Friday, September 11, 2009

Music for the mazes


Music seems to be a growing component of Maine's "agritainment" scene, though it's not as widespread yet as corn mazes and wagon rides. Musicians who play apple orchards and farms say it's a relaxed atmosphere, and often there's good acoustics as well.

"Orchards are usually very nice acoustical spaces, with trees behind you and on the sides, and the audience in front, so you can get a good sound without having to be too loud," said Randall Morabito of the Good Rockin' Daddies, a group that's played farms around southern Maine.

"And it's a relaxed, family atmosphere, where everyone's in a good mood anyway. So it's fun for us to play."

Apple Acres Farm in South Hiram, located about an hour west of Portland, is one of the places with regular music each fall. The Good Rockin' Daddies will be playing one of their "children's dance parties" there at noon Sept. 19. Admission to the one-hour show, on a hilltop field surrounded by trees, is $6 for adults and $3 for children ages 12 and under.

The Good Rockin' Daddies play mostly original children's songs in the style of old-time rockers like Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley or Elvis Presley. So the focus is squarely on getting the kids to move.

Apple Acres also hosts a one-day bluegrass music festival every fall. This year's edition will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 26. Admission for the music is $7. The three Maine-based performers will be Bits and Pieces; Breakin' Strings, an all-teen band from Augusta; and the Muddy Marsh Ramblers, who play often around Portland.

Even when there's music at Apple Acres, there's no admission to take part in other activities, including a hay bale maze.

Doles Orchard in Limington, located about 45 minutes west of Portland in York County, has a different band playing at its "Harvest Concert Series" every Sunday from Sept. 20 through Oct. 11. The performances are usually in the afternoon, around 1 p.m., and are free.

This year's schedule includes Maine guitarist Denny Breau on Sept. 20, the Half Moon Jug Band on Sept. 27, the Imperial Hot Club on Oct. 4 and Acoustic Soul Duo on Oct. 11.

Doles – which has apples and raspberries right now for the picking – has had bands playing on Sundays during the fall for about eight years.

"It's just one more way for us to draw people here, as opposed to another orchard," said Emily Tripp, whose parents own the farm.

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