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COVID-19 and the Acadia Trad Festival

Hello friends,

We expected the 2020 Acadia Trad Festival to be memorable but never thought it would be, in part, because of the spread of COVID-19! 

With June 28th still months away, we are proceeding on the premise that the Festival will happen as planned with increased safety procedures for the event. However, we are closely monitoring this rapidly evolving situation. While we love the Festival, your safety and protection are our highest concerns.

On March 12, the College of the Atlantic (our Festival venue) closed their campus for the remainder of the school year and moved all classes online. As of March 13, summer programs have NOT been cancelled. We are in contact with their administration and will communicate any changes that might impact the Festival.

Be reassured, if the Festival must be cancelled, or if you feel you are unable to attend due to COVID-19, we will provide a full refund of all payments already made, including deposits. In addition, we are extending the deadline for payment of balances to May 15, and we will no longer require deposits to hold your place. If you have not yet booked flights or non-refundable travel, you might consider waiting to make those arrangements until closer to the event date. 

Tickets for Acadia Trad Festival concerts and dances generally open on April 1. Because of the uncertainty of this situation, we will delay opening ticket sales until mid-May.

We will keep you updated as things progress. In the meantime, be kind to each other, create beautiful things, and do all you can to support the many musicians and dancers whose livelihood is threatened by these many cancellations. 

And, you can help contain this virus – and get in some practicing – by singing your favorite jig or reel one time through while you wash your hands!

Be well, everyone!
The Acadia Trad Festival team


Important Announcement about the Acadia Trad School


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Greetings Acadia Trad family,

As Spring steadily approaches and we ramp up for the 2020 Acadia Trad Festival, I want to share with you some important news.

Due to a variety of personal, organizational, and logistical factors, our Board of Directors has determined that 2020 Festival (June 28 – July 3) will be our last. Later this year, when all of the Festival wrap-up is completed, we will formally disband the 501(c)3 entity known as the Acadia School of Traditional Music and Arts.

It has been an incredible eight years. We have built a community that spans the country and the world. We’ve inspired countless students of all ages to bring traditional music and dance into their lives, and to keep it there. We’ve brought programming to local schools and performance venues, infusing Down East Maine with the traditions we so adore. All of this has been accomplished by a small group of dedicated volunteers, to whom we will be ever grateful.

We are extremely proud of what we have accomplished, and we are not done yet. On April 16, we are bringing Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas back to Bar Harbor to work with local school children and give a public concert in town (get your tickets here). And in June, the 2020 Acadia Trad Festival will be our best yet, with an expanded program of major instruments and a powerhouse faculty. And, we hope to make it an extra special reunion by bringing back performers and students from our past (more news to come on that front!).

I have always felt that music and dance are particularly special art forms, ones that – much like life itself – must be appreciated for their fleeting, momentary nature. Our founder Chuck Donnelly reminded me recently of the beautiful Tibetan mandalas made of sand. They are created slowly and carefully by a community, appreciated for a time, and then brushed away, the individual grains of sand free to become another work of art. This June, we will close knowing we have created something powerful, and something beautiful that has touched many, many lives.

So, THANK YOU for being part of our history. In closing, we ask you — I personally ask you — please do what you can to keep the legacy of the Acadia Trad School alive in your community.  Keep playing, keep dancing, keep teaching, keep applauding. Start something, no matter how small. Keep attending festivals and camps, host concerts in your town, and keep making music with others. And, we sincerely hope you decide to join us this June, one last time.

With gratitude for the past and excitement for the future,

Jennifer Torrance, Executive Director
The Acadia School of Traditional Music & Arts


The Acadia Trad Festival


June 28-July 3, 2020 • Bar Harbor, Maine


A week of world-class traditional music and dance on the beautiful coast of Maine? With 18+ courses of study, and nearly 200 workshops, jam sessions, concerts and dances, the Acadia Trad Festival offers something for everyone.