Odd Fellows All

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Every August, the Sweet Chariot Music Festival turns Swan’s Island into a musical Brigadoon.

By Will Bleakley
Photograph by Kate Sfeir

Take a sailboat by Swan’s Island and you’ll encounter gentle swells, calming sea breezes, and, if you’re lucky, a boat full of folk singers, bagpipe players, ballerinas, flamenco dancers, and Nigerian drummers singing sea shanties. Seeing two-dozen globetrotting performers followed by a flotilla of kayaks and dinghies sidle up to your schooner and sing a hearty rendition of “Bully in the Alley” may take you by surprise, but the unexpected is the norm during the island’s Sweet Chariot Music Festival.

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Will Bleakley is the associate editor at Down East magazine.

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