Each year New England plays host to a huge number of open-air summer events – and we’ve picked out 12 of the best to look out for in 2021.
Renowned for its colonial heritage, rugged Atlantic Coastline, Autumnal foliage, and forested mountains, New England’s natural scenery serves as a stunning backdrop for a diverse programme of festivals and fairs throughout the year. We’ve selected 12 of the most exciting set to take place over the summer months in 2021.
Levitate Music and Arts Festival
A grassroots music and arts festival featuring roots, reggae, folk rock, funk music, Levitate has been a staple on New England’s events calendar since its inaugural edition in 2014. Held at the historic Marshfield Fairgrounds, 30 minutes south of Boston, the event also features a diverse mix of arts works on display in vendor tents, while food trucks are on hand to keep revellers well nourished and watered.
Marshfield Fairgrounds, 140 Main Street, Marshfield, Massachusetts / 9-11 July 2021
Created to bring together people of the Christian faith from across New England, SoulFest takes place against a picturesque backdrop of mountains and lakes at Gunstock Mountain Resort. Over 75 artists and speakers perform over three fun-packed days, with another stellar line-up for 2021 including notable names such as Lecrae, Crowder Music, Cory Asbury, Matt Maher, and Big Daddy Weave.
Gunstock Mountain Resort, 719 Cherry Valley Road, Gilford, New Hampshire / 5-7 August 2021
Blistered Fingers Family Bluegrass Festival
One of the biggest annual family music events anywhere in New England, the two summer editions of the Blistered Fingers Bluegrass Festival both offer a diverse mix of musical talent from across the globe. Focussing on the bluegrass genre of American roots music that developed in the 1940s and is typically played on acoustic stringed instruments, the event places a strong emphasis on incorporating children into these rich musical traditions, with a dedicated Kids Academy featuring a three day music program for children for ages 6-18. Festival-goers can also camp on-site, in tents or RVs.
Litchfield Fair, 30 Plains Road, Litchfield, Maine / 17-20 June & 26-29 August 2021
Dixville Notch Music, Arts & Crafts Festival
High quality arts and crafts, food vendors and live music is just some of what you can expect at this popular summer festival. Set on a 40-acre estate alongside the picturesque Mohawk River, and surrounded by waterfalls, ponds and pristinely landscaped lawns and gardens, the event features over 30 purveyors of handmade products and other creative trinkets, making it the ideal opportunity for picking up gifts or mementos for your home.
Mohawk Falls, 1478 NH-26, Colebrook, New Hampshire / 19 June 2021
Worcester Wine Festival Grand Tasting
Held on the field at the home of the Worcester Red Sox baseball team – Polar Park – this year’s edition of the Worcester Wine Festival’s Grand Tasting will once again bring together thousands of food and wine enthusiasts together to celebrate the magic of the grape. Consumers, both casual and professional, will get to enjoy over 600 quality wines hailing from a wide range of vineyards, wineries, distributors. There’ll be a VIP hour for VIP ticket holders to enjoy the tasting tables, and a General Admission ticket open once it ends.
Polar Park, Worcester, Massachusetts / 28 August 2021
Elements Lakewood Camping Music & Art Festival
Taking place at a sprawling Summer Camp property in the bucolic hills of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Elements is a three-day festival featuring arts, music and camping against a scenic backdrop of a private lake, hidden forests and green hills. As well as top-notch electronic music, large-scale art installations, and interactive performances, there’s also games, a private ship, yoga, tribal markets, and plenty more to satisfy all ages and predilections.
2656 Upper Woods Road, Lakewood, Pennsylvania / 3-6 September 2021
Keene Summer Craftfest
For over a decade the Keene Holiday Craft Show has heralded the start of the New Hampshire holiday season, with the city providing a platform for some of the best and most expertly-crafted handmade goods you’ll find anywhere in the region. The Keene Summer Craftfest, a new event taking place exclusively outdoors for 2021, will play host to some 70-plus talented crafters hailing from the local area, plus food vendors and even an eye-catching classic car exhibit. Offering the perfect chance to pick up a great gift or souvenir to take back home, visitors can peruse everything from pottery, artwork, glassware, and floral arrangements to jewellery, photography, food products, knitting, and more.
Keene Middle School, 167 Maple Avenue, New Hampshire / 19 June 2021
August Summerfest Craft Show
This annual two-day arts & craft fair showcases the creative wares of artists & crafters from Maine and across New England, with stalls both inside and outside. Visitors can peruse the products on display at their leisure, with the chance to pick up one-of-a-kind handmade gifts and souvenirs ranging from wood items, quilt work, knits & crochet to jams & jellies, dolls, jewellery, and much more, all at enticingly affordable prices.
Wells Jr High School, 1470 Post Road, Wells, Maine / 14-15 August 2021</em
The Grateful Family Music Fest
A family-friendly music festival, this event takes place at in the idyllic rural surroundings of the Tamarack Lodge & Indie Glamping Resort in Voluntown. A diverse assortment of musical acts routinely appear at the festival, each with their own niche such as acoustics or drums, with revellers invited to gather round fire pits while they listen to the tunes. Lodge cabins are available to rent and there’s also a lake for swimming, as well as an actual swimming pool, plus several merchandise vendors.
Tamarack Lodge & Indie Glamping Resort, 21 10 Rod Road, Voluntown, Connecticut / 10-11 July 2021
Bath Heritage Days and Music Festival
For six captivating days each summer, Bath’s historic and beautiful downtown district gives itself over to a hugely popular festival jam-packed full of cultural and entertainment offerings and activities. Some 30 top class bands perform across two live music stages, and there’s also great family-themed fun, tons of delectable food, a craft show, a carnival, a colourful parade, and plenty more.
Linwood E. Temple Waterfront Park, 61 Commercial Street, Bath, Maine / 1-4 July 2021
Northern Maine Fair
Normally a nine-day event, this year’s Northern Maine Fair will be confined to a four-day affair for 2021. Nonetheless, visitors can expect many of the time-honoured favourite events from the long-standing fair including live music, Truck Pulling, a Demo Derby, a car show, a horse show, cooking contests, kids games, a Baby Beef Auction, and other attractions. Local foodie vendors will also be present to help keep those rumbling stomachs at bay.
Northern Maine Fair Association, 84 Mechanic Street, Presque Isle, Maine / 5-8 August 2021
Newport Folk Festival
First staged way back in 1959, Newport Folk Festival has grown into one of the biggest and best annual events of its kind anywhere in the US, and has played host to such distinguished musical names as Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan down the years. In terms of the tunes played, it spans the entire folk spectrum, from traditional rural numbers through to urban contemporary styles, guaranteeing something of ever folkey music flavour.
Fort Adams State Park, 80 Fort Adams Drive, Newport, Rhode Island / 23-25 & 26-28 July 2021
Summer Art in the Park
Now in its 60th year, the Annual Summer in the Park Festival returns to Vermont this summer, once again promising a huge mix of fine artists and crafts folk for what has become a major celebration of creativity. In addition to the array of artists displaying and selling their works, there’ll also be musical entertainment, kid’s activities, specialty foods, local and regional alcohol producers including vineyards and breweries, and much more.
Chaffee Art Center, 16 South Main Street, Rutland, Vermont / 14-15 August 2021