Chandler’s New World Festival is an annual all-day, all-weather event on Labor Day Sunday in Randolph, Vermont that celebrates the Celtic and French American musical heritage so prevalent in this part of the New World brought to northern New England by English, Scottish, Irish and French-Canadian immigrants. The Festival has earned a reputation as one of the finest traditional music events in Vermont. With Main Street closed to traffic, the festival site is an intimate pedestrian village. Nearly 75 of the best regional and international musicians present concerts, play in dance bands, and share tunes and traditions.
Performances are in Chandler, in all-weather tents on Main Street, and in Bethany Church. Puppet shows, performances by young musicians, dance instruction and crafts are featured in the Family tent. The Dance tent offers participatory dancing in a variety of styles: contra, French quadrilles, Cape Breton, and free-style. The Sessions tent brings musicians from the same traditions together to share tunes in impromptu performances. Adding to the festive atmosphere is work by area artisans. The Food tent offers specialties from several area caterers; local non-profit organizations sell homemade treats and raise funds for community activities.
All performance sites are wheelchair accessible.
This post on Vishtèn’s Facebook page said it all, “New World Festival @ Randolph, VT was amazing! Quelle belle journée! Such a great vibe … loads of music, kick ass contra dancing, food and fun-music-loving people – we had a full day of shows and are now exhausted, but we loved every minute of it!! MERCI!!”
Fiddler Mariel Vandersteel agreed, “I just wanted to thank you again so much for having us up at the New World Festival. It was a truly magical day and once we were settled into our host’s house and on the drive back we all were agreeing that it was a wonderful event. We loved the traditional aspect of it and how much of a community sense it had about it. The size was perfect and the venues were great. And it was stress free – so amazing it’s all volunteer-based.”
It was a great day, indeed! Performances the young Québécois trad band Les Poules à Colin and by young musicians in The Irregulars, The Zeichner Band, and Vermont Capers were joyful testament to the growing interest in traditional and roots music that is sustained and nurtured by gifted teachers and dedicated schools throughout the region. This new generation of musicians and dancers is breathing new life and excitement into time-honored traditions, and the New World Festival celebrates being part of this.
Seeds for next year’s festival have already been planted. Mark your calendars for Sunday August 31, 2014! We’ll hope to see you there.
Volunteers are central to the New World Festival’s success! Their cheerful assistance to visitors at all performance venues, in the food tent, at the admissions gate, and in the festival store are notable and one of many reasons long-time fans of the festival keep returning. Volunteers are still needed for this year’s festival. Three to four hours of work – depending on the job – will earn volunteers an all-day pass to the festival. Interested persons, age 12 or older, are asked to contact the festival’s volunteer coordinator, Marda Donner, at 802-276-3808 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year’s New World Festival launches our third decade of bringing the best in Celtic and French Canadian music and dance to the region!
Early in the Festival’s history, Robert Resnik, host of Vermont Public Radio’s “All the Traditions”, recognized elements that have contributed to our success.
“A classic example of a small festival! Top-notch music, one-of-a-kind stages, delicious food, appreciative audiences, smiling people … the positive adjectives can go on and on.”
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce recognizes the excellence of what we do and once again has designated the New World Festival as a Top Ten Fall Event.
Planning for another great festival is in the works, with new up-and-coming bands, old favorites, and another pub sing. We’re even stretching the musical boundaries a bit in recognition of the many ways Celtic music has influenced traditional music from other regions, such as Appalachia.
We hope you’ll join us! If you haven’t experienced the Festival yet, we encourage you to give it a try. We think you’ll echo the sentiments of a new patron at last year’s festival –
“Why, oh why didn’t I get myself to the NWF years ago???”
We couldn’t have asked for a better day – the weather was picture-perfect, the music was superb, the food was delicious, and the exuberant atmosphere pervaded every corner of the festival.Thanks to all our loyal patrons who attended and brought along family members and friends for their first New World Festival experience. Thanks to the scores of volunteers who helped create the welcoming, friendly atmosphere. Thanks to incredibly talented musicians who included the Festival in their busy schedules; the music couldn’t have been better! Thanks to food vendors and artisans who added so much to the day.We welcome feedback and encourage you to post photos, videos and comments on your own Facebook pages.
For those of you who loved the performances by De Temps Antan, you can order tickets to their March 9 performance at Chandler online or by calling the Chandler box office at 802-728-6464 between 3 & 6 PM weekdays!
It was a grand 20th anniversary celebration and we look forward to September 1, 2013! Save the date!
Download your official New World Festival program right here