Code of Conduct

NEFFA is a diverse community of friendly people who enjoy and promote many folk traditions, including folk dancing and singing. We aim to create inclusive, safe, and welcoming events with your help. Please refer to our Code of Conduct (below) for more information.

Our events run on volunteer energy!  Thank you for welcoming new folks, volunteering, and participating in our events.  We really appreciate your help!

How to Enjoy Dance Sessions Safely:

Please feel free to join in participatory dance sessions. 

  • If it’s a partner dance, you may ask anyone to dance or anyone may ask you. Either of you can accept or politely refuse. Dancing with different people is a valued tradition, and we encourage you to change partners frequently.
  • If you are new, ask experienced dancers to dance with you. 
  • If you are an experienced dancer, ask someone new or sitting out. You can also help newer dancers with friendly gestures (verbal instructions can be confusing).
  • For dances with two roles, when you ask someone to dance, ask if they have a preference. It’s okay to switch roles!
  • If it’s a line dance, ask to break in between people or join at the end of the line. If a dance seems more complicated, try the dance behind the line. Watch the line leader or an experienced dancer to get the steps.
  • When turning, eye contact helps avoid dizziness. If it’s uncomfortable for you, look at your partner’s shoulder, ear or forehead.
  • Take care of yourself, and get consent for flourishes or for more energetic dancing. If you have an injury, tell people verbally, or by wearing a brace, bandana, or badge. Here are some examples of things to check in about with your partner:
    • “Do you like to twirl?” 
    • “Do you like to swing fast?”
    • “I’m dizzy. Can we slow down?”
    • “My shoulder/wrist/hand hurts. Can we find an easier way to swing/allemande?”
  • Laugh off mistakes, and be patient with yourself and others. 

How to Enjoy Folk Music and Song Sessions

NEFFA encourages a culture of participation as well as performance. Sometimes it can be tricky to see where those lines get drawn, so here are some helpful tips.

  • At the Festival, the program has codes that can help you know what to expect and how to participate.
    • Sessions with an E code are Entertainment and you are invited to be a respectful audience. If the performer invites you to sing or play along, by all means do so!
    • If a session has a G code, it means Group Participation is welcome. You can expect to bring an instrument, sing along on the chorus, or lead a song at the leader’s invitation. 
  • The leader for a jam session or singalong is responsible for promoting respectful participation. Keep an eye on the leader for guidance.
  • Take turns. Make sure everyone has a chance before you lead a second song or tune.
  • Listening is as important as singing or playing. Please keep your attention on the session and move side conversations out of the program space. 
  • If you’re leading a song, help to create a welcoming environment. As you are able, we encourage you to avoid or adapt offensive lyrics such as racist or sexist references. Consider the impact of your lyrics on others. 

Code of Conduct

We expect all of our attendees – performers, volunteers, and participants – to respect our culture of consent. We all share the responsibility for a satisfying, safe, and successful event. All interactions in NEFFA spaces should be consensual. Please treat everyone with kindness and respect. Be considerate of the physical needs, skill level, and energy of your fellow attendees. We expect everyone to remember and respect that “no” means “no.”

We are an inclusive event. Think carefully before commenting on a dancer’s appearance, ethnic heritage, or any other potentially sensitive topic. If another person’s behavior makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, please report it to us so we can address the situation.

Parents/guardians are ultimately responsible for the safety and conduct of their children.  Young children should be supervised by a parent or another designated adult at all times. 

All attendees under the age of 18 are encouraged to provide emergency contact information on the back of their Name Tag badges.

Many of our participants are sensitive to fragrances. Please do your best to avoid scented products.

How do I report a concern?

Please share issues or concerns, particularly regarding unsafe behavior, so we can continue to produce welcoming events. 

  • At the Festival: The Safety Table can write down a report to be addressed after the Festival. For more urgent concerns, ask anyone wearing a Festival Committee badge, or a person at the Safety or Information Tables, to refer you to a member of our Incident Response Team. 
  • At non-Festival NEFFA events: If you cannot identify who to talk to, ask the people at the door who the event coordinator is.  
  • At any time: You can always contact members of the NEFFA Board of Directors using any of the methods on our website at

What happens once I report a concern?

We take all reports seriously. Depending on the situation, we may take a variety of actions to respond to violations of our code of conduct, up to and including removing an individual from the Festival or other event.

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