One of the most enjoyable and relaxing festivals I ever attended back in the 1980s was the Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival near Brunswick in southern Maine. A perfectly bucolic setting, along a sandy beach on one of the area’s many tidal inlets, the event had been run by Pati Crooker Mulligan since 1979 at her family’s campground.
When Pati passed away earlier this year, bluegrass fans in the northeast mourned not only this lovely lady who had hosted them so often at the festival, but also the Labor Day event they had cherished for so long. Her son, Michael Mulligan and his wife, Jennifer, have taken on the management of the campground, and announced today that will be continuing the festival going forward.
The 2017 Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival is scheduled for August 31-September 3 in the same park as before, with headliners Earls Of Leicester, The Gibson Brothers, Dailey & Vincent, and The Del McCoury Band on the bill. Attendees will not only have a full weekend of bluegrass music on stage, and in the campground, but also access to the other recreational amenities at the park including volleyball, disc golf, boating, and the beautiful beach just steps from the concert area.
Michael Mulligan says that he feels like the festival is part of his family. He remembers selling ice cream there for the first time when he was a lad of six, and is sure that his mom would be happy to see them continue it for another generation.
“This festival is important, not only to us, but so many people in the bluegrass community. It’s only natural that we continue. Where else would we be, or what else would we be doing on Labor Day weekend? This is as much a family reunion as it is a festival, it is a part of us, and we are incredibly lucky to have a strong network of support to help us continue my mother’s legacy in a big way. I think she would be proud.”
He also mentioned that he and Jen are all in with the festival, in 2017 and beyond. They have already started working on the 2018 event as well.
This is actually the second rebirth for Thomas Point Beach. After running it at the park for 30 years, Pati had decided to give it up in 2008, wanting to have that additional time with her family. But response was so intense from long-time festival goers that she brought it back in 2011, branded as The Bluegrass Special and ran it for the next five years. This summer, a Celebration of Life for Pati was held instead over Labor Day, and her memory will live on now at Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival for as long as it runs.
Details about tickets for the 2017 festival will be available at the Thomas Point Beach web site, or by calling the park at 207-725-6009.