The Maine Acoustic Festival is on hiatus in 2020. 317 Main Community Music Center and North Yarmouth Academy are taking the year off to network with other music organizations to strengthen statewide support for the festival. Please check back in the summer of 2020 for more information on MAF 2021.


2019 MAF Coaching Staff


Jeff Christmas began playing music when he was 6 years old. Since then he has made his way from pop guitar to musical theater to jazz bands to opera to Americana and just about everything in between. Jeff specializes in vocal instruction with experience in a wide variety of genres. He is equally at home on the operatic stage and in a smoky bar. Pedagogically, Jeff believes that no genre has a monopoly on good, healthy, artistic singing and works to nurture that in all of his students.

Jeff was raised in Burlington, North Carolina and has lived in California, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and South Carolina before moving to Portland in 2015. He got his undergraduate degree in Music Industry Studies (with a minor in Spanish) at Appalachian State University and then went on to get a Masters of Music from the Boston Conservatory.


Ellen Gawler first picked up the fiddle at age 7. She’s conversant in many styles, including Irish, Maritime, Quebecois, Shetland, and New England.

She has been a member of the Maine Country Dance Orchestra, Old Grey Goose, Trillium, Borovchani, Pine Hill Band, Village Harmony, Childsplay, and Ladies of the Lake. She also tours with her husband and 3 daughters as the Gawler Family. Ellen has been awarded the Maine Arts Commission Master Artist/Apprenticeship Grant, to teach traditional Maine fiddling. As Co-founder of the Pineland Suzuki School, she directs the Pineland Fiddlers, an aspiring youth fiddle group who is dedicated to the traditional music of Maine. Ellen is a Suzuki violin/fiddle teacher of 25 years, and continues to teach at the Pineland Suzuki School, at 317 Main and at music camps around New England.


Steve Muise is a versatile fiddle player and educator who enjoys playing  everything from Québecois to jazz. He is a sought after solo musician and  founder of  the Franklin County Fiddlers, a group of high school musicians that tours around Maine. Their most recent high-profile gig was performing at Governor Janet Mills inauguration ceremony.   Steve is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, and is a stringed instrument teacher in the MBRSD schools (Farmington area). Steve was honored with the “Maine Music Educator of the Year” award in 2007 from MMEA.


Mitch was born in Bayou Vista, Louisiana and raised in Lafayette by musicians and storytellers from Mamou. He’s played alongside Louisiana greats such as Canray Fontenot, Wade Frugé, Michael Doucet, Steve Riley, Charles Neville, Zachary Richard and George Porter. In addition I’ve worked with Richard Thompson, Natalie Merchant, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Natalie McMaster, and Kenny Baker to name a few. In 2009 he was awarded a Grammy with BeauSoleil for the album “Live at the 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival”. 

Mitch recently retired from 11 years on the road as the bass player and second fiddler with BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet. Thanks to a recent move to Maine with his family, Mitch is now teaching at 317 Main Community Music Center.  

Questions? Contact Amanda Gale/Festival Coordinator at [email protected]

Highlights for 2017 Maine Acoustic Festival


Short Documentary about The Maine Acoustic Festival


(A short video-documentary about the Maine Acoustic Festival)

2019 Schedule

11-12:30pm Summit/lunch

12:30pm check in

1-1:50pm Ellen Gawler

2- 2:50pm Mitch Reed

3-3:50pm Jeff Christmas

4- 4:50pm Steve Muise & Franklin County Fiddlers

5-5:50pm Carter Logan Jam

6-6:45pm Dinner

7-8pm Contra Dance

Maine Acoustic Festival takes place at North Yarmouth Academy in Yarmouth.
Workshops, jam and dance will be in the music building, summit/lunch and dinner in the multipurpose room.
(If you’re joining us for dinner, please pay by cash/check at check-in.)

 Highlights From Past Years



“One of the great things about MAF is that it brings kids together who are into traditional music. Here, they find their ‘trad tribe’.

If you’re on the fence about the Maine Acoustic Festival, I encourage you to jump over the fence and come join us.”

-Steve Muise, 2017 MAF Coach

Contra Dance at North Yarmouth Academy on the first night of the 2017 Festival
Students & MAF Faculty form an impromptu contra band for the dance
Student in Old Time group working on performance material with 2017 Faculty member Lauren Rioux
Bluegrass students working with 2017 MAF faculty member Tony Watt.
Traditional American Harmony students performing at the Student Showcase at Hannaford Hall