What is the NE Accordion Festival
November is National Accordion Month. The NE Accordion Festival (named after the festival's home in Northeast Minneapolis) is held in conjunction with accordion parties, concert and festivals all across the United States celebrating instruments of the free-reed family (accordion family). NEAF is a celebration of the free-reed instrument family that includes both chromatic and piano accordion, concertina, button box, harmonium, and diatonic accordion. Festivities include concerts, workshops, showcases, and a "pick-up" accordion band called the "Squeez-in Accordion Orchestra".
The festival had its beginning in 1997 when Joanna Arnold Darrow (NJ) was coming for a visit to the Twin Cities. Her friend, Dee Langley, wanted people to be able to hear her perform so she had an open party at a Kramarczuk's East European Deli, a local restaurant, featuring local musical talent with Ms. Darrow. The very first festival produced not only fine solo performance but also spawned the "Squeez-in" Accordion Orchestra so everyone one could participate. Sheet music for 2017 can be found here.
In the year 2000 the festival coordinators added the Lifetime Achievement Award to their list of activities. The Lifetime Achievement Award is given in recognition of outstanding support for the accordion family instruments through performance and/or teaching. The list of Lifetime Achievement recipients can be found here.
The NE Accordion Festival has been so successful that it has outgrown not only our first location but also a larger space provided by a local art gallery (Aldo Moroni, California Building). After busting the seams of the gallery, the festival explored both the Cedar Cultural Center, the Local Elks Club, the beautiful banquet facilities at Elsie's Bowling Center and Waite Park Recreational Center (Minneapolis Park Board). This year we are celebrating at the Pillsbury A-Mill (a National Historic Landmark) on Main Street which has been renovated as Artists Lofts. Directions and map can be found here.