New Bedford 'Roots & Branches Fest' to be held in July 2023 –

NEW BEDFORD – After announcing in February that the New Bedford Folk Festival is ending, fans were devastated by the news. Now, there is a chance to see the festival resurrected on July 22, under an entirely new team.
“Bringing together people through music has been my primary focus and the thing that brings me the most happiness,” said Jeff Angeley, owner and director of Southcoast Lessons. 
Angeley, alongside committee members Samantha Babineau, Christian Camarao and Steven Brum, the 1st annual NB Roots & Branches Fest will present a day of acoustic music by and for the people. 
“We wanted to create a festival that the city in the region can feel like they’re part of,” said Angeley. “The music is not boxed in by any generation, or by any community or anything like that.”
The free public festival will include six performance areas that will host local and regional performers of true traditional music, indie folk, acoustic roots rock, contemporary singers, songwriters and further flung compositional and exploratory acoustic music practitioners. 
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“I think we have a very wide representation in generations,” Angeley added.
According to a previous Standard-Times article, rising costs made the New Bedford Folk Festival unsustainable, making its 25th anniversary performance in 2022 its last.
The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, which kept the festival going over the last five years, posted this on the festival’s Facebook page. 
“It was not a decision that came easily,” Rosemary Gill, Zeiterion president and CEO said in the post.
Angeley promises fans some continuity, with some categories carrying over into their festival. “We wouldn’t have a tradition to build off, if they hadn’t built a 25-year-long tradition,” he said.
As a multi-year recipient of the New Bedford Creative Wicked Cool Places Grant, Angeley has organized many public festivals and events including World Fiddle Day festivities, Breaking Up Christmas festivals, monthly Old Time Fiddle Session jams, monthly open mics and scored silent movie nights in the SouthCoast area.
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Babineau is an independent music instructor and group singing instructor with experience in traditional dance, fiddling and singing. Camarao is the instrumental music instructor at New Bedford’s Hathaway and Winslow elementary schools as well as a performing musician, composer and successful recording artist. 
Brum is a multi-instrumentalist, an employee of the area’s most respected music retail, repair and symphonic instruction shop (Symphony Music Shop). He is also a performer with credits that include UMass Dartmouth music theater productions and the former New Bedford Folk Festival.
NB Roots & Branches will have 24 performers lined up in its four unique concert settings. According to Angeley, within six hours of music, audiences might catch rising songwriter Molly O’Leary in Destination Soups, turned comfy house concert locale, while people might choose to dance to The Jethros at the Pour Farm turned retro folk speakeasy.
The festival’s outdoor traditional music performance areas will be hosted in downtown New Bedford’s Wing’s Court.
“The idea of this festival is very much in line building something organically that uses the available spaces, partners with the local businesses and showcases the music that is being made by people within a relatively tight region,” Angeley said.
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In addition to making the festival free, he added the festival aims to have a favorable impact on the downtown district.
Angeley said he envisions a festival that’s growth loops in a different way to maybe someday become as big as a South by Southwest (SXSW). 
“We want the festival to just expand outward from its central spot where we have independent restaurants and boutiques and businesses becoming venues for the day,” he said.
“We’re designing a festival that not merely acknowledges, but rather aims to directly benefit and involve the small business in the neighborhood of our event.”
Standard-Times staff writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at Follow him on twitter: @ChitwoodReportsSupport local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.


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