The 25th Annual New Bedford Folk Festival has been postponed until July 10 & 11, 2021

A folk festival celebration 25 years in the making deserves the best circumstance! Because we want you to be safe and feel secure about attending, we have decided to postpone the festival until the summer of 2021. If you have purchased passes, please click here for your options to keep, gift, donate or receive a refund.

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The 25th Annual New Bedford Folk Festival has been postponed until July 10 & 11, 2021

For Volunteers

Thank you for volunteering at the 25th Annual New Bedford Folk Festival! We truly couldn’t execute this world-class festival without volunteers like you.


This year the New Bedford Folk Festival celebrates its 25th year! brings together over 70+ renowned and emerging performers. The Artisans’ Marketplace showcases the handcrafted work of many local artists as well as artisans from around the globe, offering high-quality, imported handcrafts, many of them Fair Trade. From food street carts to the food court, and the award- winning restaurants in and around the festival, you can sample some of the tasty cuisine the area has to offer, all in New Bedford’s beautiful historic downtown.


There will be 50 parking spots for volunteers in the lot behind The Z at the old Santander Bank location, currently the DeMello International Center. If those are full, we highly recommend the two city-owned parking garages at Zeiterion or Elm Street ($10 event parking each day or free to volunteers). Your names will be on a list at both garages. Please tell the attendant or volunteer your name and volunteer status for free entry to either garage. There will be free street parking around the festival but do not park where there is a “No Parking” bag on the meter. We advise you to allow extra time to find parking especially if your shift is in the afternoon.


After parking, you MUST first check in at the Volunteer Booth (V on the map) located in Custom House Square on Barkers Lane. Please try to arrive at the Volunteer Booth 5 to 10 minutes early. Upon check-in, we will confirm your assigned location and role, and you will receive your volunteer t-shirt (guaranteed if you signed up before 6/1). If you are running late, please text Nate at 508-858-8842.


​When handing over your shift, give your replacement a brief rundown of any tips on how best to have a successful shift. At five minutes before the end of your shift, if someone has not come to replace you, please get the attention of someone with a radio or text/call Nate at 508-858-8842.


See the full schedule of performers here.

Music 11am- 9pm

Crafts 11am- 7pm

Food trucks 11am- 8pm


  • It’s usually hot and sunny! Wear comfortable clothing appropriate for the weather, including comfortable shoes to walk through the cobblestone streets or stand for periods of time.
  • For those with physical limitations, like needing a chair or no lifting, please remind us at check-in.
  • Stay hydrated! You will receive a disposable bottle of water when you check-in.
  • Don’t forget to wear sunscreen and bring a hat.
  • Bring a couple snacks to keep in your pockets. We do not provide food or vouchers. Consider fueling up at any of our food vendors or local restaurants before or after your shift. They’ll appreciate your business!


We are out to create a culture where each and every person has an extraordinary experience.​

As a Folk​ Festival volunteer, you are on the front line for patrons, artists and vendors, and are a demonstration of our brand. Whether you have volunteered for years, or are volunteering for the first time, we ask that you serve our customers in a way that is remarkable, professional and friendly.​ We also ask that EVERYONE be aware of what your environment looks like around you and assist by picking up, tidying up, and keeping areas clean and an inviting space for our patrons.


Here is a basic breakdown of the various volunteer roles. We ask you to read through them all, as a situation may arise where you are asked to fill in for another volunteer. More details will be provided at the Volunteer Orientation the week of the festival.

Festival Set Up & Break Down:
“The Crew” – Some Heavy Lifting

The Load-In/Set Up Crew will set up tables and chairs in the tents, place bike racks around the tents and entrances to certain areas. This role requires lifting up to and not more than 30 lbs. It is more about repetitive work and carrying items. Tasks may include moving sandwich boards to stage locations, and other tasks as needed by festival staff. The Load-out Crew breaks down all of the above.

Craft Vendor Set-up on Saturday:
first face to greet our talented vendors!

Please check in to the Volunteer Check-in Table in Custom House Square (V on Map) at 6:45am. You will then meet Amy Desrosiers at Bristol Community College on the corner of William St. and Acushnet Ave. Craft vendors will check-in between 7am-10am. Here you will assist vendors in finding their spot and quickly unload. The goal is to assist vendors to load-in, and then it’s imperative that they move their cars quickly​ so other vendors can move in. Once the vendor is unloaded and driven away, return to the vendor check-in station to work with another vendor. You will likely do this 10 different times during the morning. Some of you will be on parking/street duty, making sure that normal traffic does not enter into the “footprint” of the event by only allowing the craft vendors through the street barricade. This will require moving the street barricade many times, letting VENDORS ONLY in and out.

Will Call check in & wristband exchange

Locations: Custom House Square, Zeiterion Theatre

The Will Call line is for patrons who pre-purchased tickets, but ordered too close to the date to be mailed to them. These patrons must pick up in person at Custom House Square, Zeiterion or Whaling Museum, whichever is closer. There will be a list of names of patrons for Will Call. Ask for their ID and reference the ID check against the Will Call List, then cross off their name and place a wristband on their wrist. If you encounter someone who has a Premium Pass Ticket, please let them know that they can pick up their special lanyard at the Premium Pass Lounge located at the Zeiterion.

Ticket Exchange

Locations: Custom House Square, Zeiterion, and NB Whaling Museum and at the following stages: William Street, Purchase Street, Seamen’s Bethel, Custom House Stage.

Patrons exchange their tickets for their festival wristbands at Custom House Square, the Zeiterion, the Whaling Museum and at all stages. The patron gives you their ticket and in turn, you place an appropriate colored wristband on their wrist. There are THREE types or wristbands: Saturday only, Sunday Only and Weekend pass. Volunteers and Staff MUST​ put the wristband on the patron, as this is how they​ enter into a ticketed stage/tent, unless they are Premium Pass, who are identified by their lanyard. Premium Pass patrons should be directed to pick up their lanyards at the Zeiterion lounge.

Line Info Gatherers

A volunteer will walk the line of patrons waiting for will call, tickets or ticket exchange to answer questions and gather emails and zip codes. If they refuse, do not press them. Move along. We want our guests to spend time with the music and art, and as little time as possible in line. If your area gets especially busy, let the staff person with a radio know, and we will send over additional help, when it is available.

Merchandise Sales (CDs only)

Artist CD’s are sold in the lobby at the Zeiteiron. Volunteers will assist by processing sales using the Square cash register system and keeping merchandise organized and stocked. Some experience running a register is preferred but not necessary. (Festival t-shirts & hats sold outside at info kiosk only)

Stage Ambassadors/Ushers:

Your job is to check that people entering the stage areas have the appropriate wristband or lanyard, and to hand out programs. The stage areas will be barricaded and should have two volunteers at each entrance point. Please ask patrons to show their wristbands by holding up their hand in the air. It helps if YOU hold up your hand in the air as an example while saying “Please show us your wristbands!” This makes the line move quickly. All venues are general admission with the exception of limited reserved sections at two locations, Zeiterion and Whaling Museum for Premium Pass Holders

Chairs & outside food is allowed in the tents but not at the Zeiterion, NB Whaling Museum or Seamen’s Bethel. Only bonafide service animals are allowed at all locations.


  • Zeiterion Performing Arts Center (indoor)
  • NB Whaling Museum (indoor)
  • Seamen’s Bethel (indoor)
  • Custom House Square (tent)
  • Purchase St. Stage (tent)
  • Showcase Stage (tent)
  • Southcoast Stage (tent)

Artists Hospitality

Backstage at the Zeiterion (entrance on Acushnet Ave)
Artists will enter through the separate Artist Entrance. You will be posted here to open the door for artists to access Artist Hospitality. Only artists and their guests or festival staff can access Artist Hospitality. Once an artist enters through this door, direct them to the assigned area. Please check that Artists are wearing their appropriate lanyards to gain entry. If an artist hasn’t picked up their credentials yet, direct them to Artist Check-in inside the Zeiterion lobby. This is where the artists will receive their lanyard and will drop off any merchandise for the store.

Food Court and Bar

Your role will be to help keep the food court clean, answer questions, and assist as needed. There will be up to 8 food vendors in the area and we want to make sure it is as clean and neat as possible. You will clear and clean tables and straighten chairs, collect trash, alert the operations crew when the barrels are at capacity and need to be emptied. If patrons wish to drink, they must have their ID check in order to receive a proper 21+ wristband and we have security to do this, it is not a volunteer responsibility.

Premium Pass Lounge

The Premium Pass Lounge is located at the Zeiterion on the corner of Spring St. and Purchase St. You will be responsible for welcoming our Premium Pass holders and assisting them as they check in, show you their ticket and pick up their special lanyards and t-shirts & schedule. Check them off the list when they have picked up their items. Only those with a Premium Pass Lanyard are allowed in this room. The room has a private bar, tables, and private bathrooms. If you encounter someone who needs an accessible restroom, please direct them to the main lobby doors and use the lobby’s accessible bathroom. Keep this area clear of trash and comfortable for the guests. You will check for the appropriate lanyards at the entrances to this area.

Information Kiosk & Festival Merch Sales of T-shirts and Hats

The information kiosk is located at the intersection of Purchase & Union Street. Volunteers will assist Festival goers by answering questions, handing out maps and schedules and help Z staff members sell Festival merchandise (t-shirts and hats).

Parking Lot Attendants

Three parking lots will be reserved for Folk Festival performers and volunteers. Performer lots are the Old Bank 5 building at Union/Spring and Acushnet Ave, and the small lot on School St. between Acushnet and Purchase St. Volunteer lot is the Santander/DeMello International Center at Spring & Acushnet. You will assist the city parking attendant by walking the line of cars, determining if there are volunteers or Premium Pass holders waiting. If so, you will hand them a free parking voucher to present to the attendant for free access to the garage. You will also have a list as reference if you need to verify names.

Production Assistants

Volunteers in this position will perform a variety of jobs to support the sound and stage crews across the festival. Ability to handle light lifting, move chairs, deliver supplies to stages and ticketing locations.

Floating Roamers

Please think of this role as vital to the success of the event! You will help fill in during busy times in various roles, and critical times when there is a no show. Flexibility and a positive attitude is important.

Please note:

Some volunteer shifts are solo so please plan accordingly and use the facilities before or after your shift. If you must leave your post and you are the only one there, notify someone with a radio and call/text the Volunteer Coordinator. We will send relief! Public restrooms are located in the Zeiterion Theatre and at the National Parks Building on William Street. Port-a-Johns are located at the corner of Acushnet Avenue and William Street and on Spring Street near the Zeiterion. The Whaling Museum bathrooms are reserved for artists, museum ticket holders, premium pass holders, and volunteers stationed inside the Whaling Museum. For the general public, please refer them to the festival map for bathroom locations.  

First Aid

Should you or a patron require first aid, the first aid station will be located at the St. Anne’s parking lot, at the corner of Union & Second Streets.

Need assistance?

Contact Volunteer Coordinator Nate Vaughn at 508-858-8842 or Operations Manager Angela Johnston at 508-264-0456.  

Thank you again for volunteering

your time and talents to the 25th Annual New Bedford Folk Festival!