Chandler’s New World Festival celebrates its 23rd year with a mix of old favorites and new performers who are appearing at the festival for the first time. More than 50 of the best regional and international musicians play concerts on five all-weather stages, participate in dance bands, and share tunes and traditions at this family-friendly festival. This year’s festival will feature some open sessions led by festival musicians with opportunities for the public to join in.
Once again, the New World Festival has been designated a Top Ten Fall Event by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, and in recognition of its designation as a Top Ten Event more than ten times, it has achieved permanent status as a Time-Honored Event for Vermont.
Regular festival-goers will be delighted with the return of Ten Strings and a Goat Skin, the dynamic trio of young musicians from Prince Edward Island that brought audiences to their feet last summer. In addition to performances in Chandler and Bethany Church, they’ll bring the festival to a rousing close in the dance tent.
Canadian Maritime music is further represented by fiddlers Andrea Beaton and Troy MacGillivrary. In addition to stellar fiddling, the musicians are both accomplished step dancers and piano players.
The Fretless makes a second appearance after their well-received debut at the 2012 Festival. This unique band is quickly gaining high acclaim around the world and taking string music to fascinating places as it transforms fiddle tunes and folk melodies into intricate, beautiful, high-energy arrangements.
Longtime favorites at the New World Festival, the Press Gang performs the instrumental dance music of Ireland on fiddle, accordion and guitar. They perform this year with Hanz Araki, “an Irish music phenomenon in West Coast America,” and Jackie O’Riley, one of the foremost traditional Irish dancers in New England.
The New World Festival is noted for its celebration of French Canadian music. New to the festival this year is Mélisande. Drawing from a rich heritage of traditional French-language songs, the band adapts traditional music and presents them with a feminist perspective and a distinctly modern sound. Lisa Ornstein, Normand Miron, and André Marchand comprise Le Bruit Court Dans La Ville. These legends in Quebec’s traditional music scene have been on the roster of virtually every groundbreaking band over the past 30 years, including La Bottine Souriante.
Philadelphia-based Burning Bridget Cleary makes their festival debut this year. The band has been performing and recording their distinctive style of Celtic traditional music since 2006. Known for their captivating sound and engaging stage presence, Burning Bridget Cleary is currently one of the hottest young acts on the Celtic and folk music circuits
Liz Simmons, Flynn Cohen, and Lissa Schneckenburger are no strangers to the New World Festival, and this year they appear as Low Lily. The trio are masterful players with deep relationships to traditional music styles ranging from bluegrass, to Irish, Scottish, New England, and Old Time Appalachian sounds. They’ll be joined by Hannah Sanders, a traditional English folk singer who hails from Norwich, England. Visit our Performers page for the full list of this year’s acts.
Pub sings of traditional Irish, Americana, English and old-time music will take place in Chandler’s upper gallery. Roving performers add to the festive atmosphere. This year Mummers will join Midnight Caper and Cross the Border Morris dancers in spirited street performances. A variety of food and drink offerings that includes ethnic and vegetarian offerings from local organizations and caterers will satisfy diverse appetites. Area artisans will offer specialty foods and crafts for sale.
Children aged 12 and under are free and an array of creative activities in the children’s tent make the festival family-friendly. Activities for children and families include an instrument petting zoo, a young musicians showcase, a dance called by Nils Fredland, and performances the Swing Peepers and The No Strings Marionette Company.
Lake Sunapee Bank is the Festival’s generous lead sponsor. The New World Festival also has sponsorship support from these other area businesses and organizations: Gifford Medical Center, the Lamson Howell Foundation, Green Mountain Power, National Life Group, Inner Traditions, and the Holland Fund. Ongoing activities at Chandler are supported in part by the Vermont Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts.
Discounted advance tickets are available through August 21 online or by calling the Chandler Box Office at 802-728-6464 between 3 and 6 PM weekdays. Tickets are also available at the gate on the day of the festival. Reduced prices are offered after 6 PM.