Austin, Texas has South by Southwest. Manchester, Tennessee has Bonnaroo and come March, Portland, Maine will have Sunaana.
The all-day festival focused on live music, beer, and performing arts is slated for late winter. Chris Thompson and Jed Troubh, co-owners of Thompson’s Point, are organizing the festival along with Patrick Arnold of maritime management company Soli DG. Thompson’s Point tenants Bissell Brothers, Circus Maine, Cellardoor Winery and Stroudwater Distillery are all participating in the new event.
Inspired by Airwaves, an annual Icelandic music show that takes over the capital Reykjavik in early November, Thompson said Sunaana is one element of his strategic plan to make Thompson’s Point a year-round destination.
With 34-foot-high ceilings, the sprawling, 27,000-square-foot, raw, industrial space called Brick South is custom made for a rave. It’s also ideal for trapeze artists. “There is amazing ceiling heights for aerial acrobats,” said Cory Tabino, Circus Maine’s artistic director, who has performed in Cirque Du Soleil and imagines a similar feel for Sunaana. As music fills the room, performers will swing from rafters overhead.
Sunaana (an Inuit word that means “what is it?”) launches the opening of one of Portland’s largest and most dynamic event spaces, with capacity up to 2,500. In late March, the new Maine Flower Show will be held in this former engine repair warehouse.
A beer playlist, featuring brewers from near and far is being curated by Bissell Brothers and bands will be booked by The Halo, a recording studio in South Windham.
“The goal is to capture artists on the brink,” said The Halo’s owner Darren Elder, who stopped short of announcing a headliner. He intends to pack the fest with 12 musical groups from all over, including the next Nirvana? “I’m looking for artists whose caliber exceeds their name recognition.”
Thompson intends to make Sunaana an annual event.
“It’s not about having a beer fest that has music, or a music fest that has beer,” said Thompson, adding that an ice bar on the nearby skating rink will heighten the experience. “It’s a celebration between community, art, food, music and performance.”
Added Elder, “it will grow and get better. It’s about having an identity all its own and breaking new ground.”
Tickets will be available soon at www.Sunaana.com. The event is scheduled for March 3 and 4.