||The NEFFA Festival
(also known as The New England Folk Festival) is a
fabulous blend of dance, music, crafts, and food from many lands.
The 2016 Festival, our 72nd annual Festival, is
tentatively scheduled (but very likely)
to be held on April 15-17, 2016 in Mansfield, Massachusetts (near Boston).
One of the things that makes the Festival special is that all
performers donate their talents as volunteers.
What happens at the Festival?
- Lots and lots of people attend; from near and far
- We always have a
good turnout from the both coasts and all points in between.
New Jersey, New York, Canada, all the New England states, and points
in between. Many visitors travel from overseas!
Swirling Dancers in the Main Hall
Photo by Joe Peidle
- Participatory Dance - A lot of
traditional square dancing,
International Folk Dancing, dancing from specific
regions, couple dancing, swing dancing, clogging, etc. All levels of
expertise are featured. Particular favorites are the contra dance
medleys, originated at the NEFFA Festival (we believe).
- Dance performances - Costumed ethnic performing groups have been a
part of NEFFA since the beginning.
About a dozen
dance outside the High School
the day on Saturday and Sunday -- a welcoming sight to new and
returning Festival-goers alike.
- Food - About a dozen or so booths and food trucks serve a variety of food, including
"kid-friendly" offerings. The
food is very good. Prices vary from "Good Value"
to "Expensive" (but a good value, compared to restaurants).
Come hungry! Breakfast foods are available Saturday and Sunday AM.
Here's a list of the vendors.
- Music - Music everywhere!
Jam sessions in the halls, instrument workshop
sessions, performances of folk music, singing...turn the corner and
more music greets your ears. Bring your instruments! Free instrument
checking is provided (but no overnight storage). Practice rooms in the Middle School will be available on a sign-up basis for rehearsals and jam sessions.
- Crafts - Handmade items
are for sale in the crafts room. Demonstrations of craftsmanship happen frequently. The room is open Friday 6 to 9:30pm, Saturday 9:30am to 9:30pm, and Sunday 9:30am to 5:30pm.
Here's a list of the vendors.
- Bazaar - Books, records,
CD's, clothing, etc. all for sale in the
Bazaar area in the corridors. The Performer Sales Table has items
for sale by NEFFA performers; NEFFA souvenirs and T-Shirts (current and past years) are on sale here.
Here's a list of the vendors.
- The Activity Room -
A hands-on room for kids and adults!
- Discussion Sessions - Dance callers, administrators, and dancers all
get together to talk about areas of interest. The Festival attracts
lots of callers, musicians, and event producers--it's
a great opportunity to network.
- Family Events
- Dancing, singing, storytelling, puppets,
etc. Here's a schedule!
Here is more information that families
with young children might need.
- The NEFFA Annual Meeting
- Meet the Board, provide feedback, ask
The schedules for the 2015 Festival are available here.
- Where: Mansfield, Mass., High and Middle Schools.
How to Get There
If you are willing to carpool or need
a ride, then
check this out!
- When and how much:
Check this out
- Why: Because it's fun!
- Access to Events and Activities at the Festival --
You will find an Access Guide in the Lobby and
at the Information Table.
The Guide describes access services and includes a Festival map highlighting
special routes to rooms for people using wheelchairs. Please contact
the Information Table if you need assistance with access to a program or activity.
The Access Guide is also available in large-print and braille formats.
Large print grids are available in the Lobby and at the Information Table
(be sure to check the wall grids for last-minute schedule changes).
NEFFA can provide ASL interpreting at certain events upon advance application,
and will have a limited
number of Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) available at certain events.
For more information or suggestions, contact the NEFFA office. Requests for use
of an ALD or ASL services should be made in writing to the NEFFA office (P.O. Box 2789, Acton, MA 01720) by March 1st. See this page for more access information.
- No animals other than
dogs assisting the disabled are allowed on the Festival grounds.
- Videotaping and Audio Recording - NEFFA policy is to allow video- and
audio-taping for personal use only.
Please resepect performers' requests to have
recording devices turned off during their session.
- Food must be eaten in the cafeteria, and is not permitted in any of
the other rooms or the hallways of the High School.
(Be aware that vendors (who need to be at their booth)
and Festival staff who must be at certain volunteer posts while eating have
been given exemptions from this restriction.)
Sealed water bottles, such
as sports bottles, are permitted, but must remain sealed when not in use.
The New England
Folk Festival Association, its agents, servants and employees do not assume any
liability for any damage, theft, or other loss ot 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 tobacco use is allowed on 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 encourages all dancers to exercise care in their dancing. 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.
- To reach the Festival site in an emergency call 617-299-1590.
- For Festival Lost and Found,
call 617-299-1590 or fill out an on-line Lost and Found form.
Other Important Details
NEFFA works year-round for Festival planning, dance productions,
grants and a number of other purposes. There are frequently positions
available on the Festival Committee and the NEFFA Board for interested
people. Contact "President ATSIGN neffa DOT org" if you are
interested in 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 chair
Linda Leslie (laleslierjg ATSIGN comcast DOT net) if you have specific
- 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 page!
- As a Housing Host
You can rescue of out-of-towners looking
for a place to stay. Register with our on-line Housing
Form. If it is after the application deadline, just stop by the Information Table at the Festival.
The Festival has several areas for people who want to sell their wares. Please
contact the appropriate person for that area.
- Folk Bazaar - Items for sale not made by seller. (For
example: recordings, clothing items, musical accessories, etc.)
Contact: Bazaar AT neffa DOT org.
- Food Court - Contact: food AT neffa DOT org.
- Crafts Room - Items for sale hand-made by seller.
See this page for information.
On Wednesday, there's an English Country Dance in Arlington.
On Thursday, there's a contra dance in Concord, Scottish Dancing in Salem, and
International Folk Dance in Watertown.
On Sunday, MIT usually has their usual International Folk Dance on campus.
On Monday, there's
Contras in Concord (MA), and
Scottish in Watertown (MA).
Consult Folk Dancing 'Round Boston for more details on these and other dances
in the area.
New England Folk Festival Association