Over the past two decades, the city of Bangor has transformed its waterfront area along the Penobscot River from a deteriorating industrial expanse to a downtown park open to pedestrians and recreation.
Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, which opened in 2010, is part of this transformation.
If you’ve never been to Bangor, or haven’t been there in a long time, it’s worth making the drive and enjoying a full day around a waterfront concert.
Currently the largest outdoor venue in Maine by a wide margin, Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion is capable of hosting acts as popular as Phish, Jimmy Buffett and Miranda Lambert — something no other outdoor, full-time venue in the state can boast. Compared to large outdoor venues such as Massachusetts’ Xfinity Center, it’s more down-home and personal. The bathroom lines can be problematic, but it’s easy to get in and out, it’s convenient to Interstate 95 and, if you arrive early enough, you can find street parking downtown.
The sound is of good quality for a venue of its size, but the sight lines can be troublesome. Many venues of roughly similar capacity are amphitheaters, a setup that allows even those in the cheaper seats a decent view. Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, however, is flat, and, if you’re in the back half of the venue, it can feel like you’re watching tiny people on a massive, black stage. It’s worth buying the best seats you can afford, but if you get there and are unhappy with your seats, they do offer the option to purchase upgrades on site, if better seats are available.
Regardless, there are increasingly few outdoors venues of this size in downtown areas, and Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion offers the opportunity to have a meal and a beer in one of many local establishments, take in one of Maine’s finest renewal projects along the riverfront and see a music industry giant in a festive atmosphere.
DARLING’S WATERFRONT PAVILION
LOCATION: 1 Railroad St., Bangor
TICKETS & INFO: waterfront concerts.com, 207-358-9327
SEATING STYLE: Depends on show, but generally assigned seating with a general admission pit up front and lawn in back
REFRESHMENTS: Food and beer vendors on site
PARKING: VIP parking close to the venue, also street parking and Pickering Square Parking Garage
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes