The History of NAFCo

“How often at a scholarly gathering dedicated to folk, ethnic or traditional music, have the participants burst out of their academic strait jackets, deserted their ivory towers, and shared with others, late into the night, the music that has encouraged them to pursue a lifetime of study? And how often at a folk or world music festival have participants debated into the small hours the merits and demerits of a particularly innovative act in terms of authenticity and traditionality? This thinking helped forge the idea behind NAFCo, thereby bringing together two sides of the same coin, those who practice fiddle music and those who preach it.” (Ian Russell and Mary Anne Alburger, ‘Connecting Cultures’ in Driving the Bow, Fiddle and Dance Studies from Around the North Atlantic 2, Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, 2008)

NAFCo was established in Aberdeen, Scotland in 2001 to develop new audiences for traditional music and dance, act as a cultural artistic exchange and a meeting place for artists, academic and fans. NAFCo is unique in not just offering performances and workshops to the public, but it also presents unique learning opportunities for all ages in traditional music and dance based around the North Atlantic seaboard.

The festival has moved around the world, spreading its musical influences wherever it goes, from the shores of Scotland to as far west as St John’s in Newfoundland, Canada. Most recently it was held in Aberdeen, Scotland in 2010 –

The North Atlantic Fiddle Convention (NAFCo) will take place on the island of Ireland for the first time in from June 27th – July 1st 2012 in County Donegal and the City of Derry, home of the City of Culture 2013.

NAFCo is a formally consituted organisation with its home base being the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen. Dr. Ian Russell of the Elphinstone Institute is the current President of NAFCo. Dr. Liz Doherty, University of Ulster, is the NAFCo 2012 Convention Convenor.