GARDINER — The last time Eric McMaster signed up to host a band in his dental office after hours, it was a nice Celtic duo, acoustic banjo and fiddle.

Early Saturday evening, McMaster was once again hosting music at Healthy Smiles on Water Street, and it was clear to anyone within a half-block radius of his office, because it was a solid punk set from HalfPastFive, which started performing right around half past five.

That performance was one of about two dozen scheduled and organized for the Gardiner Music Walk by Niche, Inc., downtown Gardiner’s record shop, with the support of Gardiner Main Street.

Samantha Robinson, co-owner of the record shop, said she and her partner, Jason Goucher, decided they wanted to do something more when their application to be an official Record Store Day record store was accepted. The event celebrates independent record stores and the people who work in them.

Robinson and Goucher hit on the idea of a Music Walk, patterned after Art Walks, in which galleries and other businesses showcase the work of participating artists.

“We love being a part of Gardiner,” Robinson said. They opened Niche, Inc., about six months ago to sell music, including vinyl, and music related gifts. “There’s such a great community feel.”


So they lined up interested business and started reaching out to musicians, and pretty soon, musicians were contacting them, and the Music Walk was organized.

Saturday’s spring weather was kind to the event, and dozens of people made their way up and down the path of the Music Walk, which was sandwiched between the Depot on one end and The Bench on the other. Both had already scheduled live music later in the evening. In the middle of the walk is Johnson Hall, where the Early Evening Show was scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Mary and Peter Walsh were making their way down Water Street as the drum circle in Johnson Park next to Johnson Hall was finishing its communal performance.

“We came by to see it,” Peter Walsh said, as they made their way to Pasta’z for dinner. “It’s excellent. It brings people out and gives them a sense of community.”

The Walshes have witnessed the events lined up in downtown Gardiner, and say it’s an underappreciated opportunity. “People from Augusta don’t come down here,” he said, “and the people from the coast don’t come up.”

That’s not the case for Garrison Beck, who was downtown with Lisa Legare. Beck is the chairman of the Gardiner Coop board. Dana Massive was scheduled to play at the Coop and Cafe between 6 and 7 p.m.


“Having all the bands in the businesses is exciting,” Beck said, It brings people downtown in the evening and gives them a chance to shop or see businesses that might already be closed. “They are shopping,” he said.

“It really does bring people together,” Legare said.

Bands and solo artists ran the gamut from pop and punk to jazz and electronic. All the musicians donated their time; they played for tips.

Niche, Inc. stays open late, and Robinson said she’d like to see other evening events to spread around the business that happens after 5 p.m., including an annual Music Walk that would tie in with Record Store Day.

Record Store Day, which started in 2007, rolls around every year in mid-April.

Robinson said she’d like to see the Music Walk become an annual event tied in with Record Store Day every year downtown.


“We want to keep people coming downtown,” she said.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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