The biggest and we believe the best festival in the area kicks off on Friday. This is the 15th Richmond Folk Festival and runs for 3 days full of not just music, you’ll find food, crafts, and fun for the kids. You could attend every hour of the festival and you’ll still miss something awesome. Here are some of the tools you’ll need to get the most out this weekend.
- Friday, October 11: 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
- Saturday, October 12: Noon – 9:30 PM
- Sunday, October 13: Noon – 6:00 PM
Check out the Performers: Styles range from jazz to gospel to Irish and rockabilly and salsa and more. Obviously you’ll be checking out the names you know but make sure you stop and visit those performances that you’ve got no idea about. It’s amazing what you’ll discover.
Our DON’T MISS THIS NO MATTER WHAT PICK is CASYM Steel Orchestra
CASYM is a thunderous orchestra consisting entirely of steel pans—percussion instruments fashioned from 55-gallon oil drums and played with rubber-tipped mallets. The virtuosity of its members and the versatility of its repertoire demonstrates this instrument’s incredible range. Annual participants in the New York Caribbean Carnival, CASYM is not just a musical group but also an organization that uses music to inspire youth of Caribbean heritage to imagine a brighter future.
Our SECOND DON’T MISS THIS NO MATTER WHAT PICK is: Bombino
In Niger, a teenage Bombino befriended guitarist Haja Bebe, who provided the budding musician early gigs playing political rallies as well as a stage name derived from the Italian word for “little child,” a fitting nickname for the band’s youngest and smallest member. When Bombino’s first album became a hit on local radio in Niger, his music career took off. He still found time for a surprising excursion: serving as actress Angelina Jolie’s guide for a weeklong visit to the Niger desert. By 2011, however, Bombino was recording and touring internationally to far-reaching acclaim. In 2019, his album Deran was nominated for a Grammy® for Best World Music Album, making Bombino the first artist from Niger to be nominated for a Grammy®.
Despite achieving global stardom, Bombino remains devoted to singing about Tuareg life. Following after the trailblazing Tuareg guitarists who brought this music out from the front lines and refugee camps, he continues to combine traditional Berber sounds with a rock and roll swagger. Bombino harnesses this prodigious talent to share a message of peace and, as he eloquently explains, “to encourage pride in our people for all the beauty our culture possesses.”
Performance Schedule: Take a peek so you can plan ahead! When in doubt head to the Dominion Energy Dance Pavilion trust on this one, this spot is always hopping.
- FREE parking and shuttle buses from City Stadium
- Using Lyft to get dropped off at Canal and 7th? Get 20% off two rides to and from the Fest, Oct. 11-13. Enter RFF2019 in the Promos tab on the app to claim.
- Ride your bike and park at 2nd and Byrd streets
- Walk across the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge (or the T Pot, if you’re a local!)
- Paid downtown parking is also available
- Brand new this year RVA Tuk Tuk will be on site, providing free rides all 3 days of the event. If you haven’t seen RVA Tuk Tuk yet they’re cute three-wheeled vehicles that can seat up to four.
Admission: FREE! Enjoy all of the performances on all 7 stages, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch Virginia Folk Life Area & Stage, and the CarMax Family Area at no cost. Food, drink and merchandise are available for sale.
Since we’re talking about drink don’t miss out on the special brews at the WestRock Craft Beer Tent. The full schedule of beers can be found here.
Do NOT bring: Dogs (except for service animals) no matter how well behaved or friendly he is is not allowed. This rule causes some consternation amongst some but the no dog rule is pretty much standard for all big music festivals. In fact, all the rules are pretty standard big music festival rules. Leave all your Coolers/large backpacks, Alcohol, Glass Bottles, Drugs or Weapons, Laser Pointers, Bikes, Skateboards, Inline Skates or Flying objects (drones, kites, frisbees, footballs) at home. These rules seem obvious but they’re broken every year.
Donations: This is probably the most important. Don’t forget to make a drop in the bucket! A $10 per day donation helps keep the Folk Festival FREE and is amazing small amount to pay for such a great festival. New this year, you can also Text to Donate: Text: FOLK To: 24365
Go to the Richmond Folk Festival website for even more festival info.