May 30 – June 12, 2021

On this day commemorating Juneteenth, the National Music Festival unequivocally and fervently affirms that Black Lives Matter.

We mourn the loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the unacceptably long list of lives lost before them.

We believe that amplifying diverse voices is the path toward a better understanding of our shared humanity.

We stand in solidarity with Black Americans and all allies against systemic racism and white supremacy.

We pledge to do all we can to support Black classical musicians.

(Special thanks to the Kent Cultural Alliance and American Shakespeare Center for inspiring this statement.)

Dear National Music Festival Supporters and Friends,

We have invested our hearts and souls in the preparation of what was to be an ambitious and inspiring 10th anniversary, and though it breaks our hearts, we have made the gut-wrenching decision to cancel this season.

The National Music Festival is a national, global, and local event, but at this time we see no way to keep our community and our musicians safe. We care about you all and your safety is of paramount importance. We have therefore decided that it would not be in anyone’s interest to carry on with this season.  

It is our intention to mount the June 2021 season with the same programming as had been planned for this summer. When it is safe to do so, we will also resume our Resonance concert series, whose March and April performances were postponed early in the pandemic.

In spite of the financial hits many of us have taken, we urge you to please continue to financially support the National Music Festival – to whatever extent you can – so it can return next year.  

We entreat you to stay vigilant, safe, sane, and healthy so we can enjoy great music and exceptional performances together again soon.


The mission of the National Music Festival is to present world-class celebrations of music and to provide affordable arts education and entertainment year round; as well as to foster economic development by contributing to the greater Kent County community as an arts and entertainment destination on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

All National Music Festival apprentices attend tuition free. For two weeks each June, these musicians live and work together, presenting over 35 concerts — ranging from solo recitals to large symphony orchestra performances with chorus — and 200 free open rehearsals for music lovers from all over the world.

The Festival is a division of OuterArts Maryland, Inc., a nonprofit organization that also administers vibrant community and youth programming including the Fiddlesticks! Youth Strings Program, an instrument loan program, the Resonance concert series, and The Phanos Project, which promotes the music of the composer Phanos Dymiotis.