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.