Rain Dampens, Doesn’t Dash Festival

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Front Page / Sep. 7, 2017 9:05am EDT

New World Fest Still Draws Crowd
By M. D. Drysdale


Night Tree’s Chris Overhoser mesmerizes the crowd in the dance tent at the 25th Annual New World Festival. (Herald / Bob Eddy) Night Tree’s Chris Overhoser mesmerizes the crowd in the dance tent at the 25th Annual New World Festival. (Herald / Bob Eddy) Saturday, Sept. 2 was a lovely clear, sunny day. Monday, September 4 was a lovely, clear, sunny day.

But on the day in between, September 3, the sky dropped an inch and a half of rain, off and on, in downtown Randolph.

And that’s where the downtown was hosting the 25th annual New World Festival, expected to draw 1,000 or more guests from a wide area for 12 hours of Celtic and French Canadian music and dance.

But guess what? The festival was a big success.

The overall attendance was smaller, due to the weather, but more people came from farther distances, thanks to the lure of the 25th anniversary. Many calls came in from out-of-staters and others who had never been to the Festival before.

According to Emily Crosby at Chandler, paid attendance was about 850, down about 200 from last year. Net ticket income was $28,302, about $7,500 below last year and store sales were comparable to last years, she said.


While it pours outside, young Hudson Fitch of Cornish, N.H., thrills to New World Festival music in the dance tent with his parents, Corey and Deanna, Sunday. (Herald / Bob Eddy) While it pours outside, young Hudson Fitch of Cornish, N.H., thrills to New World Festival music in the dance tent with his parents, Corey and Deanna, Sunday. (Herald / Bob Eddy) Increased sponsorship from area businesses was up somewhat, she said, and should help stabilize the final balance.

A Great Line-Up

The musical line-up this year was greeted with enthusiasm. One caller from Rhode Island said he was on his way.

“You have all my favorites,” he said. “It’s like I said ‘Here’s who I’d want to see in a festival’, and you did it!”

Dancers especially enjoyed the brand new dance floor purchased by Chandler, and the music at that site continued until midnight. In recent years, the festival closed at 11 p.m.

Also new this year were work- shops coordinated by the Summit School of Montpelier, which were well-attended.

A brand new feature in honor of the 25th year was a performance by two dozen Randolph-area residents of a new composition written especially for the event by composer Kathy Eddy of Braintree.

After the area singers performed it, the entire audience in the Dance Tent was invited to join in celebrating “the hills of Vermont,” and did so with gusto.

One of the favorites was Connla, a traditional band direct from northern Ireland, described by Irish Music Magazine as “a new musical powerhouse.”

The band members told music director Kevin Dunwoody that “the festival was truly great—a perfect end to the tour for us.” At the end of their Chandler performance, they pulled out a long selfie stick and captured the moment with the audience roaring its delight.

One attendee at the festival sent along this comment:

“What a fantastic day! New World Festival totally met our expectations and hopes.

“We kept pinching ourselves to prove we were really there. I already have it on my calendar for next year.”

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