American Folk Festival

American Folk Festival
The American Folk Festival is an annual folk festival held at Waterfront Park in the city of Bangor, Maine, United States. Founded in 2005, the festival is noted for its open admittance policy.

The history of the American Folk Festival began in 2002, when Bangor hosted the National Folk Festival (NFF) for the first time. NFF is an itinerant folk music event that changes its host city every three years. Bangor was the host of the festival from 2002 to 2004. When the National Folk Festival moved to Richmond, Virginia in 2005, Bangor continued the festival tradition with the American Folk Festival that has been held every year since.

The American Folk Festival showcases music, dance and other performing arts, crafts and food that represent cultural traditions from across the American continent and internationally. The festival presents the cultural heritage of various regions and ethnic groups, putting a special emphasis on the traditional arts of the cultures that make up contemporary America.

Performers are selected by the National Council for Traditional Arts (NCTA) and the American Folk Festival Programming Committee. The NCTA brings samples to choose from and the Committee selects the line-up, keeping in mind the artist/genre preferences and the programming budget. There are a few returning performers per year, but the festival’s main goal is to present new artists who have not yet performed in Bangor.

Alongside spectacular performances, the program of the American Folk Festival includes the Folklife Area (demonstrations and stage discussions dedicated to the traditions and heritage of Maine), the Children’s Village, workshops, parades, beer and wine tastings, and more. Food vendors offer a variety of ethnic, regional and fair food. At the marketplace, festival-goers can purchase made-in-Main food products and authentic, handmade crafts from regional artisans.

The American Folk Festival runs over three days in late August in downtown Bangor. Although the festival is free, it has brought millions of dollars of tourism revenue to the city of Bangor. The American Folk Festival is supported by corporate and individual sponsors. Anyone can become a supporter by paying a suggested donation in exchange for high-quality music, delicious food and unique shopping experiences. Donations are not required but they are greatly appreciated.

American Folk Festival

Photo: Kevin Bennett




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