The New England Folk Festival, widely known by the name NEFFA, is an annual folk festival that blends dance, music, crafts, and food from many places and cultures. This year is our 80th annual Festival and we hope that you will join us! The Festival is run by the New England Folk Festival Association, a cultural and educational, volunteer-run, non-profit organization. The talent of our performers is also provided on a volunteer basis.
The 2024 Festival is on April 19-21 at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel and Trade Center, 181 Boston Post Road West, Marlborough, MA 01752. We’re counting the days!
What Happens At The Festival?
NEFFA attracts over 2000 attendees from all over the country and overseas and features close to 1000 performers. The Festival is unique because of the participatory nature of the events. Not only are there concerts and performances, but there are also opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with music, dance, and folk arts culture.
There is music everywhere! You will find jam sessions, instrument workshops, group singing, and traditional music throughout the Festival.
This year, we are bringing back the activities space, with crafts projects for people of all ages, and we we offer family-friendly dances and music events throughout the daytime hours on Saturday and Sunday.
The Festival is known for its varied social dance program, which includes: Contra and traditional square dancing, international folk dancing, couple dancing, waltzing, English country, Scandinavian, and more. There are plenty of introductory workshops, as well as sessions geared towards intermediate and advanced dancers. A particular favorite is the no walk-through contra dance medley, which originated at the NEFFA Festival!
Dozens of morris teams dance outside as a welcoming sight to new and returning Festival-goers alike. Costumed ethnic performing groups have been a part of NEFFA since the beginning representing many different cultures such as Middle Eastern, Serbian, Bulgarian, Filipino, Polish, and Scandinavian, to name a few. General applications close in October each year, while dance performance and ritual dance applications close in January.
Thought-provoking dialogues provide a great opportunity to network with other Festival attendees with similar interests. These moderated discussion sessions cover a wide range of topics.
The Festival has a combined Crafts Room and Folk Bazaar known as the Festival Marketplace. The link to apply as a vendor will be on the NEFFA home page while applications are open.
The hotel offers a breakfast area and a restaurant-style buffet, as well as a full bar. There will be food trucks and hotel concessions at the Trade Center. Festival food includes vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. We regret that we are no longer able to support the community ethnic food vendors from past Festivals at this new venue.
NEFFA is a great place to bring your family. There are many family-oriented programs at the Festival, from dancing and singing to storytelling and a family activities area.
NEFFA is an all-volunteer run organization. Come meet the Board, provide feedback, and ask questions.
NEFFA celebrates our 80th anniversary in 2024! Learn about the origins of the Festival and our journey over many decades of joyful community.
Program Book Advertising Opportunities
Help NEFFA while you promote your business or service! NEFFA Program Books are picked up by festival-goers, kept as souvenirs and provide entertainment and reference for months to come. All funds raised by ad revenue support the Festival presentation of folk music, dance, arts, and crafts in NewEngland. Thank you for supporting NEFFA in this special way.
Be a Part of The Team
The New England Folk Festival Association works year-round not just on Festival planning, but also on a weekly contra dance, the Ralph Page Dance Event, and a grants program. Contact the NEFFA President at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in getting involved.