Bath concert series offers musical variety on waterfront

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BATH — Three years in, organizers say, the Chocolate Church Arts Center’s Summer Saturday Concert Series is getting better and more diverse.

Running from July 9 through Aug. 27, the free Waterfront Park series celebrates a range of musical styles and tastes, from the calypso and reggae instrumentals of Pan Fried Steel, to the rock tunes of Bath’s own Max Ater.

“It’s a variety, and it is a definite flavor of local talent, and upcoming talent,” where other series may showcase more established acts, Jennifer DeChant, Chocolate Church executive director, said in an interview June 23.

She noted that the arts center’s series – put on with the cooperation of the city – isn’t meant to compete with shows in Portland, but rather “to get a sense of community, and a sense of music.”

People can bring snacks, or swing by one of Bath’s dining establishments to grab something to go, and sit in their lawn chairs or lay on their blankets and enjoy an evening of outdoor music in the City of Ships, DeChant said.

If it rains? Not a problem – in that case the show will take place inside the 804 Washington St. former church, which turns 170 next year.

“Nobody rains on our parade,” DeChant quipped.

Despite one show being cancelled last year, the series still drew more than 1,100 people, she said. The summer series supplements the center’s autumn-to-spring season, which most recently entertained 6,000 people, DeChant noted.

“The summer season is really a precursor to our fall,” she said, referring to the diversity of offerings.

A full schedule of concerts can be found at chocolatechurcharts.org.

Amy & the Engine, an indie pop-rock band from Boston, kicks things off next weekend on the Kennebec River. The group formed two years ago at the Berklee College of Music and has played with such acts as Guster, Don McLean, Vance Joy and Kasey Musgraves, according to a Chocolate Church press release.

Following weeks feature the Shipmates with Alison Lee Freeman, with harmonies by Liz and Chris Lannon (July 16); the Hollowbody Electric Band (rock, July 13); Lauren Crosby and Golden Oak (bluegrass, July 30); Pan Fried Steel (Aug. 6), Snappdragon (blues rock, Aug. 13); Heather Pierson (Americana, Aug. 20); and Ater (Aug. 27).

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Amy & The Engine, a Boston indie pop-rock band, kicks off Bath’s Summer Saturday Concert Series on the Kennebec River July 9.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.