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80 Years of Folk: New England Folk Festival Celebrates Milestone Anniversary!

FOR RELEASE 7 March 2024

[Marlborough, MA] – [March 7, 2024] – Calling all music lovers, dance enthusiasts, and culture seekers! The New England Folk Festival Association (NEFFA) is thrilled to announce its 80th anniversary celebration, inviting you to a Festival of Festivals unlike any other. From April 19-21, step into a vibrant world of music and dance at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel and Trade Center in Marlborough, MA, and experience the power of folk traditions from across the globe.

80 Years of Volunteer Passion: A Celebration of Community

This milestone anniversary isn’t just about music; it’s a testament to the incredible spirit of volunteers who keep NEFFA alive year after year. Unlike most festivals, NEFFA thrives on the unwavering commitment of its volunteers. From organizers and sound engineers to performers and ticket takers, thousands of individuals donate their time and talent to bring this cultural gem to life each year. This unique volunteer-driven model reflects the core values of NEFFA: inclusivity, collaboration, and a deep respect for tradition.

Quote: “What makes NEFFA truly special is the heart and soul poured into it by our volunteers,” shares Jonathan Young, President of NEFFA. “For 80 years, they’ve been the driving force, weaving together a tapestry of music, dance, and shared experiences that transcends generations.”

More Than Just Performances: A Gateway to Cultural Discovery

NEFFA goes beyond the stage, offering a unique space for cultural immersion. Dive deeper into specific traditions through educational workshops, learn a new dance move, or browse the artistry of handcrafted instruments and decorative folk wares in the Festival Marketplace. Refuel with delicious food and drinks from on-site vendors. Whether you’re a seasoned folk aficionado or simply curious to explore new sounds, NEFFA offers a welcoming environment for discovery and connection. 

Quote: “This isn’t just a dance or a concert – it’s a welcoming family reunion for the entire folk community,” says Lynn Noel, Program Chair of NEFFA. “Music and dance are what makes us human. We’re thrilled to raise a glass to 80 years of tradition, and to invite everyone to join the party!”

Immerse Yourself in a Global Soundscape

Prepare to be swept away by three days of foot-stomping music, heart-thumping dance rhythms, and soul-stirring songs passed down through generations. Whether you’re a seasoned contra dancer or a curious first-timer, tap your feet to the infectious energy of traditional contra and square dances. Race your partner to the famous NEFFA contra medleys with 30 minutes of continuous dancing with 500 couples on the dance floor. Embark on a musical journey with captivating Balkan rhythms, Celtic jigs, and rollicking sea chanteys. Soothe your soul with the gentle twang of folk strings, from fiddles and banjos to guitars and ukuleles. Feel the bright buzz from a Balkan brass band and English handbell ringing. Watch kids and families act out Saint George and the Dragon in a traditional English mummer’s play. Then, let your wanderlust take flight with vibrant world music and dance, exploring traditions from Argentine tango to Bollywood and Cuban rhythms. And of course, no NEFFA experience is complete without heart-warming a cappella performances and rousing community singalongs.

Join the Legacy: Celebrate 80 Years of Folk

The 80th anniversary NEFFA Festival is more than just an entertainment event; it’s an invitation to celebrate the enduring power of community, volunteerism, and artistic expression. Be part of this historic gathering and experience the magic that unfolds when diverse cultures and passionate individuals come together through the unifying language of music and dance.

Key highlights of the 80th anniversary NEFFA Festival:

  • A vibrant tapestry of music and dance representing diverse global traditions
  • Contra and square dancing, Balkan rhythms, Celtic jigs, Indian classical dance, sea chanteys, folk strings, world music, a cappella, and more
  • Engaging workshops, craft demonstrations, and opportunities for cultural immersion
  • Family Folk Fun: Bring the whole crew! Kids can unleash their creativity with music, dance, storytelling, and crafts designed for families.
  • Special events and tributes honoring NEFFA’s 80-year legacy and its dedicated volunteers

Tickets for the 80th anniversary New England Folk Festival are now on sale. Learn more, purchase tickets, and find complete Festival information at

Who knows, you might just become the newest NEFFA volunteer and earn free admission!


“To preserve folk traditions in New England and elsewhere, and to encourage the development of a living folk culture.”

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