New England Folk Festival
~ April 24-26, 2020 ~
Acton Boxborough Regional High School

New England Folk Festival
~ April 24-26, 2020 ~
has been cancelled due to COVID-19
Please read this message from our President

Virtual NEFFA!
A "festival" of videos from over 60 NEFFA performing groups are now posted.

Please fill out an Evaluation Form by May 15.

Photos by Ryan Carollo

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 76th 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.

2020 Festival flight plan before it was grounded

Performers list: This is a index of all the performers who have performed at the Festival over the last few years. The names in BOLD are those who were committed to coming to the 2020 Festival. Clicking on the names in this index will you allow you to find contact information. Here's the list . This list is useful for finding contact information for the Virtual NEFFA performers also.

Performance Schedules: Festival grids for 2020 are available here.

Who would have been there? Craft Exhibitors, Bazaar Vendors, Food Vendors.

Thanks to all the committee folk and volunteers who worked at ground level to rethink rooms and space, again and again. Thanks to the Acton Boxborough Community Education folks who let us wander in large and small groups the halls of Acton Boxborough Regional High School trying to optimize the space.

Evaluation: Please fill out an Evaluation Form by May 15

Festival Basics

When: Friday April 24 to Sunday April 26, 2020 - Our 76th Year

Where: Acton Massachusetts. Acton Boxborough Regional High School, 36 Charter Rd, Acton, MA 01720. Directions are available here.

Admission: 2020 Ticket prices. Please bring cash or check. We don't sell out! The decision is yet to be made on the sale of Advance-Sale Festival tickets.

Performer Applications: Performer Application for 2020 Festival has closed. Please apply next year! Check here in early September for the application.

Schedules: Festival grids for 2020 are available here.

Medley schedule - Schedule to be posted when available.

Lodging: Information for 2020 is here.

Flyer: Download PDF

Program Book: Our 2019 printed program book.

Festival Evaluation: The online Festival 2020 evaluation form is in the hands of committee members We will post an on-line version when available. It remains on the web for 14 days after the conclusion of the Festival (May 10th 2020). If you missed the deadline or just remembered something you would like to share with us about please feel free to fill out this form.

Lose something at the Festival? Fill out this form.

Contact NEFFA for answers to other questions.

What Happens at the Festival?

The Festival attracts approximately 2,500 attendees from all over the country and overseas and features upwards of 1,000 performers.

  • Music: There is music everywhere! You will find jam sessions in the halls, instrument workshops, group singing, and performances of folk music throughout the Festival…turn the corner and music greets your ears. Bring your instruments; free instrument checking is provided (but no overnight storage). Practice rooms will be available on a sign-up basis for rehearsals and jam sessions.
  • Participatory Dance: The Festival is known for its varied social dance program, which includes: A lot of contra and traditional square dancing, international folk dancing, couple dancing, waltzing, English country, Scandinavian, and more. A particular favorite is the contra dance medley, originated at the NEFFA Festival. There are plenty of introductory workshops as well as sessions geared towards intermediate and advanced dancers.
  • Dance Performances: TWO dozen morris teams dance outside of the High School during the day on Saturday and Sunday — a welcoming sight to new and returning Festival-goers alike. In 2020, we will not be using an auditorium stage. Just how to fit ethnic performing groups is still currently in the planning stages. We have limited space. More info on this as it develops. We are very aware that costumed ethnic performing groups have been a part of NEFFA since the beginning representing many different cultures such as Middle Eastern, Serbian, Bulgarian, Egyptian, Chinese, and Scandinavian, to name a few.
  • Family Events: 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 puppets. Here is more information that families with young children might need.
  • Family Resource and Activities RoomA hands-on room for kids, teens, and adults to enjoy arts, crafts, and puppet play.
  • Food may be eaten only in the cafeteria or outdoors! It is not permitted in any of the other rooms or the hallways of the School. Be aware that vendors who need to be at their booth and Festival staff who must be at certain volunteer posts have been given exemptions from this restriction. Non-glass sealed water bottles, such as sports bottles, are permitted, but must remain sealed when not in use.
  • Crafts: Handmade items are for sale from a juried selection of vendors. Many exhibitors demonstrate their work.
  • Folk Bazaar: Vendor booths are located in the hallways and classrooms and offer a wide selection of folk-related wares, from music CDs to jewelry to puppets and more! Vendors hail from a wide variety of folk traditions.
  • Performer Sales Table: Books and recordings by NEFFA performers are for sale, as well as NEFFA souvenirs and T-shirts.
  • Discussion Sessions: 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 NEFFA Annual Meeting: NEFFA is an all-volunteer run organization.  Come meet the Board, provide feedback, and ask questions.

Getting Involved

As a Festival Performer
If you are interested in performing on a volunteer basis at the Festival, you can fill out an on-line application. Applications are available here in early September with different deadlines based on performer type; dance demo groups have a few months to apply and other performers have a deadline in early October. Email Program Chair Jon Cannon (jon.loves.neffa AT gmail DOT com) if you have specific questions. View performer index.
As a Festival Volunteer
The Festival runs as well as it does because of the efforts of hundreds of Festival volunteers. You can earn free admission by volunteering. Check out our volunteering site!
Program Book Advertising
NEFFA Program Guides are picked up by thousands of festival-goers, kept as souvenirs and provide entertainment and reference for months to come. Ad revenue helps us defray the cost of producing the books, which lets us keep admission prices as low as possible. Rates and Info
As a Vendor
The Festival has several areas for people who want to sell their wares. Please contact the appropriate person for that area in Food, Crafts or Folk Bazaar.

Special Notes

  • Access Information: Handicap parking is available at the Festival site in front of the High School and will be clearly marked.
  • Videotaping and Audio Recording: NEFFA policy is to allow video and audio taping for personal use only. Please respect performers’ requests to have recording devices turned off during their session.
  • No animals other than dogs assisting the disabled are allowed on the Festival grounds.
  • The New England Folk Festival Association, its agents, servants and employees do not assume any liability for any damage, theft, or other loss to your vehicle or your property that occurs as a result of parking your vehicle in any of the lots that are designated for Festival use.
  • Overnight parking is not permitted in any of the lots used for Festival parking.
  • No smoking, alcohol consumption, or illicit drugs allowed on school grounds.
  • Children must be supervised by a parent or guardian at all times. Events coded “F” are designed for you and your children to participate in together.
    NEFFA expects all dancers to exercise care and be respectful of others in their dancing.  No aerials (lifts) allowed; please keep at least one foot on the floor at all times. The New England Folk Festival Association, its agents, servants and employees do not assume any liability for any injuries that may be sustained due to the condition of the halls or the dancing.
  • Don’t leave valuables unattended at the Festival.
  • For Festival Lost and Found, fill out an on-line Lost and Found form.