Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Local News

Summer Tradition Deep River Ancient Muster Canceled

A long-held tradition on the third weekend of July each year, the Deep River Ancient Muster (DRAM) typically draws thousands of fifers, drummers, and spectators from around the world. But for safety reasons amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the event has been canceled.

“There is no way given the law that Connecticut is operating [under] right now that we can hold that muster and keep the amount of people limited to what the state is allowing for,” said First Selectman Angus McDonald at the Deep River Board of Selectman meeting on May 26.

The DRAM Committee made the decision to cancel the event in consultation with the Deep River Drum Corps, municipal leaders and local health officials.

“It’s just another blow to the activities taking place in Deep River this summer,” said McDonald. “But, it was, everyone in the room, if you can call these Zoom meetings a room, was of the same mind that we just could not pull this off in a way that was safe and following the letter of the law. I think we all, at the end, vowed to make next year’s muster just that much better.”

DRAM has been recognized as the oldest and largest gathering of fife and drum participants in the world, according to the Deep River town website. This year would have marked the 67th year of the official DRAM event although fife and drum players have congregated on Devitt’s Field since 1879.

Elizabeth Reinhart covers news for Chester, Deep River, and Essex for Zip06. Email Elizabeth at

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