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Acoustic jams: Santa Fe TradFest offers free concert of traditional music online

A film crew records songwriter Cahalen Morrison for his part in the Santa Fe TradFest, which will be streamed on Saturday, Aug. 29. (Courtesy of Jayne Cotten)

The planning has taken place.

And the show is ready to roll.

This year’s Santa Fe TradFest is an example of how a three-day festival pivots to an online event.

Santa Fe TradFest is organized by the Santa Fe Friends of Traditional Music to spotlight and celebrate many forms of traditional acoustic music, including bluegrass, Celtic, Appalachian, and folk music from New Mexico and beyond.

“This year, with limited resources, a dedicated board and talented volunteers determined to find a way to connect fans with the performers who were already booked for the festival at Camp Stoney, 10 miles outside Santa Fe on the Old Santa Fe Trail,” says Dave Dillman, board member.

The festival will take place from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, on YouTube. The links to the performances and Zoom workshops are at or the Santa Fe TradFest YouTube channel.

The event is free.

Funding was obtained through grants from New Mexico Arts/NEA and generous donations from local sponsors.

“Two priorities were foremost in the organizers’ minds – first, that the festival would be a high-quality, professionally produced event that would provide a connection for the audience and the performers; and second, that the performers would not only receive the exposure the festival would provide but that they would all be paid for their participation in the event,” Dillman says.

Dillman says with veterans of television and video production among their ranks, the group guided the performers in their submissions, recruited emcees, and professionally produced the five-hour show.

The event includes 20-minute sets with thoughtfully crafted performances – some recently recorded concerts with additional commentary and some all new COVID-19 protocol-compliant performances.

Additionally, viewers will embark on a tour of Camp Stoney through a minidocumentary about the creation of the Santa Fe TradFest that introduces all the individuals involved in the festival.

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