Saco River: A Review

Updated: Jul 24, 2019


by Alex LaRoza

The Fiddlehead campground on the Saco River shoreline has always been a haven for students and young adults wanting to relive their college antics each Fourth of July. Its location in remote Fryeberg Maine makes it the perfect spot for two nights of crazy music, which The Emporium dutifully provided.

“This was The Emporium’s first camping music festival,” Emporium CEO Rico Brea explained. “With the limited time of 6 weeks to put it together and promote the event, it went extremely well. We also took the risk of bringing in some major out of region artists to funk up the lineup.”

The festival took a while to build up to a climax Friday night, partially due to the temperatures reaching into the mid 90s until the evening. The day’s lineup began with Mister Splinter, a Newmarket-based blues rock trio; and continued with the conscious hip-hop stylings of Citizen Kane (aka Peter Kane) with support from Andy Crowley.

“Everything was run very smoothly, which was dope,” Kane said. “Only improvement I would suggest is to maybe advertise more around the camp site to get more people to come check it out. Overall I had a great time!”

Merther, a psychedelic jam band from Bangor Maine, was the night’s first headliner. Although the heat was coming down by late afternoon, most of the audience was wading in the river rather than in front of the stage.

“We definitely had a good time!” Josh Bowden of Merther said. “But for the next year I would suggest possibly turning the stage 90 degrees so that it’s facing the water, but still far enough away that there is room for people to be in front of the stage while not in the water, for the later evening sets if people don’t necessarily want to swim then.”

Brooklyn-based space rock group Escaper followed with a mind-expanding set around 6:00. By this point the crowd had increased significantly, but it was only with Harsh Armadillo’s closing set that the event truly took on the vibe of a musical festival.

Harsh was originally scheduled to play for 1.5 hours, but the enthusiasm from the audience was so great that they ended up playing twice as long, performing well-past midnight.

“The production crew was excellent, especially given the challenge of the location,” Harsh Armadillo explained. “The crowd was killer-people were ready to have fun and engage-which fuels a lot of the band’s energy onstage.”

Given the party atmosphere of Saco River, most of the crowd didn’t sleep much that night, as evidenced by the sunken eyes in the morning. Nevertheless, the party raged on, with the second night drawing an even larger crowd thanks to the cooler atmosphere.

With the exception of New York City progressive rock headliners Consider the Source, Saturday centered around the EDM/DJ performances of Lil Chemist, Flowttiglio, Tito Burrito, Shredz, and the DJs of Bass Face Productions. Thanks to the addition of the fire performance group Twin Flame Entertainment, the night took on the appearance of a mini-rave festival.

“I’d say it went very well, apart from myself having technical difficulties I’d say my set went alright,” Tanner Stanley (aka Shredz) said. “The audience was weak at first but towards the end picked up and everyone was moving. All in all I had an amazing time.”

“It was a smaller crowd and stage than we are used to, and that was a really fun change,” Consider the Source said. “That’s why we did the double encore, the crowd had such a good energy.”

In spite of the success of the festival, some of the musicians identified areas that could be improved upon.

“I think that there needed to be more food vendors,” Amelia Kate of Bass Face Productions said. “The food prices were high as well. I was in the crowd and heard that from a few people.”

The other main complaint was the location of the stage. Multiple guests had trouble moving their cars out of the sand, with one musician recommending a better road to the stage the next time around. Despite this, Brea considered the festival a massive success given the metrics involved.

“Overall it was truly incredible with how seamless the entire campout went,” Brea said. “The artists were all extremely respectful and awesome and the production crew was on point and professional. Thank you to everyone who participated in any or all of The Emporium’s first Saco River Campout!”

Friday, June 5th:

Mister Splinter

Citizen Kane



Harsh Armadillo

Saturday, June 6th: Lil Chemist Flowttiglio Tito Burrito Shresz Bass Face Productions: Oyez, Gremlinz, Psych b2b

Consider the Source

Twin Flame Entertainment:

Dylan Cameron

Elliviah Wilcox

Elijah Cady

Tori Clark

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