Following a successful single-day outing last year, the winter festival Sunaana returns to Portland this weekend as a two-day event, this Friday and Saturday (March 2 and 3). Touted as a "discovery event" full of music, breweries, and art, the celebration of short days and long nights before the two flip takes place at Brick South on Thompson's Point.
While last year tested the waters, the shuffle of emerging musicians from Boston, Maine, Iceland, and beyond. In fact, it's partially geared as a collaboration of sorts between the latter and New England in general, fostering a cultural exchange, one which will continue the following weekend with 2018's Taste of Iceland in Boston.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves though. First of all, what does "Sunaana" mean, and why spend the $20 or so to take Amtrak's Downeaster there? The fest moniker is a loosely translated Inuit word meaning "What is it?," which is kind of like Vinnie Barbarino talking up his excitement over an upcoming term-paper to Mr. Kotter. Color us confused either way.
Musically there's Iceland's indie-electronic CeaseTone, Maine singer/songwriter JanaeSound, and Portland's own Fifth Freedom some of our favorites on Friday. Day two has JFDR, hands down one of the best artists to thaw from the Nordic freeze in recent years, Maine rock band Jeremiah Freed and Boston's Dreamer & Son -- meaning this thing is pretty much gonna kill it.
Thompson’s Point rolls at 30 acres, a former railyard converted to a mixed-use neighborhood. The venue is anchored by two structures; renovated historic brick building that will accommodate the indoor portion of the event and an outdoor pavilion that is home to an outdoor ice rink, tubing hill and outdoor recreation area.
You can also catch the Sunaana Express from North Station on Friday in the early afternoon. Best if planning on sampling some of those craft beers. There'll be some music and drinks on the ride, which is pretty gold in the grand scale of things. And right below, there's a Spotify playlist of all the artists playing at the fest you don't want to try to pronounce, explain, or miss.
Tickets are here; see the full daily lineups and beer list below. Featured JFDR photo courtesy of Tell All Your Friends PR