Is Bangor moving backwards?

When I was a young musician growing up in Bangor, finding a place to put on shows, if you weren't in a cover band, was almost impossible. There was no real outlet for original bands. As the years passed, there were finally places like the legendary Penny Post in Old Town, or a bit later, The Kave in Bucksport.

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And now, it seems like we're moving backwards, as two huge announcements here in the Bangor area have young musicians locally, as well as from other parts of Maine... Where are we going to play? Just over the weekend, Queen City Cinema Club announced they'd be closing soon, and now it seems that the Bangor Arts Exchange isn't far behind it, according to the BDN.

BAE will be closing by the end of the year.

Bangor, Maine
Google Street View

Around these parts, most locals refer to the Bangor Arts Exchange as BAE, for short. It's become the spot in town where there might be a wedding reception one day, and a grind-core metal show the next. It was part of Launchpad, a non-profit organization here in Maine, best known for curating the All Roads Music Festival, held annually in Belfast.

Electric Guitar
David Vigil

The current situation has them struggling to find a way to stay open, as the current owners of their location, ArtStream, are deciding the best way to use the space, and whatever renovations may go along with it. Eventually, it left the Bangor Arts Exchange feeling like there was no place to relocate to. For that matter, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra is being somewhat displaced by the changes as well.

Military musician playing a horn

This is a gigantic blow to our city...

Now, we can't say yet exactly what the current owners of the property intend to do there, so maybe something good could eventually come out of all of this. But right now, it feels like between QCCC and BAE making these announcements, Bangor is going to have a huge hole where it's creativity used to be.

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Maybe some local venues/establishments will find a way to pick up some the piece left behind when the dust clears, but right now it feels like younger bands, indie bands, metal bands, and any other imaginable local artist or musician... has lost their spots. Our community will suffer because of these losses, even if we don't know it yet.

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