Excited to join us for the National Music Festival? We’re thrilled to have you! This FAQ page is your one-stop shop for everything you need to know before you arrive. Whether you’re a seasoned concert-goer or a curious newcomer, we’ve got you covered.

The National Music Festival is an orchestral training program for college and graduate level musicians on the cusp of their professional careers. Full scholarships and housing are provided for all apprentices. The Festival also provides performances and free open rehearsals for audiences from local communities and all over the world. The Festival is a division of OuterArts Maryland, Inc., which is a nonprofit organization. For more information, please visit our About page.

All over the world! Each year, approximately 12-15 countries and 30 U.S. states are represented.

Thanks to the generosity of local host families, most our musicians stay in private homes! If you are interested in hosting musicians, please visit the Volunteer page for more information.

Mostly a wide variety of concert (classical) music, although we also perform jazz, cross-over, and other types of music.

Attending the National Music Festival is affordable. You can purchase a Festival Pass for only $235 ($260 after January 1) for access to all ticketed events plus special benefits, or you can purchase single tickets (generally $15 or $20) for individual events. We also offer quite a few free concerts, and all rehearsals are always free and open to the public.

Please visit the How to Apply page for complete instructions.

The average age of apprentices is about 22, although some apprentices are older or younger. There is no maximum age, but all apprentices must be at least 18.

Mentors are hand-picked for their ability as performers and teachers, but also for other qualities that are important to the mission of the Festival: the ability to balance life and work, entrepreneurship, and a great joy in playing and teaching.

Apprentices are selected by the mentors through a competitive application process. Please visit the Musicians section of this website for more information about the application process.

The Festival was founded in 2010 and the first season took place in June 2011 in Floyd, Virginia. The Festival then moved to Chestertown (the first season in Chestertown was 2012), where it has made its permanent home!

Concerts (and rehearsals) take place in a variety of venues throughout Chestertown and Kent County. Sacred Heart Church, the Kent Cultural Alliance’s Raimond Cultural Center, Sumner Hall, and Emmanuel Church host concerts and rehearsals, to name just a few. Orchestra concerts and rehearsals typically take place at Washington College.

Thank you for your interest in helping the National Music Festival fulfill its mission! You can help by making a financial or in-kind contribution, volunteering, hosting a musician, and more. Please explore the Get Involved section of this website for details about how to help.

More questions?

Don’t hesitate to contact us, our friendly team is here to help make your experience unforgettable.