What Isn’t Sunaana?

Sunaana Festival
Photograph by Jonathan Laurence

Portland’s freewheeling festival — christened with an Inuit word meaning “What is it?” — gets even more eclectic in year two.

Bel Heir
“An insane gift for crafting hooks!”

Lights for Landing
“An adventurous palate of sonic colors!”

Axel Flovent
“Stunning songwriter! Stunning voice!”

Dream and Son
“Made me think back to what it felt like when I first heard a young U2. Outstanding!”

“Soul vocals for days. She’ll blow the doors off the place!”

[dropcap letter=”T”]he schedule for Sunaana, the two-day music and beer festival at Thompson’s Point, is packed with 20-plus bands, including three from Iceland. (Full disclosure: Down East is a sponsor.) Part of the goal is fostering cultural exchange between the Pine Tree State and our increasingly chummy Nordic trading partner. But the broader aim, says festival music curator Darren Elder,founder of Windham’s The Halo recording studio, is to encourage musical discovery. From his own network of industry connections and 1,000ish submissions, Elder picked a slate of up-and-comers spanning rock, pop, punk, alt-country, soul, and more. “If anything links them all,” he says, “I think it’s just that I’m sensitive to great songs.” Reykjavik’s Iceland Airwaves festival, where even headliner-worthy bands get limited stage time, influenced his thinking about the virtue of cramming in so many acts. “Boom, boom, boom, one band after another,” he says. “It makes you curious about what else a band has, which hopefully drives you to be an active listener.” We asked Elder for a preview of the lineup and got a rapid-fire set of promo-style blurbs. (The guy is excited.)

March 2–3. Brick South, 8 Thompson’s Point, Portland. sunaana.com

Enter HERE for a chance to win two-day tickets, hotel accommodation, and transportation for two to this year’s festival.