The Northern Roots Festival is a daylong event featuring participatory workshops, performances, pub sessions, a dance band, and a family dance, all of which culminate in an evening performance honoring the best of the northern musical traditions.
Among the musicians featured in this year’s evening performance and daytime workshops are Irish fiddler Armand Aromin from Rhode Island; the Maine-based, fun-loving, folk-singing, banjo-playing Gawler Family; Irish flute and whistle player Dan Restivo; Scandinavian and English country dance fiddle and nyckelharpa player lydia ievins; Swedish fiddler Andrea Larson; traditional English folk singer Tony Barrand; local musician, guitar, mandolin, piano and foot percussionist Keith Murphy; folk singer Megan MacArthur; Douglas Cox, violin maker; and local Vermont musicians Mia Bertelli, Carol Compton, Doug Creighton, Andy Davis, Louisa Engle, Mary Lea, Lissa Schneckenburger, and Brendan Taaffe.
Also returning for this year’s evening performance is the ever-changing, crowd-pleasing Traddleboro ensemble. With a name reflecting the rich presence of traditional players in Brattleboro, Traddleboro is a shifting conglomeration of local musicians who each year create and perform a set of music specifically for the Northern Roots Festival. This year’s Traddleboro ensemble includes fiddlers Randy Miller and Becky Tracy, with guitarist Roger Kahle.
The daytime schedule includes several participation workshops including French Canadian Fiddle, Irish Fiddle Ornamentation, Irish Flute Workshop; Approach to Fiddle Practicing; Accompanying Maine Fiddle Tunes; Accompanying Irish Tunes on Guitar; Harmony Singing; and for all instruments Irish, polka, and Scandinavian tune workshops; as well as a Dance Band Prep workshop. Daytime performances include Harmony Singing and Matching Fiddles with Players.
The Gawler Family will present a family concert that promises to engage the youngest followers of traditional music. The family concert will be followed by a family dance featuring an exciting dance band that will evolve in a workshop.
The majority of the festival events happen at the New England Youth Theatre, a state-of-the-art downtown venue, with multiple teaching sessions occurring simultaneously throughout the building along with performances in the main theater and a family dance on the stage. McNeill’s Brewery, only a couple of blocks away from NEYT, provides the perfect setting for a rollicking afternoon of jam sessions.
Tickets for the Northern Roots Festival (combination day and evening $35, daytime only $20, evening only $20; youth combination day and evening $15, youth day only $10, youth evening only $10) are available from the Brattleboro Music Center (www.bmcvt.org, (802) 257-4523). Admission at 3 pm, for the family concert and family dance only, is $5 per person at the door.
For directions and the complete festival schedule of events visit www.bmcvt.org or call (802) 257-4523.