background image

tabbed subpages

The Young Tradition Festival is ON (line) for 2021!

The Young Tradition Festival is an annual event most often held on the first full weekend in May and the weekdays prior. It is a week-long celebration of the multi-generational mentoring relationships in diverse traditional music and dance communities. Young folks are the major focus, supported by teachers, mentors, friends and families. They will put into practice what inspires them, what they learn, as well as their ability to perform, to be inspired by and to inspire others. The contest is designed to encourage young musicians and dancers to perform and support their involvement in traditional music and dance. In addition to cash prizes, the winners are provided performance opportunities in the region and linkages that support their continued implication.

The festival features three key events:

  • The Mentor-Student Showcase
  • The Young Tradition Contest Finals
  • A tribute concert focusing on the masters and apprentices involved with Vermont Folklife Center’s Apprenticeship Program

Established in 1991, the Vermont Folklife Center’s Vermont Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (VTAAP) was created to support Vermont’s living cultural heritage. This program brings together master artists and apprentices dedicated to keeping traditional arts vital and relevant to the communities who practice them and beyond. In addition to supporting communities in retaining and invigorating their cultural identities, VTAAP focuses on assisting individual artists in achieving their goals.

How it works

Video submissions (YouTube or Vimeo links) for this year’s Festival are accepted until April 15th, 2021. Ten finalists are selected from the submissions we receive and featured during the Festival in May. Cash prizes are awarded to all finalists, and the top three finalists receive $250 (3rd), $500 (2nd) and $1,000 (1st).

For more information, contact YT Festival Manager Yasi Zeichner at, or YTV Executive Director Mark Sustic at

Submit yourself!

The 2021 deadline is April 15th.

To participate, send an email to Young Tradition Festival manager Yasi Zeichner at containing the following information:

  • A YouTube or Vimeo link to a video of your performance
  • The names and ages of all the performers
  • A brief biography of yourself or the group (3-4 sentences)

Video requirements

  • Videos must be between 1 and 5 minutes in length
  • The link must be on YouTube or Vimeo (please don’t actually send a video – it will be too big!)
  • All contestants must be at or under the age of 25 on May 1st, 2021.  The only exception is for groups – if the average age of group members is 25 or younger, half or more of the group is 25 or younger, and no one is over 30, the group qualifies for the contest.

Please note that we post videos and biographies on the Young Tradition Vermont website for public viewing, so please make sure that the link is shareable (not private) – it can be unlisted but the shared link must be viewable on our website.


Young Tradition Vermont board members and past winners of the contest vote for up to 10 finalists. Prizes will be announced as part of the Showcase Concert.

2021 Young Tradition Festival contest submissions

This year’s winners!

Winners of the 2021 Young Tradition Festival Contest (once again held online) were Nora Brown (1st place), The Carter Girls (2nd place) and Owen Kennedy (3rd place). View videos and learn more about the finalists here.

Past winners


Winners of the 2020 Young Tradition Contest (held entirely online due to the pandemic) were Andrew Caden (1st place), Abi Sandy and Sebastiaan West (2nd place), and Francois-Felix Roy (3rd place). The other finalists included Giri and Uma Peters, the Kowal Family Band, the Brothers Luper and Simon Lace, Owen Kennedy, the Carter Girls, Émilien and Luryane Durocher, and Benjamin Foss. A concert including performances from the winners and the previous year’s winners was broadcast live on the YTV Facebook page on May 2nd, 2020.


Winners of the 2019 Young Tradition VT Contest were Spintuition and Nora Rodes, who tied for first place; Beinn Mhór and The Two Tones tied for 3rd place. The other finalists, who were invited to perform at the festival were: The Burlingtones, Courtney and Cordell Drew, Owen Kennedy, The Kowal Family, and Ristika Gurung.  The entire contest finals, held on May 4th, 11am-3pm at Contois Auditorium in Burlington can be viewed at this link:


The 2018 contest finals, held during Kids Day at Waterfront Park in Burlington can be viewed at this link: . The video submission of Romy and Ben Munkres, the 2018 contest winners, can be viewed here Romy and Ben Munkres contest video 2018.

Young Tradition Festival 2021 is sponsored by

The Vermont Folklife Center

Burlington Sacred Harp

The Turrell Fund

The Nelson Family Foundation

Pete Sutherland

Judith Allen

Selma Zjakic & Family

The Chandler Center for the Arts

Randolin Instruments

Young Tradition Touring Group

Mark Sustic & Deborah Travis