Steel drum bands from throughout Maine and New Hampshire plan to gather to perform and celebrate the unique sounds of the steel drum, also known as the steel pan, or pan.

The two-day festival, hosted by Augusta’s own Vintage Steel — a local community steel pan ensemble of retirees, kicks off with a dance party at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at Mill Park in Augusta, featuring the music of Steel Sensation, a professional steel pan band from New York City. Listen and dance to authentic steel pan music that originated from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.

On Sunday, May 5, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Cony High School, 60 Pierce Drive, participating bands will perform. Some of the bands are from middle and high school music programs and others from community groups such as Augusta’s own Vintage Steel — a local community steel pan music ensemble composed of retired adults. The festivities culminate with a performance of all the bands playing together.

“The New England Pan Festival is a beautiful, homespun community event that has been happening for three decades, bringing together people of all ages to perform and enjoy steel pan music. It’s one of the coolest, most unique things that happens in Maine,” said Ian Ramsey, director of Pan Fried Steel and Steel Industry bands, according to a news release from the University of Maine at Augusta.

This event is sponsored by the Cultural Events Committee and the Augusta and Bangor SGAs, and SPF of UMA. Festival attendance is free all weekend and open to the public; donations are welcome.

For more information, email program coordinator, Christine Letcher, UMA Assistant Professor of Music, at


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