Traditional Music Festivals
The best way to see traditional music is to attend a festival. If you've never been to a music festival, your life may be about to change.
Festivals usually run over a weekend, sometimes longer. There is a roster of artists (international ones for the bigger festivals), who play several times during the festivals on one of the various stages. Performances usually last around 45 minutes, if you don't like the show you can leave at any time. If you love it, then there is usually one or two more chances to see the artists.
Performers and audiences generally stay around the festival venue, which is often beautiful. Depending on the festival, the artists may play informally in the various bars, tents or wherever, often until the wee hours of the morning. The audience often comprises musicians, some exquisite, some beginning, some in between, all out to play together and have fun.
Some of the major Traditional Music Festivals
This list will grow.
National Folk Festival - held every Easter in Canberra Australia, known as "the National". A big one, with local and international artists. Well organised, consistently great.
Merlefest - an annual tribute to the music of Doc and Merle Watson, held at Wilkes Community College, Wilksboro, North Carolina. An awesome lineup every year, with traditional acoustic American music at the core.
Telluride Bluegrass Festival - Telluride Colorado, June. Held at the summer solstice and attended by the royalty of American bluegrass.
Asia Pacific Harmonica Festival - held every two years in a major Asian city, this is the largest harmonica festival in the world. The focus is on competitions, with harmonicas of all types, often playing Asian traditional music. The standard of the tremolo and chromatic players in particular is extraordinarily high.