awards ceremony.
So organizing a two-day music festival in Maine with all of her connections in the business wasn’tas labor intensive as the Malibu event. Though she did call on her sons, Ben of San Francisco and Chris of Nashville, to help her pull it off.
It didn’t take Haigh long to discover the local talent hidden in the hills of Sumner.
“The little 9-year-old girl who lives in the old Village Post Office, she comes over and she has an incredible singing voice. Better than what you hear at Berkeley and down in Boston,” she said about Jaiden Gauvestgay.
“The girl next to her is an opera singer,” Haigh added about 14-year-old Hannah Reyes, who is performing Sunday because she is singing the National Anthem at Oxford Plains Speedway on Saturday.
“There is an amazing amount of young girls here with a lot of talent. Cheyanne is amazing,” she said about Cheyanne Gorshin, who will play some of her original songs both days of the festival.
But Haigh is quick to add it’s not just girls with talent in Sumner and the surrounding area.
“I am trying to tap into the more creative side of everybody who lives here – it exists but it doesn’t seem very encouraged in this neck of the woods. … Everybody is a hand knife carver or this guy down here makes his own maple syrup,” she said, pointing down the street from the former Grange. “Everybody has got their own hobby.”
While in LA and since moving to Maine, she volunteered at Girls Rock Campaign, which is a week-long camp dedicated to empowering girls through music. There the campers choose what instrument they want to play. Her experience there is part of the impetus for organizing the West Sumner Village Music and Art Festival.
“A lot of these girls have never ever picked up an instrument in their lives. We teach them how to play a couple chords then they get to write a song,” Haigh said. At the end of the camp “12 bands get to get up and perform their song. It is really empowering.”
And Haigh is happy to spend her summer encouraging youngsters to tap into their various artistic talents.
“If they can think maybe next year they can be one of the performers here, then they’d have a year to get their act together,” she said, laughing.
Saturday’s music will be not begin until 2 p.m. because the neighboring West Sumner Baptist Church is having a meal, bake sale and Chinese raffle from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Haigh planned on bring her musician friends over to enjoy the church’s food before they start jamming at the festival.
The “stage” or backdrop for the bands is the 1951 silver Spartan travel trailer that is on site. Since there is no lighting, the music will stop around 8 p.m.
Lydia Deetz will perform on Saturday, who participated in the Boston Girls Rock Campaign.
“[Lydia’s] parents are renting a car and [they’re] staying in a local hotel. This is also bringing in commerce to the area,” Haigh said.
While in Boston, Lydia played the drums. Now Lydia plays the guitar and formed a band.
“[Lydia] gets to open for [their] idol, Carissa Johnson. For me to be able to make [their] dream [come true] I am so happy I can do this,” Haigh said.
Saturday’s line up includes:
- Liz Bills: “Liz Bills is embarking on a new journey with her debut solo EP. With its acoustic uptempo guitars, djembe and haunting melodies, the self titled EP embodies a raw and honest version of the rock singer without losing her bite,” according to. her website, www.lizbills.com/.
- Alexandria’s Funk: “Alexandria’s Funk is an original funk rock pop band. We love to dance and make sounds that will make you feel something,” according to the band’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/alexandriasfunk/
- Lydia Deetz: The 16-year-old hails from Boston and was a member of the Boston Girls Rock Campaign where Haigh mentored.
- Gene Dante: Gene Dante is the guitarist and vocalist of the glam rock band, Gene Dante and The Future Starlets. “IN A SHAKER: Combine bitter, seen-it-all lyrics with smooth guitars. Shake with bass and simple beats. Serve in a chilled martini glass and garnish with sweet harmonies,” according to the band’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/GeneDante.FutureStarlets/.
- Alexandria’s Funk: “Alexandria’s Funk is an original funk rock pop band. We love to dance and make sounds that will make you feel something,” according to their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/alexandriasfunk/
- Carissa Johnson: She is a Bostonian. “Carissa Johnson is addicted to playing rock and roll. The kind of sweaty, turbulent, in-your-face, post punk rock that makes uptight people squeamish and uncomfortable. DIY-minded, lyrically driven, all walk and no talk,” according to her website, www.carissajohnsonmusic.com.
- David Nance: “David Nance, Omaha veteran of warble and hiss, returns with Negative Boogie, his new concoction of chug, throb and greasy swagger,” according to his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/davidnanceband/.
- Simon Joyner: He just played Carnegie Hall. “Simon Joyner is a singer-songwriter living in Omaha, Nebraska. He’s released records since 1993 on independent labels, most recently Badabing records,” according to his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pg/simonjoynermusic/.
Sunday’s line up includes:
- My Mother’s Moustache: “A dramatic blend of Indie Folk from the mind of singer songwriter Joe Sabourin,” according to the band’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pg/MyMothersMoustache/.
- The Youngerbloods: “The Youngerbloods are a male/female soul duo backed by an incredible lineup of Maine musicians. Their energetic performances, catchy original tunes, and memorable covers of Memphis classics are capturing the hearts of music lovers everywhere,” according to their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pg/TheYoungerbloods/.
- Tsunami of Sound: “Tsunami of Sound was formed in the spring of 2008. ToS plays originals, classic, TV themes and kooky covers all in their own style. They’re live show is second to none,” according to the band’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pg/Tsunami-of-Sound-287511936488
- The Knock Ups: “Formed in 2012 The Knock Ups are a female led, self proclaimed GLAM punk band. Bringing back the energy and sound of the riot grrrl movement,” according to their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pg/TheKnockUps/.
- Flight of Fire: “Fronted by a wild singer who was born to wail and identical twin sisters whose in-your-face attitude never fails to ensnare an audience, this passionate band known for over-the-top stage antics and crowd-pleasing songs delivers energetic rock with aspects of folk and metal, creating the unique, intense sound that is Flight of Fire,” according to their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pg/FlightofFire/.
The two-day festival will not only feature music, but food, art, crafts, yard sales and other goods for sale.
“It is kind of what you think of a glorified block party where everyone will be having their yard sales,” Haigh said, which includes a sale going on inside the old Grange.
Other goods for sale include blueberry juice from Whippoorhill Hill Farm, vegetables from the organic Phoenix Farm, artist Sarah Capra with her paintings, drawings and jewelry, homemade soaps, glass blown pieces, goats milk and cheese from Haigh’s farm, among others. There is not a booth fee and vendors can show up at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25, to pick out their spot.
In addition to the church’s food, there will be hamburgers, red hot dogs, chili, pizza, ice cream and water for sale. It is a BYOB event.
For more information, visit www.westsumnervillage.com/.