New Bedford's free, one-day acoustic music festival, New Bedford Roots and Branches, returns to the downtown on July 20 with an expanded list of performers and venues.

Founder and co-director Jeff Angeley stopped by Townsquare Sunday to give us a preview of the event.

"Our festival is very different than other music festivals in the area," Angeley said. "Our stages are in the showrooms of downtown, so we have performers going directly into restaurants and businesses, and those businesses were thrilled to have people in. It was really great to showcase local and regional talent here in downtown New Bedford."

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Thanks to a long list of community sponsors and public funding programs like the Massachusetts Cultural Council and New Bedford Creative, this event is absolutely free.

Photo by New Bedford Creative
Photo by New Bedford Creative

Angeley said there are four new venues this year, along with existing sites from last summer.

More than 65 performers are scheduled to be there, including the Jethro's,  Amilton Tavares and Cape Verdean dance music, a string quartet from the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, singer-songwriter Molly O'Leary, bluegrass jams, singer Eddie Dillon, a Portuguese folkloric dance group, and something Angeley described as "weird old Americana."

"It's a term that's popular among people who make music influenced by traditional music," Angeley said. " A lot of it is pretty strange. It's really rooted in older traditions where music was less homogenized than what we think of as rock or jazz or blues."

A Contradance to kick off the music festival will be held Friday night, July 19, at 7 p.m. on Purchase Street. Angeley and his band Pebbles of Rain will be performing on Saturday.

A complete list of schedules, performers and venues can found on the New Bedford Roots and Branches website.

If you would like your organization or event featured on Townsquare Sunday, please email the host at

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Gallery Credit: Tim Weisberg

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