American Whitewater and F.L.O.W. started the Deerfield River Festival in 1994 to celebrate the successful dam relicensing process that took place on the Deerfield River 1993.
The event focuses on bringing people to the area to enjoy a weekend of outdoor activities while showcasing whitewater paddlesports and raising funds and membership for American Whitewater. The main festival activities take place on Saturday afternoon/evening and provide entertainment for both paddlesport and non-paddlesport enthusiasts young and old.
The festival site will be bustling with activity including a whitewater marketplace, live entertainment, beer, and a silent auction with awesome outdoor gear. The Deerfield River Festival is a critical fundraiser for American Whitewater, and is one of our premiere events.
All proceeds from the festival support American Whitewater’s conservation and access work throughout the Northeast. Come out and join us for a weekend of great paddling, exciting competitions, live entertainment, and the infamous silent auction.
Deerfield Fest is held at the Town of Charlemont’s Fairgrounds located at 8 Park St. Charlemont, MA.
Deerfield Fest is the largest whitewater event in the entire Northeast. Being a vendor at Deerfield Fest is a great way to connect with paddlers from all over New England and to support American Whitewater's river stewardship work. To become a vendor, see our Vendor Registration Page for full details.
Are you a frequent attendee of Deerfield Fest, local raft guide, or paddler? Chances are you've been to Deerfield Fest lots of times without even realizing how much work goes into putting it on. Every year we're short on volunteers, we need your help! Volunteers are needed to help prepare, setup, staff, and takedown the festival. Volunteers are asked for just two hours, still allowing plenty of time for that river run or late night fun.
The Monroe Bridge Section (aka the”Dryway”) offers exciting class III-IV boating for intermediates and experts. The crux of the run is Dragon's Tooth Rapid (Class IV). For more information on The Dryway (Monroe Bridge) Section, including gauges, maps, shuttle, and pictures, check out the AW River page.
The Fife Brook Section offers solid class II boating with one class III rapid at the end (that can easily be portage if so desired). This stretch is ideal for beginners and budding intermediates. For more information on the Fife Brook Section, including gauges, maps, shuttle, and pictures, check out the AW River page.
Watch local raft guides (or people who wish they were!) compete to see which team will be crowned this year's raft guiding royalty at 7PM at the festival site. Note: the Raft Guide Olympics are NOT held by American Whitewater, but by the local rafting companies.
Unfortunately, local laws don't allow camping at the festival site for Deerfield Fest. We'd love to let folks camp after the festival, but it's just not allowed. There are many campgrounds in the area, please call early for reservations as most campgrounds will book up early.
American Whitewater's raffles and silent auction are a highlight of many attending the Deerfield River Festival. Each year festival attendees get great deals on boats, paddles, gear, camping gear, and much more.
As of 2011, dogs are now allowed at Deerfield Fest! In the past, Deerfield Fest organizers were informed that dogs were not allowed on the town's fairgrounds (where the fest is held). As of 2011, we were informed that the dog ban was a mistake and that there was no ban on the record books. However, there are a few simple, mandatory dog rules:
In short, exercise good dog owner behavior and don't ruin it for everyone else! See you and your pups there!
There will be a space for people to bring their used gear and list it for sale, free of charge. We suggest you use your new found riches to buy an American Whitewater Membership (if you don't already have one)!
See who's going and tell everyone you're coming! See Deerfield Fest's event page.