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Richmond Folk Festival announces first 10 artists set to perform at 15th anniversary edition

The Richmond Folk Festival will celebrate its 15th anniversary along the city’s historic downtown riverfront the weekend of October 11-13, 2019. The region’s favorite music event today announced the first 10 artists of what will once again be a culturally diverse program of music and dance traditions, from Tuareg guitar to Cajun.

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The Richmond Folk Festival will celebrate its 15th anniversary along the city’s historic downtown riverfront the weekend of October 11-13, 2019. The region’s favorite music event today announced the first 10 artists of what will once again be a culturally diverse program of music and dance traditions, from Tuareg guitar to Cajun.

Since Venture Richmond Events first partnered with the National Council for the Traditional Arts to bring the National Folk Festival to Richmond in 2005, the festival has continued to grow in popularity. It has become one of Virginia’s largest festivals, drawing upwards of 210,000 fans each year to enjoy a wide variety of music, crafts, dance, and foodways traditions.

“There was a time when many people questioned whether such a large-scale, free festival like this could be successful in Richmond for the long term,” said Lisa Sims, Venture Richmond Executive Director. “But our community has nurtured this event in ways that even the most optimistic of us couldn’t have predicted 15 years ago. There’s no end to our gratitude for the sponsors, contributors, and volunteers who make the festival happen year in and year out, rain or shine. The dedication of so many is stunning.”

The free, three-day event features seven stages showcasing music and dance from more than 40 artists from around the world. This includes the Richmond Times-Dispatch Virginia Folklife Area, which celebrates regional traditions; the ever-popular CarMax Family Area, produced by the Children’s Museum of Richmond, with activities and participatory performances for the young and young at heart; and a bustling crafts marketplace.

Artists to be featured at the 2019 Richmond Folk Festival include:

  • BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet (Cajun) – Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Bombino (Tuareg guitar) – Agadez, Niger
  • Dale Watson (honky-tonk and country) – Austin, Texas
  • The Garifuna Collective (Garifuna) – Dangriga, Belize
  • Huun-Huur-Tu (Tuvan throat-singing) – Republic of Tuva (Russian Federation)
  • Iberi Choir (Georgian polyphonic singing) – Tbilisi, Georgia
  • Kevin Doyle & Friends (Irish step dance and music) – Barrington, Rhode Island
  • Lonesome River Band (bluegrass) – Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee
  • Panfilo’s Güera (Tejano conjunto fiddle) – San Antonio, Texas
  • Super Chikan (Delta blues) – Clarksdale, Mississippi

The Richmond Folk Festival costs roughly $1.5 million to produce each year and is largely supported by corporate sponsorships, private donations, and volunteer hours. Approximately 1,300 volunteers are needed during the weeks leading up to and during the festival weekend. Fans of the Richmond Folk Festival are strongly encouraged to apply, and this year, those who volunteer in groups of four or more will be rewarded with signature Richmond Folk Festival items and accessories. Information about job descriptions and registration can be found on the festival’s volunteer page.

“We are grateful to Richmond for embracing the festival all those years ago,” said Stephen Lecky, Venture Richmond Festival Director. “Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors and the tireless efforts of our longtime volunteers, it has grown into a beloved tradition that represents the very best in us as a community.”

More artist announcements and additional details about the Richmond Folk Festival will be released throughout the summer. Folk Fest Insider subscribers will be among the first to receive updates and breaking news about the festival.

“We have some very special things planned in conjunction with our 15th year,” Lecky said. “This year’s Folk Fest is poised to be the best one yet.”

The Richmond Folk Festival is produced by Venture Richmond Events, LLC, in partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts. Other producing partners include the City of Richmond, the Virginia Folklife Program at Virginia Humanities, and the Children’s Museum of Richmond.

View photos, videos, and audio samples from the thus far-announced performers here.

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Downtown

VDH acknowledges first case of new COVID-19 variant identified in Virginia

SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 has been identified in a sample from an adult resident of Northern Virginia with no reported recent travel history. The variant, which first emerged in the United Kingdom in late 2020, is associated with increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.

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The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Department of General Services Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS) today announced that the first case of the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 has been identified in a sample from an adult resident of Northern Virginia with no reported recent travel history. The B.1.1.7 variant, which first emerged in the United Kingdom in late 2020, is associated with increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.

DCLS confirmed the case using next-generation sequencing that provides a genetic blueprint of the virus that causes COVID-19. DCLS has informed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the case.

“Viruses change all the time, and we expect to see new strains as disease spreads,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “We know this variant strain spreads more quickly between people than other strains currently circulating in our communities, but we still have more to learn about whether it causes more severe illness. As our state public health officials closely monitor the emergence of the B.1.1.7 variant in our Commonwealth, it is important that all Virginians continue following mitigation measures.”

In the United States, nearly 200 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant have been detected in 23 states as of January 22, 2021. While scientists are working to better understand its impact on vaccine efficacy, early data suggests currently authorized vaccines are effective against the new variant. VDH continues to work with communities across Virginia to slow the spread of all strains of COVID-19 through widespread adherence to preventive measures, supporting testing and vaccination efforts, and conducting investigations of cases and outbreaks.

As a virus spreads from one person to another, it makes copies of itself and sometimes makes small genetic changes called mutations. Because of these mutations, new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. According to the CDC, multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the United States and around the world. The B.1.1.7 variant contains an unusually large number of mutations.

DCLS began sequencing positive COVID-19 samples in March 2020, becoming one of the first public health labs in the nation to use this technology to examine the genetic makeup of the virus and track how it is changing and being transmitted in the Commonwealth. To date, DCLS has sequenced more than 10 percent of positive samples tested by the state lab, and is working with other labs in Virginia to solicit additional positive samples to sequence so public health officials can get a representation of variants circulating throughout Virginia.

“Sequencing is one of many tools we have available at the state’s public health laboratory to enable medical and public health officials to quickly identify and respond to threats such as emerging COVID-19 variants,” said Dr. Denise Toney, Director of DCLS. “We share this information not only within the Commonwealth, but with our federal and international partners to gain a better understanding of emerging genetic changes to SARS-CoV-2.”

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Community

Results from “Lost Cause” Studio Project Survey Reveal a Richmond Eager to Confront its Past

The survey asked Richmond region residents to share their knowledge about and ongoing impact of the Lost Cause myth, their desire to learn about this complex history and how a transformed Valentine Studio can address community needs.

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From the Valentine.

Today the Valentine released the results of a community survey, conducted in October and November of 2020.

The survey asked Richmond region residents to share their knowledge about and ongoing impact of the Lost Cause myth, their desire to learn about this complex history and how a transformed Valentine Studio (the location on the museum’s campus where sculptor Edward Valentine created many Lost Cause works) can address community needs. More than 1,000 participants, representing a wide variety of perspectives and backgrounds, completed the survey.

A diverse team of historians, activists, local leaders, Valentine family members and community members developed the survey. The Valentine also held focus groups to gain a deeper understanding of the variety of opinions about the Lost Cause, the role of cultural institutions in sharing this history and the potential installation of the damaged, paint-covered Jefferson Davis statue, until recently displayed on Monument Avenue, in the space. The results of the survey and the focus groups will inform and guide the project development.

Results included:

A majority of respondents stated that they would like to see the Valentine use the reinterpreted studio to explore the history of power and policies in Jim Crow Richmond, the art and artistic processes that created Lost Cause sculptures and the history of racial oppression in Richmond.

Additionally, 65% of respondents from the Richmond region agreed that museums should acquire the monuments from Monument Avenue and display them with context. For the Valentine specifically, this reinforced our request to the City of Richmond to acquire and display the graffiti-covered Jefferson Davis statue on his back as he fell.

Additionally, focus group participants, moderated by project partner Josh Epperson, felt that using the studio to explore Lost Cause history and connect it to the present would be a valuable use of the space. Focus group participants also affirmed the Valentine’s commitment to continuing its high level of community engagement, which they expected to be critical to the success of the reimagined studio.

You can find additional survey results HERE.

“Based on the survey feedback we received from our fellow Richmonders, we are confident that this is the best next step for this space and for this institution,” said Director Bill Martin. “We look forward to providing a location where Richmonders can learn about the Lost Cause, consider Richmond and the Valentine’s early role in disseminating the damaging Lost Cause myth and ultimately gain a deeper, more nuanced, more empathetic understanding of the region we call home.”

The Valentine will continue to solicit and address community questions, comments or concerns as the Studio Project develops.

On December 31st the Washington Post had an article on the museum taking a closer look at the role that founder of Edward V. Valentine had in the lost cause.

Today, the artist’s studio is closed to visitors at the Richmond museum that bears his family name — the Valentine. But museum director Martin and others see the workshop as the center of what could be a public reckoning with the racist mythology that Valentine’s sculptures helped bring to life.

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Community

Bookbinder’s Brings you Mac & Cheese on Another Level with BIGWIFE’S Pop-Up

This isn’t your typical mom’s mac & cheese. If your mom makes mac & cheese like this we would like to be adopted.

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Old Original Bookbinder’s Seafood & Steakhouse has launched a new experimental pop-up concept focusing exclusively on macaroni and cheese. BIGWIFE’S Mac & Cheese is operating for delivery and carryout from the Bookbinder’s kitchen.

The inventive menu includes creative spins like Buffalo Mac with spicy chicken and gorgonzola cheese; Little Figgy Mac with goat cheese, ham and fig; Mac Lorraine with bacon, scallions, and gruyere; and Greek Wedding Mac with tomato, olive, artichokes, pepperoncini and feta. Any mac can be made gluten free.

Orders can be placed at https://www.bigwifesmac.com/ and via Grubhub. BIGWIFE’S is open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Old Original Bookbinder’s is located at 2306 E Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23223.

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