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Top 5 Northeast U.S. World Music Festivals


The Northeastern U.S. is home to some of the best music festivals in the world. Here are the best of the best:

1) Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance

Yeah, okay, I'm biased. This was the first music festival I ever attended (I was a kid at the time) and I ended up working for them for several years. However, I honestly believe that as far as lineups go, GrassRoots has the best one. Anybody who's anybody in the world music scene has played here at some point.

2) Rhythm and Roots Festival

The Rhythm and Roots Festival, in Ninigret Park, Rhode Island, presents a wide variety of folk and ethnic music styles every year. The world music offerings at the festival usually consist of a few Cajun/Zydeco bands as well as bands from Irish and French-Canadian traditions. In 2005, the festival was held the weekend after Hurricane Katrina hit, and festival organizers and attendees managed to pull together $80,000 in donations for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

3) Lowell Folk Festival

The Lowell Folk Festival in Lowell, Massachussetts, is the Northeast's largest ethnic music festival, and annually presents one of the most consistently diverse lineups of any world music festival in the country. They literally bring in bands from every populated continent, and strive to find the most authentic and interesting bands from common and lesser-known ethnic folk traditions.

4) Michael Arnone's Crawfish Fest

Michael Arnone's Crawfish Fest is a Louisiana music festival, and a rare one at that: while most Louisiana music festivals outside Louisiana hesitate to pay the extra money for authentic Cajun and Zydeco bands and therefore end up with a sub-par lineup, producer Michael Arnone always strives to bring the best and the brightest among Louisiana music stars to his festival. The festival is held in Augusta, NJ at the Sussex County Fairgrounds.

5) Old Songs Festival of Traditional Music and Dance

The Old Songs Festival presents both American folk music and a wide variety of Celtic and traditional music from the British Isles and Canada. It's a quiet and relaxed festival set in a really beautiful site in Altamont, NY.
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