New England Jazz Banjofest

44 Middlesex Turnpike
Bedford, MA 01730

The New England Jazz Banjofest features music from the golden age of jazz. While the focus of the festival is four-string jazz-styled banjo, we are frequented by players of five-string banjo, mandolin, guitar, ukulele, violin, bass, drums, horns, reeds and even a gut-bucket bass. Vocalists join in the fun.

History of the festival

The New England Banjo Society (NEBS) started in the 1970s in Pelham, New Hampshire. At its peak, the Society had 50-60 musicians as members. In the 1980s, the group started a banjo festival. The first one was held in the Centrum (now the DCU Center) in Worcester, MA. The festival location has changed over the years from Auburn to Sutton to West Boylston and for 5 years in Worcester. It was forced to move in 2007 due to the hotel closing, to Boxborough. Since 2008, the Doubletree Hotel in Bedford, MA has been the home to the festival.

The NEBS no longer exists but its legacy continues. The festival is now sponsored by Allen Padwa (banjo) and Alice Caldwell (tuba, double bass, trombone) from Worcester. The festival has been renamed the New England Jazz Banjofest to reflect its regional nature, its focus on music of the early 20th century, and the featured style of music.

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