GARDINER — With the hours until the start of Record Store Day ticking away, Jason Goucher spent part of Thursday afternoon in his shop, attending near-last-minute details for Gardiner’s annual Music Walk.

Now in its fourth year, the Music Walk event — scheduled for Saturday — brings live tunes to the city’s historic downtown, giving music fans something extra to celebrate on Record Store Day.

“I don’t know what it is,” Goucher said. “I just like to do it. I like to set it up. For us, it’s a way to bring music to the community and new faces downtown. I try to get everybody involved who wants a part of it. Music just fits in everything.”

Along with his partner Samantha Robinson, Goucher owns and operates Niche Inc., an independent record store and gift shop at 307 Water St.

People in a drum circle play on April 16, 2016, in the Johnson Hall Mini Park during a Gardiner Music Walk event. Kennebec Journal file photo by Joe Phelan

With three years of Music Walk planning experience behind him, Goucher said the event is now both easier and harder to plan.

The Music Walk is organized along the lines of an art walk, with musicians performing in downtown businesses in the afternoon and evening. In all, 25 acts mostly from around Maine are scheduled, and they are all playing for tips. That’s enough bands to allow some host locations to feature two performances, he said. He tried to accommodate the acts who have appeared before and wanted to return, as well as bands that want to perform there for the first time.

This year the footprint is smaller, with most acts performing at locations between Bridge Street and Maine Avenue. The exception is the Life Community Church on Church Street, which is hosting a band and will serve as the rain location for the drum circle.

Music Walk events start at 2 p.m., with a drum circle in Dearborn Park. Papa’s Roadhouse Food Truck arrives around then as well. Face painting by Isabelle Files starts at 2:30 p.m., in the park, and the musical acts get underway at 3 p.m.

The Music Walk’s main event, a performance by Ethan Ayden and the band Sassquatch, is scheduled to start at 6 p.m., on the stage in Niche Inc., wrapping up about 7:30 p.m.

Two boys sit in the doorway listening as Halfpastfive band members, from left, Caleb Marsters, Brandon Doughty, Gavin Spellman and Nick Buonaiuto perform on April 16, 2016, in Healthy Smiles on Water Street in Gardiner during that year’s Gardiner Music Walk. Kennebec Journal file photo by Joe Phelan

But that’s not the end of Saturday’s music in Gardiner. Livingston Taylor, part of the musical family that includes brother James, is appearing at 7:30 p.m. at Johnson Hall, the city’s historic opera house.

Michael Miclon, the executive artistic director at Johnson Hall, said the performance schedule for the year already had been set, and it just so happened that Taylor’s performance, which is sold out, coincided with Record Store Day and the Music Walk.

“We love Jason and Sam and Niche. I love anything like this that draws anyone into the downtown,” Miclon said. “They come for something specific like the Music Walk, but they come into the businesses. And they can see how connected we are as a community, and the connectivity of the businesses as well.”

The inspiration for the event was Record Store Day, which celebrates independent record stores and the people who work in them. When Goucher and Robinson first applied to become an official Record Store Day record store in 2016, they wanted to do something more. At that point, Niche had been open about six months.

“It’s really just a fun event for us to get the community together and get as many people as we can enjoying music, local business and friends and family,” Goucher said. “That’s what I like to do and what I’m about. I love live music. I will have a whole street full of it.”

 

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ


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