The New World Festival at Chandler – Come Join Us!


Celebrate Vermont’s Celtic and French Canadian heritage with traditional – and sometimes not so traditional – music and dance. Each year more than 70 exceptional musicians are drawn from New England, Canada and the British Isles. Concerts, music and dance workshop sessions, children’s activities, and open dancing unfold on five continuous stages from noon until 11 PM. Food and drink provided by the area’s finest chefs and breweries.

The festival takes place in downtown Randolph, Vermont in Chandler Music Hall and Gallery, in all-weather tents on both sides of Main Street, and in historic Bethany Church. Main Street is closed to traffic, and the festival site becomes an intimate pedestrian village.

In recognition of the Festival’s designation as a Top Ten Event more than ten times, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce has awarded the New World Festival status as a permanent Time-Honored Event for Vermont. Come join us. You’ll be glad you did!

John Doyle, Le Vent du Nord headline Chandler’s 26th annual New World Festival

Now entering its second quarter century, Chandler’s New World Festival will present a diverse array of the finest regional and international performers from the Celtic and French Canadian music and dance traditions on Labor Day Sunday, September 2. A stellar line-up headlined by Le Vent du Nord and Irish singer and guitarist John Doyle marks the 26th anniversary of one of Vermont’s most beloved annual cultural heritage events.

The New World Festival began with the recognition that northern New England, Québec, and Canada’s Maritime Provinces share a lively cultural heritage from the Old World, specifically Ireland, Scotland, and France. Performers and audiences alike have been thrilled with the magic that happens when these traditions come together.

In the midst of Randolph’s historic village center, more than 50 of the best regional and international musicians play concerts on six all-weather stages, participate in dance bands, and share tunes and traditions at this family-friendly festival. Audiences flock to the Festival from all over Vermont, and even Boston, southern Canada, and New York, because of its intimate, joyful atmosphere and its musical focus, unique among a field of notable summer festivals in the state.

Several groups make their festival debut this year. Le Vent du Nord is a driving force in progressive folk, capturing the joy and energy of a Saturday night kitchen party, infusing old Québec with a breath of fresh, cosmopolitan air.

Natalie Haas is one of the most sought-after cellists in Celtic music today, most known for her tours with Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser that have wowed audiences worldwide. She makes her festival debut with her husband Yann Falquet, one of the most creative acoustic guitarists in today’s Québécois music scene and known to New World Festival fans as a member of the French Canadian power trio Genticorum.

The Outside Track, winner of “Best Group” in both the Live Ireland awards and the Tradition in Review awards, is one of the top Celtic Acts in the world and they make their New World Festival debut this year. Hailing from Scotland, Ireland, and Cape Breton, its five members are united by a love of traditional music and a commitment to creating new music on this as a foundation, blending fiddle, accordion, harp, guitar, flute, whistle, step-dance and vocals with breathtaking vitality.

Musique à bouches features five male voices, renowned for their a cappella arrangements accompanied by rhythmical foot tapping.

Other popular New World Festival artists make return appearances. Name many of the most notable recordings and/or performers in Irish music and it’s a fair bet that Irish singer and guitarist John Doyle had something to do with them, including Liz Carroll, Eileen Ivers, Karan Casey, Solas, Michael Black and Mary Black. John has been a featured regular for many years in the hugely popular BBC Scotland “Transatlantic Sessions” regularly broadcast in Ireland and at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections Festival, performing with Americana greats Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Sara Watkins, Kathy Mattea, and many others.

Connla wowed New World Festival fans in their first appearance last summer. This exciting young band from Northern Ireland boasts strong traditional roots as well as influences from across the globe. Their sensitive and innovative arrangements of traditional and modern folk songs and tunes have earned them praise across the folk community.

The young band Night Tree is rooted in original works spanning the Celtic world. The sextet creates original music that borrows from the Swedish, Jewish and American folk traditions. Drawing from an unusually diverse mix of musical backgrounds, Night Tree has discovered a sound both colorfully and resonantly different while delving into the realm of harmonies and rhythm that range from edgy to inviting, both unheard of and timeless.

After a brief hiatus, the Scottish trio Cantrip returns. Dan Houghton (bagpipes, flute, whistles, guitar, bouzouki, vocals), Jon Bews (fiddle and vocals), and Eric McDonald (guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, vocals) have a devoted New World Festival following that appreciates the band’s driving energy, expertise and musicianship.

Other musicians returning in new combinations to the festival this year include Owen Marshall and his band Copley Street. Boston-based Uilleann piper Joey Abarta, fiddler Nathan Gourley, sean-nós dancer Jackie O’Riley, and Vermont native Owen Marshall on bouzouki, combine forces in this traditional Irish music quartet.

Vermont native Eric Wright, cellist of The Fretless fame, joins Cape Breton fiddler Mairi Rankin in an inspired pairing. New World Festival fans will remember The Fretless, a contemporary traditional fusion group that has toured Canada, the US, and Europe extensively. When not on tour with the Fretless, Eric is the Celtic/Old Time cello, guitar, and banjo teacher at many music camps. Mairi Rankin is one of the hugely influential Rankin Family, legends on the Canadian music scene. She plays fiddle, sings and also step-dances up a storm. She has toured nationally and internationally as a solo artist, a sideman and is a member of the Cape Breton Celtic super group Beolach and The Outside Track.

In addition to stages in historic Chandler Music Hall and Bethany Church, popular venues include the Dance, Family, and Sessions Tents. The biggest outdoor venue is the Dance tent, where all afternoon and evening, various kinds of dances, from called contras to freestyle are accompanied by the Festival’s bands. Next door is a food tent including tasty offerings from local restaurants, churches and non-profit organizations.

Especially popular is the Sessions Tent, where musicians get together informally to play with others who share their specialty. The Family tent is dedicated to activities for children and families. In addition to chalk drawing and face-painting and other craft activities, the venue includes an interactive performance by Randolph’s supremely talented “No Strings Marionettes,” and Mr. Chris and his Music for Sprouts.

Returning again this year are afternoon workshops presented in partnership with The Summit School. Sarah Isberg will teach intermediate and advanced fiddle players Swedish dance tunes with a focus on bowing techniques and harmonies. Joanne Garton will lead a Scottish Fiddle workshop, and Dana and Sue Robinson will offer an old-time fiddle and banjo workshop. Admission is free to Festival patrons.

The New World Festival has been designated a Time-Honored Top Ten Event by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce in recognition of having received this award more than ten times. The New World Festival is sponsored by Chandler Center for the Arts and managed by an all-volunteer committee.

For tickets and more information about these artists and others who will be performing on the Festival’s six stages, visit or call the Chandler Box office at 802-728-6464. Discounted adult tickets are available through Friday August 24. Prices for students 13-18 are greatly discounted, and those 12 and under are free.

The New World Festival has generous sponsorship support from Bar Harbor Bank and Trust, the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, the Lamson Howell Foundation, the Turrell Fund, GW Plastics, Inner Traditions, the Holland Fund, and Bethel Mills.

Join Us for the Festival’s 26th Annual Celebration!

It’s not too early to start making plans for this year’s festival! Imagine a line-up that includes John Doyle, Connla, Le Vent du Nord, Natalie Haas & Yann Falquet, and Night Tree! They’ll all be appearing at this year’s festival on Sunday September 2.

Irish singer/songwriter John Doyle is involved in many musical projects and partnerships and has legions of fans all over the world. We know New World Festival fans will be excited to learn that he is returning after a hiatus of several years..

One of the best bands on the traditional music scene in Québec makes their first appearance at the festival this year. Considered a driving force in progressive folk, Le Vent du Nord captures the vibrant energy of a Saturday night kitchen party, infusing old Québec with a breath of fresh cosmopolitan air. This band lit up the Chandler stage in 2006 and we can’t wait to welcome them back.

The husband/wife duo of cellist Natalie Haas and fiddler Yann Falquet will make their festival debut. Those who have heard Natalie perform at Chandler with Alasdair Fraser know that we’re in for a treat.

The five young Irish musicians that comprise Connla wowed audiences at last year’s festival. They, in turn, said their appearance at the New World Festival was the highlight of their American tour last summer. They’ll be back!

Night Tree’s music is rooted in original works spanning from the Celtic world. The creative young members of the sextet create original music that borrows from the Swedish, Jewish and American folk traditions. This is a group that’s on the rise and we’re lucky to have them back again this year.

We’ve secured generous sponsorship support from the Byrne Foundation for the Sessions Tent. It’s sure to be the scene of some lively musical exchanges.

A festival to remember

When the summer is turning and fall’s in the air
When the fiddlers and pipers have come
Then it’s time to go dancin’ in the hills of Vermont.
Let the mountains and the music lift our hearts!

New World, New World, world of dancing and song
Where all may have a part
New World, New World, world of kindness and peace
‘cross borders, let the nations join hands!

When the summer is turning and fall’s in the air
When the fiddlers and pipers have come
Then it’s time to go dancin’ in the hills of Vermont
Let the mountains and the music lift our hearts!
-Kathy Eddy’s New World Festival waltz, composed in honor of this milestone year

Thank you to all who came out to celebrate our 25th festival! While the weather was cold and dreary, the festival was anything but—fantastic performances, delicious food and drink, family activities, several new workshops, a world premiere, and the return of the sessions tent made it a day to remember.

We welcome your comments and photos on the New World Festival Facebook page.

We look forward to seeing you next year!

Volunteers needed for this year’s New World Festival

Chandler’s New World Festival continues its tradition of presenting vibrant Celtic and French Canadian music and dance on Sunday September 3rd. The New World Festival has earned the distinction of being a Time-Honored Top Ten Event as designated by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

Central to the Festival’s success is its core of more than 100 enthusiastic volunteers whose only payment is the gratitude of the community and the joy brought to patrons and performers. 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 – earn volunteers an all-day pass to the festival. Interested persons, age 12 or older, are asked to contact the festival’s volunteer coordinator, Yasi Zeichner, at [email protected], or call 802-485-9242.

The daylong event begins at noon on Labor Day Sunday and celebrates the region’s Celtic and French American musical heritage brought to northern New England by English, Scottish, Irish and French-Canadian immigrants. With Main Street closed to traffic, the festival site is an intimate pedestrian village. Nearly 75 of the best regional and international musicians play concerts, offer workshops, play in dance bands, and share tunes and traditions.

This year’s stellar line-up includes Irish fiddler Liz Carroll, Ten Strings And A Goat Skin, De Temps Antan, Còig, Connla, Les Poules à Colin, and Pete’s Posse.

Discounted advance tickets are available through August 25th online or by calling the Chandler Box Office at 802-728-6464 between noon and 4 pm on weekdays. For more information, regarding admission and featured performers, please visit the festival’s website at All performance sites are wheelchair accessible.

New World Festival Waltz

Composer Kathy Eddy has written a waltz celebrating the Festival’s 25th anniversary! Piper Steve Eubanks will open the festival with this tune and in the late afternoon, singers and instrumentalists of all stripes can gather in the Dance Tent for its premiere! All are invited to Chandler’s Upper Gallery on Tuesday August 29 at 7 PM to rehearse this new piece. The music can be found here, and we’ll also have copies available at the rehearsal.