If you are interested in applying in the future, please read about the programming and qualifications for booking. Please do NOT send any information until the fall of 2019 for consideration for the 2020 festival.
The NBFF books professional folk, acoustic, blues and ethnic artists. We are particularly supportive of Anglo and Celtic artists and bands. Artists who perform traditional American material, including music and songs from Appalachia and New England, are encouraged to apply. Contemporary singer/songwriters with a strong sense of melody and strong musicianship, who are knowledgeable about traditional music, are also among our favored artists.
The NBFF is now held on the second weekend in July. The dates for 2020 are July 11-12, 2020.
The format of the festival is one of showcases and workshops. The workshops are the heart and soul of the festival and doing workshops is non-negotiable. A booking will include both days and will include one showcase and participation in 3-4 workshops over the two days. The workshops are NOT audience participatory nor are they teaching or “how to” or “learn to play….” sessions. We do NOT do songwriting workshops or educational workshops or workshops designed for schools. We do NOT program workshops around single acts or performers. In our workshops, artists, both contemporary and traditional, individuals and bands, are scheduled together with a common theme. Our intent is for all the participants and the audience to have a good time. Some past workshops have included:
- “I Came to the City: Music of Urban Life”
- “Out of the City and Down to the Seaside: Songs of the Sea”
- “The Maid on the Shore: Songs of the Battle of the Sexes”
- “Think of Loving Hannah: Songs of Life’s Passions”
There are eight (7) stages in the festival. The stages are set in the downtown and historic district of New Bedford, utilizing the Whaling Museum theater, gardens in the district, courts and environs and the Zeiterion Performing Arts Theater. All sites are covered for both artists and audience.
There are artisans’ booths set up along the cobble-stoned streets with the stages situated along the route. If you are a crafter and interested in applying for inclusion in the festival, please email the coordinator of the Arts and Crafts portion of the festival. The contact information and the application are on the contact page.
Our criteria for performers considered for the festival must be folk (contemporary or traditional), ethnic (Anglo/Celtic or World), and acoustic. Although we book some local musicians, most of the festival is made up of national and international touring musicians who generally do not perform in the Southcoast or Southeastern Massachusetts area. If you are a Southcoast performer interested in applying, we have our Southcoast Stage which features musicians from the thirteen towns of the South Coast of Massachusetts. Our criteria for this stage are a bit different so please email us for specifics. Applications are now being accepted for 2020.
The festival can support a limited number of acts, so in addition to the qualifying statements listed above, performers booked are also chosen based on the ability to participate in the our workshops; name recognition with the public; a following in New England; or some special contribution.
We prefer that qualified artists contact us first by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome the submission of CDs and promotional materials from interested artists with the understanding that we book a limited number of artists each year which means our booking process is very selective. However, we prefer CD’s and promotional materials be sent after confirmation of booking. We do appreciate links to youtube pieces which reflect live performances rather than recorded mp3’s.
Thanks, Helene & Alan Korolenko,