Yarmouth end-of-summer music festival back for a 2nd year

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YARMOUTH — The Royal River Music Fest returns next weekend.

The second annual festival is scheduled for Aug. 22 from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. at Royal River Park.

Tim Winchester, who moved to Yarmouth five years ago, started the music festival last summer after realizing how many talented musicians live in the area. 

“I was impressed by how rooted music was in the community,” he said. “Musicians seemed to be coming out of the woodwork.”

Winchester partnered with Yarmouth Community Services to pull off the event, although he isn’t otherwise affiliated with the group. As a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, he said his interest in hosting the festival is to showcase talented musicians.

The free music festival will feature 10 bands and musicians including Jason Spooner Band, Gunther Brown, Armies with Dave Gutter & Anna Lombard, Gather Rounders, The Loose Threads, Gorilla Finger, Downeast Soul Coalition, The Delta Knights, Jenny Jumpstart, and The Hadacol Bouncers.  

Winchester said he wanted to get “a mix of established and local bands on one stage.” He said it’s important for Yarmouth to have a music event like this one.

“Music in a community is really important,” he said. “It’s really about community enrichment.”

Winchester said the event is held in Royal River Park because it’s a great outdoor space where people can enjoy spending the day.

“It’s a low-key day in the park,” he said. “It’s relaxing.”

He said it was also chosen because of it’s ability to host a large function.

“It was so under-utilized, and I had this vision,” Winchester said.

Last year’s festival attracted about 1,000 people throughout the day, according to Winchester. He said he’s hoping next weekend’s event will be equally, or more, successful.

“I definitely see the scale of the event growing in size,” he said. “I see it growing where we can fill the park, hopefully.”

To attract more residents, this year’s event will feature more activities for kids, including face painting, a dunk tank, a rock wall, and hula hooping. There will also be art exhibitors this year, with 10 artists featured.

Winchester said he could see the event showcasing more artists in the future, but he doesn’t want it to become the main attraction.

“The vision will always be to keep it music focused,” he said.

There will also be food available from food trucks, including Gusto’s, CN Shawarma, Fish ‘n Ships, Locally Sauced, Little Jamaica Cart, Pure Pops, and Calendar Island Creamery.

The food will be one of the only things that will cost money. Winchester raised $12,000 through local sponsors to host the event this year, and said the money couldn’t have been raised without the help of volunteers.

“The show would never be possible without the hard work of the Royal River Music Fest committee members,” he said.

T-shirts will also be for sale, with 10 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Royal River Conservation Trust.

Winchester said he understands the town has the annual Clam Festival as a town tradition, and he hopes the festival can become another one. From the feedback he got last year, he said he thinks the festival has the potential to become a long-running town event.

“The residents in town were pleased,” he said. “They thought it was a great new tradition.”

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.