Welcome to the 2018 Acadia Trad Festival!

We are looking forward to seeing many of you back again and meeting new people attending for the first time. We have a totally amazing music program scheduled for this year, with lots more information to come!

Driving directions

The College of the Atlantic (COA) is easy to get to. It is right on Rt 3 about ½ mile before you get into the village of Bar Harbor (coming from the Ellsworth direction). COA is on your left. There are two entrances. To get to the campus area for registration and classes, go to the south entrance (on Rt 3). You will see an Acadia Trad School sign with a school logo on it and an arrow pointing in to the parking lot. [Note: there will be another sign for the concerts at the north entrance. That sign will say Celtic Music Festival. Don’t turn here, that is for evening concertgoers.]

*NOTE: Route 3 to Bar Harbor is currently under construction and portions of the road are ONE-WAY. Please check the Maine DOT web page for status updates and impacts on traffic and travel routes. 

Bus: There is a local free bus service (the Island Explorer) that can get you to campus from the Bar Harbor airport or pretty much anywhere on the island. The bus also goes all around Acadia National Park, so you can do a bit of exploring without a car! The bus 2 takes you to/from the college: http://www.exploreacadia.com/route2.htm. The full bus schedule can be found at http://www.exploreacadia.com/

Getting to town: Bar Harbor is a short (1 – mile) walk from campus. There are lots of shops, grocery stores and restaurants. It can be very busy in town, so give yourself some extra time for getting around and through lines.


Arrival and Check-in

Upon arrival at The College of the Atlantic Campus, you will want to enter at the campus South entrance and find immediate parking. Parking is limited on campus please park efficiently; cars that are not parked efficiently will accumulate bad carma! Please park efficiently. Look for our Acadia Trad School logo sign at the entrance. If you follow the signs, they will guide you to the Seafox building where the main office and registration desk is.

For people staying on campus: Registration is between 3:00PM – 6:00PM on Sunday. [Note dinner is at 5:30 if you arrive late, there will not be late meals available for you. You can get food in town until about 9:00PM.]

For people staying off campus: Registration is between 7:00AM – 8:15AM on Monday. You can also register on Sunday if you prefer between 3:00PM and 6:00PM.

For everyone: Orientation session at 8:30AM in Gates Auditorium (see campus map). Please don’t miss this session, this is where you will get the info you need for the week.

Late arrivals: Ask for Jen, Nancy or Jenny to get registered.

Registration check-in will include: 1. You can make any final payments needed to complete your registration. 2. You will receive your student badge and info packet. 3. Housing and classroom location assignments (if staying on campus)


Class and Workshop Schedules

In the morning there will be two class sessions each 1.25 hours long in your major instrument. The first class session runs from 9:00 to 10:15. The second session runs from 10:45 to 12:00 noon.

Each afternoon there will be two workshop periods (1:15 – 2:30 and 3:15 – 4:30, each with a dozen or more workshop options to choose from. Registered students do not need to sign up for workshops. The workshop schedule will be provided in the student packet a few weeks before the festival. You can choose to attend any workshops you like (try to stay at your skill level).

Each day there are three breaks:

  • Morning coffee break: 10:15 – 10:45AM
  • Lunch break: 12:00 – 1:15PM
  • Afternoon coffee break: 2:30 – 3:15PM

Coffee and tea and small munchies will be available in Seafox at break times. Please note: the goodies provided for break-time snacks are baked by volunteers. If you have food allergies to nuts or gluten or other food items please understand that we cannot guarantee that foods do not have any allergens in them.

Small donations for coffee and munchies are appreciated, but not required. Your donations help us purchase high-quality fair-trade coffee and locally baked goods.

Since a lot of people have to squeeze into a small coffee-room space, we ask that after you get your coffee and goodies you move out of the room or away from the table as quickly as possible to let the next person in.

Recording devices for classes: One main objective is to learn by ear. You are encouraged to bring recording devices to classes to help you after the class. Sheet music is typically not provided, but some instructors may have it for you if you ask.

Up-to-date information: as things happen and change during the week, we will post updates in the Seafox lobby area. Be sure to check out the posting board at break times.

Photo day: Each year we shoot a group photo. The group photo is usually Weds or Thurs. Keep an eye on the white board for more info.

Fun: have fun!! This is all about having a great time with great people.


Full-time students who are registered for the whole week get complimentary admission to afternoon or evening concerts. Seating is limited and in designated areas only, first-come-first-served. If you wish to be guaranteed entry to concerts, you are welcome to purchase full price tickets. Concerts will be announced in March and tickets go on sale April 1. Note, any student seating unfilled 10 minutes prior to concert start may be offered to the public for purchase. Sorry, day students do not receive complimentary concert tickets.

There will be two community dances during the week – one to kick off the week on Sunday evening (professional band and caller) and one on Friday evening at the close of the student concert (student band and callers). Both will be open to the public. Dances and the student concert are free for all students regardless of whether you play or not. Non-students can purchase tickets online in advance or at the door (if available). We encourage all students to participate; these are really fun events!


There will be MANY opportunities to play with faculty, instructors and fellow students during the Festival.

Afternoon faculty-led sessions in a number of genres and speeds will be held daily in the afternoons (as part of the Workshop schedule). Registered students may attend these as part of their tuition. These sessions are open to walk-in participants for a fee (see Workshop schedule for details and costs).

Late night sessions will be held each night, starting on Sunday, in Seafox, Blair Tyson, Davis, Withcliff, and Dearing (and possibly other class rooms). The sessions usually start around 10:00PM and go until 2:00 in the morning or later. Admission to late-night sessions is included for registered students at any level. A limited number of non-students may attend the after hours club for $10. All non-students must register at the seafox registration desk. Please don’t bring your friends in without checking in; our contract with the college requires that we keep track of who is on campus.

For all sessions:

  • Please adhere to basic session etiquette: don’t dominate the session; play in sessions that are at your level (or play quietly if you are in a session that is above your level).
  • This is a family friendly event, please drink and act responsibly; there are children around.
  • To make sure as many people as possible can participate in the sessions, there will be sessions for all levels and styles. There is typically not a session leader; we encourage you to round up your fellow students and get it started. More info about sessions will be available at the seafox registration desk.
  • We ask some students to be session leaders for intermediate/slower sessions (by style). If you’d like to lead a session, please let us know. We’ll make sure you have a room available.


Campus Rules

The COA campus is right on the beautiful Frenchman Bay in Bar Harbor Maine. Acadia Trad School has made arrangements with the College to use rooms in a number of different buildings. Classrooms are numbered 1 – 20 and are shown on your campus map. Your schedule lists the classroom number where your class or workshop will be held.

The College of the Atlantic is an environmental studies school. In your packet you will see information about the college recycling etc. Please try to be eco-friendly. The college is working hard to limit the environmental foot print caused by bottled water. They have installed water bottle fillers around campus. Please bring a reusable water bottle with you if you have one. Limited bottled water may be available for sale, but there probably won’t be much.

Open alcohol is not allowed outside on campus. If you are over 21, you can drink responsibly inside the Seafox building or in your room. Pets are not allowed on campus unless they are personal support dogs. Smoking is not allowed in or near any campus buildings.

There is a 9:30 noise curfew on campus. Late night sessions need to be indoors. Please don’t play late at night in your dorm room, it will probably disturb people trying to sleep. All dorm buildings have public rooms on the ground floor where sessions take place and sometimes go all night. Have fun!

WiFi: Campus wifi is available. Instructions for logging in will be provided at the school.



Campus meals are provided at the Blair Dining Hall to people who have purchased a meal ticket in advance. Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee that you can purchase food without the pre-purchased meal ticket. Campus rules on food are subject to change without us knowing.

  • Breakfast: 7:30 – 8:30AM
  • Lunch: 12:00 – 1:00PM
  • Dinner: 5:30 – 6:30PM

If you have food allergies that we need to know about, please let us know in advance so we can inform the kitchen

On Wednesday, there is a special lobster dinner offered. It costs an extra $15 for students who already have the full meal plan. If you don’t have a meal plan and still want a lobster, it costs $25. We will have a sign-up sheet at the lobby and cash is required at the time you sign up. If you don’t want lobster, no worries, the regular meal is still served.

The kitchen at Seafox has some refrigerators/freezer, stove, sink and plates. There is nobody to clean up after you. PLEASE KEEP THE KITCHEN CLEAN. Don’t leave your dirty dishes for others, there is nobody assigned to clean up after you.


Acadia Trad School has a stock of Trad books, t-shirts, coffee mugs, hats, and a few small instruments (whistles, bodhrans, harmonicas, etc). You can purchase these in the Seafox lobby during the week.

Faculty and performers usually sell CDs, tune-books, training DVDs, etc for sale in the SeaFox lobby and at concerts. Please support these folks by buying their wares.


Work Assignments

Students with Scholarships will get a work assignment in their registration package. Work assignments require 1-2 hours of your time each day (before, between, or after classes). The work times will be on your worksheet. Each work-assignment has a set time to be accomplished. We will schedule work assignments so they don’t conflict with class time, but we do need your help. We have job descriptions, which you will pick up at registration. If you have any physical limitations, we will make sure to accommodate them.


Students under 18

Students under 18 need to be accompanied by an adult who is signed off to be their legal guardian. The adult needs to be on campus, but not attend workshops or classes or pay a fee.


Emergency/First Aid

A small first aid kit is available in the Seafox lobby. If someone is injured and in need of emergency medical attention, call 911 and let them know you are at the COA campus. If you’re not sure where you are on campus, ask somebody.   Acadia Trad School staff also have walkie -talkies and cell phones for emergencies.   There is a hospital and fire department with EMT in town (within 3 miles). The emergency plan will be reviewed during the orientation sessions.