Apply to NEFFA as a Festival Performer

Please read this entire page before applying, so you understand the process and what we are looking for.


The New England Folk Festival (NEFFA) will be held IN PERSON on April 21-23, 2023 at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center, 181 Royal Plaza Dr West, Marlborough, MA 01752. For more information about our new venue, please see

NEFFA is an all-volunteer festival made possible by contributions of time and talent from our hundreds of performers and volunteers. As we return to an in-person format, we thank all those who contributed to the 2021 and 2022 NEFFA Fund revenue share. We do not anticipate a revenue share in 2023.

The 2023 Festival will follow formal COVID protocols including proof of vaccination and masking indoors. Please read the detailed COVID policies before applying here.


  • Applications open Thursday, September 15 at
  • General applications close at 11:59pm on Sunday, October 30
  • Ritual dance applications close at 11:15pm on January 15.
  • Program Committee decisions (acceptances/rejections) are sent on or about January 15.
  • Performer confirmations of acceptance are due from accepted performers January 31

PLEASE DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE DEADLINE TO APPLY!!!  It is so much easier if the applications come in continuously over the application period, rather than all at once at the end. We are strict about these deadlines — NEFFA is a gigantic operation, and without structure everything would fall apart. THANK YOU in advance for helping us out by applying early.

 If you are having any trouble with your application, please let us know immediately at program AT neffa DOT org.

Put your thinking caps on, call your friends, and get ready to submit your NEFFA applications beginning September 15!  


We always look forward to seeing many familiar faces and classic NEFFA sessions return (see Schedule), but we are especially excited to welcome new faces and hear your ideas for new sessions. If you have friends who might be a good fit for NEFFA, please pass this along.

We are particularly eager for applications involving:

  • Folk traditions underrepresented at NEFFA, especially from Asia, Africa, and South America
  • Mentoring for those who wish to improve on their skills
  • Structured jams — both instrumental and singing — especially slow jams
  • Family-oriented participatory events (dancing, singing, or storytelling)

Note to Contra and Square Dance Callers

We are using Larks/Robins role terms, even for more traditionally-based material.

We like to feature more focused workshops on squares, chestnuts (including triplets and triple minors) and good dance style.

We also appreciate anyone who can offer an introductory session.

Please remember that the majority of our dance hours are for mixed levels; rarely do we schedule an advanced contra session outside of the medleys.


In our first year at the new hotel and trade center venue, NEFFA had concerns about the lack of space and the logistics required for dance performances. We had initially decided to wait a year to resolve this issue. When general performer applications opened in October, we invited what we felt was the only option for dance performance groups: to perform outdoors on asphalt with the ritual dancers. Some dance performance groups applied under these circumstances, and we would like to advise you of a change in plans.

After further discussion, the Board and committees felt strongly that dance performance is a core element of NEFFA, and materially adds to the variety of Festival offerings. NEFFA is in the process of planning how best to incorporate some dance performances into our existing dance spaces in the Trade Center and Hotel ballroom. Logistics will be limited (ex: no lighting). We also anticipate a reduced program overall.

Dance performance applications are now open for NEFFA 2023, our 79th year! Application deadline is Thursday, January 5, 2023 at 11:59 pm.


Join our mailing list at to stay in the NEFFA Loop for application deadlines, process, and ways to participate. We welcome you to the NEFFA community!

NEFFA Program Committee 2022-2023

Program Chair

Lynn Noel program AT neffa DOT org

DANCE Contra & Square Lisa Greenleaf
DANCE International Line Mari Young
DANCE Couple Dance Diane Gonzales
RITUAL Morris & Sword Jeff Keller
FMS Folk Music & Song-Participatory Song Nicole Singer
FMS Folk Music & Song-Instrumental Jams & Learning/Discussion Bob Solosko
FMS Folk Music & Song-Concerts Paul Wilde, Isobel Abelson