The A F F

Please always Remember the American Folk Festival and what Bangor had and how it could have operated better. Much like Grace Church, it should never have shut down in 2019. You can not blame either closure on the Virus. The Pandemic was not a factor then. Strangely, if it was still in business, the virus would have stopped the festival in 2020.

Remember the American Folk Festival

It ran for 18 years but why end it? It was run well most years but last year the city of Bangor was not behind it in my opinion. Construction projects should never ever shut down a festival that brings such joy to its citizens. Why even dig up the roads during the Summer Short Season? Why hurt the city and its many businesses at the time of their best business potential? Why do restaurants have to close because of slow construction projects. Is that really progress, in front of their storefronts? Is anyone concerned at city hall? Tourism matters, doesn’t it?

In regards to the festival, the city could have offered Bass Park for an alternate larger site. No one thought of that possibility. The city could better promote tourism by always thinking Big but using lots of common sense. It does not always cost a lot of money to do things. Planning and promotion can be done by those with imagination. Bangor has the right people that would be happy to help. It just does not have them on its payroll. It needs volunteers. Someone that can think outside the box.

The American Folk Festival should have known it could not operate as a free event. No entrance fees spell disaster. People are not going to just donate as nice it might be. Charge ten dollars to get in or fifteen for all three days and people would be fine with that. No one can operate at a loss but be real. Grow the festival, not take it down. Then promote the heck out of it when it is going on. Do not let tourists just stream by on their way to Acadia not knowing they are passing the American Folk Festival down under the bridge. Why no signage. Sorry but it is a shame there is not real thought going into planning such an important event. The city ought to think about hiring someone to promote the community. Doesn’t Bangor already have economic development?

The city bends over backwards to help the Waterfront Concerts but why not the American Folk Festival? Who owns the Waterfront Concert area? Why couldn’t the Festival use that stage for three days to help cut their costs? That could have been another possibility. Start thinking about promoting the town. Bangor has money to spend but can’t even provide a couple rest rooms downtown for citizens and tourists who might visit. At least think of the elderly who have to use the rest areas more often.  Bangor needs to wake up and be a welcoming community. The chamber could even provide a storefront to promote the businesses and restaurants in town. No one wants to drive out to route ninety-five to find out where to go in Maine. Why would the state want to hide out there? If the State was smart, they would bring back the rest stops that they abandoned a few years ago. State and local administrators need to think big, learn how to spend less utilizing some common sense.

A year or so ago, I heard that there was a new permanent restroom being constructed by the city. It turns out it was not for every day citizens and visitors. It was for ticket holders who attended waterfront concerts. Guess I heard wrong. Citizens and tourists need to ask to use local business bathrooms instead. What is wrong with that reasoning?  It is truly amazing that the city does not offer restrooms on the waterfront like other cities do.

Wake up Bangor. Time to coordinate what the city government is doing with tax payer funds and why things do not seem to run at highest efficiency. Even ticketing cars downtown while paying out more in salaries to city workers who ticket these cars. Is that smart and anti business? The city might as well dig up the streets during tourist season. Oh, they do that already.

Yes, the American Folk Festival will be remembered by everyone. It just was something that could have continued with imagination and forethought. It could have been bigger and better instead of smaller and then defunct.