Face the Music: These free outdoor concert series are just the ticket this summer

Waterfont Park in Bath. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Listening to live music outside in the summer is a glorious thing here in Maine. And since everything is expensive right now, it’s even better when it’s free.

Knowing the artist is irrelevant during these series of free concerts, organized in parks in southern Maine. All you need is to pack yourself a picnic basket or grab some takeout and throw some lawn chairs or a blanket in your car (or under your arm or in your bike basket), maybe -be with insect repellent and a hoodie in case it gets cold.

As you take in the sights and sounds, be sure to store all the memories for when you need them in February while scraping ice from your windshield. And maybe you’ll even like some of these numbers and buy yourself a ticket to an indoor show in the fall.

Hinckley Drive, South Portland

You have to be careful where you step, because the millions of geese that live there are, shall we say, messy. That aside, it’s a nifty, central park with a bandstand, and shows are on Wednesday nights through August 10. You can easily rush to Hannaford or Shaw for snacks or grab takeout at Taco Trio. Pre-game at Foulmouthed Brewery, which has a robust food menu, is another option. All shows start at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit sopoparksrec.com.

July 13: Maine Marimba Ensemble
July 20: Stone Broke (rock, country and blues covers)
August 3: 12/OC Sound (country and bluegrass)
August 10: Studio Two Tribute (tribute to the Beatles)

Corner of Congress and Franklin, Portland

Friends of Lincoln Park dedicate their Love Lincoln Park series of shows to Frederich Law Olmsted, known as the father of American parks, in honor of his 200th birthday. Home to a fountain and a sculpture, the small park sits on the edge of the Old Port. Food carts and trucks will be on site on rotation. These shows haven’t been held since before the pandemic, and the organizers are very excited. Performances are at 6 p.m. Tuesday evenings through August 9. lovelincolnpark.org

Tuesday: The Renovators (rock and blues)
July 26: Katie Daggett & Ed DesJardins (soulful harmony)
August 2: Lincoln Park Troubadours (aka Wayne Street)
August 9: Blues Prophets (Chicago blues)

Downtown Bath

You’ll be right on the Kennebec River as you listen to music presented by The Chocolate Church Arts Center and Main Street Bath. All kinds of takeaways are available within walking distance. There’s plenty of room to stretch out on the grass and watch the boats go by to the sound of music. Performances are at 5 p.m. Saturday nights until August 27. chocolatechurch.org/summer-season

Saturday: Pete Muller and Kindred Souls (singer-songwriter quartet)
July 23: Peter Gallway and The Real Band (alt-folk and rock)
July 30: CRYS (melodic rock, soulful and country)
August 13: Erica Brown & The Bluegrass Connection (bluegrass)
August 20: Crystal Vision (tribute to Fleetwood Mac)
August 27: Pan Fried Steel (steel drum group)

Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth. Kenneth Keifer/Shutterstock.com

Shore Road, Cape Elizabeth

Presented by Cape Community Services, the series is called Sounds by the Sea, and the concerts sell out quite easily because location, location, location. Make sure you arrive early enough to have time to walk the cliff to the lighthouse which really never gets old. On the catering side, if you feel like splurging, there is usually a lobster roll truck on site. Non-perishable food donations for the Rotary Food Drive will be collected at each show. All shows are Monday nights starting at 6 p.m. capecommunityservices.org/sounds-by-the-sea

MondayJuly 18: Sonja and Good Friends (jazz, Latin pop and vintage)
July 25: The Earthtones (in the picnic shelter, acoustic string quartet)
August 1: Joan Kennedy Trio (at the bandstand, country, pop and blues)
August 8: Joe Boucher (at the bandstand, singer-songwriter at the piano)
August 15: The Katie Oberholtzer Septet (at the bandstand, jazz)

Don Campbell. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

Durant Drive, Scarborough

It’s a nice park next to Route 1 with a pond and a bandstand. A wide range of takeaways are available (Amato’s, El Rayo Taqueria, Pat’s Pizza, etc.) a short drive away. There are also a few pickleball courts in the park if you want to get into the sport that is sweeping the nation before you settle in for the show. For the daredevils in your life, the Scarborough Skate Park is on the edge of the park. All shows start at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays. scarboroughmaine.org

Thursday: Don Campbell Band (rock, pop, country originals and covers)
July 21: Motor Booty Affair (disco and funk)
July 28: Something Stupid (rock and pop covers)
August 4: Running Down a Dream (tribute to Tom Petty)

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