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Richmond Folk Festival is Going Virtual this Year

The Festival must go on and it will with a special television program, radio broadcasts and online streaming.

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The Richmond Folk Festival will celebrate its 16th anniversary the weekend of October 9-11 with a “virtual” event that will bring together the community through a special television program, radio broadcasts and online streaming.

Venture Richmond Events, in partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), the Virginia Humanities’ Virginia Folklife Program, and the Children’s Museum will present new musical performances that are exclusive to this festival, highlights of favorite artists from past festivals, cooking demonstrations, a riverfront art installation, fun family activities, and so much more! The show will go ona virtual event celebrating the roots, richness, and variety of American culture.

“We certainly share in the disappointment so many are feeling that we won’t be celebrating in person along our downtown Riverfront this October,” said Lisa Sims, CEO of Venture Richmond. “But we are grateful for our sponsors and partners who are helping us bring our community together for a culturally-rich, engaging and memorable weekend.

“We’re particularly excited to work with long-time sponsors VPM to broadcast a special television program featuring Virginia artists, and we hope everyone will stay tuned for more announcements about our official festival beer, t-shirt and poster. We’re doing everything we can to make the second weekend in October a true Folk Festival weekend.”

Artists to be featured in new musical performances include:

  • Aurelio (Garifuna) Plaplaya, Honduras, and New York, New York
  • Los Texmaniacs (conjunto tejano) San Antonio Texas
  • The Quebe Sisters (Texas fiddling and western swing) Dallas, Texas
  • Rahim AlHaj (Iraqi oud) Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Vishtèn (Acadian)
  • Prince Edward Island and Magdalen Islands, Québec
  • Walter “Wolfman” Washington & the Roadmasters (funk and R&B) New Orleans, Louisiana

Click here for extended artist bios, plus audio and video samples on our website.

Art installation by Kevin Orlosky on Brown’s Island

A new and exciting addition to this year’s festival is an interactive art installation on Brown’s Island. Conceptualized by artist Kevin Orlosky, the sculpture will be a community project that draws parallels between our experiences during this period of social distancing and illustrates our similarities as well as the unique ways we are dealing with this pandemic.

The art installation will commence Friday, October 2, on Brown’s Island. Community participation will begin Sunday, October 4. Find out more about the art installation and community participation on our website.

CarMax Family Area produced by the Children’s Museum

Enjoy four great interactive videos from the Children’s Museum over the event weekend! Festival fans can make the iconic Children’s Museum BAG HATS with Art Studio Coordinator Cameron Booth, who will get participating families started by inspiring them to use their own creativity to express their identity. Cameron will also ask kids to DREAM BIG by demonstrating how to create a personal “Sofa Stage” and share some ideas for making homemade instruments. GOT RHYTHM? Grab some drumsticks (or any stick) and join in the fun with Children’s Museum educator Pamela McCartt to learn about patterns and how to identify them in stories and music. And finally, join Director of Education Krista Dawson as she reads a fun book about a child who likes to perform.

Find out much more about the fun family activities going on in this year’s virtual CarMax Family Area on our website.

Interactive scavenger hunt

An interactive scavenger hunt on downtown Richmond’s riverfront is a fun, new festival activity! Participants can explore historical clues they may not have noticed before, learn Richmond Folk Festival history they may not have known, and share relevant musical links along the way. Those who successfully complete the one-hour scavenger hunt will be entered in drawings for great prizes, with new winners selected throughout the summer and fall! The scavenger hunt is open now and will remain open until October 13.

Find out more about the scavenger hunt on our website.

Ways to watch and listen to this year’s virtual festival

This year’s virtual festival is a great opportunity for families to plan gatherings and watch parties at home in a safe, fun and responsible way. (Hours listed below comprise planned blocks of time encompassing television, live streaming, and radio. Specific schedules for each platform will be released closer to the festival.)

Friday, October 9 from 6:00-10:00pm

Saturday, October 10 from 12:00-8:00pm

Sunday, October 11 from 12:00-8:00pm

  VISIT RichmondFolkFesitval.org, the Richmond Folk Festival’s Facebook page, and the Richmond Folk Festival on YouTube to livestream the event.

  WATCH All Together Now, a special television program celebrating Virginia artists, to be aired on VPM PBS Plus Channel 57.1 WCVW digital HD transmitters for festival coverage on Saturday, October 10 and Sunday, October 11.

•  LISTEN to Richmond public radio stations, VPM News (88.9 FM) and VPM Music (107.3 FM & 93.1 FM), for festival coverage on Friday, October 9, Saturday, October 10, and Sunday, October 11.

“We’re thrilled to present an incredibly robust weekend of programming and activities for the whole family so that everyone can still get that Folk Fest feeling,” said Stephen Lecky, Venture Richmond Director of Events. “The excitement from our community partners, performers, incredible volunteers and sponsors has been amazing.

“If we can’t gather together on downtown’s riverfront to celebrate at the Richmond Folk Festival, we’re going to give you the next best thing. As in years past, this virtual event will celebrate the culture and diversity of our community and explore a variety of American traditions.”

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

For more information about the Richmond Folk Festival, visit www.richmondfolkfestival.org. #RVAFolkFest    Text to Give! Text FOLK to 44321

Many thanks to our sponsors:

Altria, City of Richmond, Dominion Energy, WestRock, Capital One, Community Foundation, CarMax, NBC12 & CW Richmond, Richmond Times Dispatch, VPM, SummitMedia, National Park Service, Plan 9 Music, House of Hayes, Tonal Park Studios, Spacebomb Studios

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Photos: Folk Fest Saturday

The rain kept crowds down but that didn’t stop the performers from blowing it out of the park, again. You’ve got one more day to enjoy the festival.

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Photos and Tips: Friday Night at Richmond Folk Festival

The weather was perfect last night as Richmond welcomed back the Folk Festival with open arms and dancing feet.

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A few suggestions to making your day at the festival a little bit better

Tips

  1. Go see Plena Es. Most of my pictures came from their set last night because there was so much joy in the air. “Founded by Pierre Ramos in 2004, the band—featuring percussion, trombones, piano, bass, and two dancers—stirs up a high-energy dance music that is a touchstone for Puerto Rican identity.”
  2. Beer lines were long prepare accordingly. Also your selection of beer is much reduced at the craft beer area but still plenty of good ones to choose.
  3. Don’t let rain scare you off. All but one stage have tents. Rain tends to scare off folks which means less lines for you including the beer line.
  4. There are a low percentage of mask wearers so if you’re nervous take that into consideration.
  5. If you see a big guy with a red mohawk taking photos say hello, it’s me.

The Brotherhood Singers


The Western Flyers

Plena Es

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Essential Info for Your Folk Festival Weekend

The 17th Folk Festival kicks off on Friday here is what you need to know to make the most of the weekend.

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The 17th Richmond Folk Festival begins tomorrow, Friday, October 8, and runs for three days full of more music, food and fun than you can imagine. 

With five stages and nearly 70 performances over three days many people plan to spend more than one day at the festival. Add in more than 30 food vendors, a crafts marketplace, a Virginia Folklife demonstration area, and one of the most beautiful festival sites in Richmond, and we think you’ll want to go for multiple days to experience as much as possible

Here are a few essentials to enhance your visit:

Festival Hours

  • Friday, October 8, 6:30-10 pm
  • Saturday, October 9, 1-9:30 pm
  • Sunday, October 10, 1-6 pm

Performers
Read up on all of the fantastic artists who will perform. With styles ranging from jazz to gospel, Irish, rockabilly, salsa and more, there’s something for everyone to love or learn about.

Performance Schedule: Take a peek now so you can plan ahead!

Easy ways to get to the festival

  • Use a rideshare service like Lyft or Uber and get dropped off at 690 Byrd Street
  • Ride your bike and park at 2nd and Byrd Streets or 5th and Tredegar Streets
  • Walk across the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge (or the T Pot, if you’re a local!)
  • Paid parking is available in nearby surface parking lots and street parking in the area 
  • GRTC offers FREE and easy public bus transportation options for Downtown’s riverfront. Plan your trip here.

Maps and directions
The Richmond Folk Festival takes place on downtown Richmond’s historic riverfront, from 2nd to 7th streets and from Byrd Street to the river – including Brown’s Island, the American Civil War Center at Tredegar, portions of Federal Reserve parking lots, and Tredegar Street.

Admission
FREE! Enjoy all of the performances on all 5 stages at no cost. Food, drink and merchandise are available for sale.

Donations
This is a LARGE festival with a hefty budget that is supported largely by generous sponsors. However, the festival needs your help to remain FREE and sustainable! There is a suggested donation of $10 per person per day that can be made online HERE, or by finding a volunteer in a bright orange shirt carrying a bright orange bucket at the festival and making a “Drop in the Bucket!” Or, you can text FOLK to 44321 to give from your mobile phone. Thanks for your help in keeping the festival FREE!

Purchasing beer and festival merchandise
There are NO CASH SALES on site for beverages or festival merchandise. Debit and Credit cards are accepted.

Beverages are also available for online ordering – either before you leave home or once you’re on the festival grounds. Pre-ordering through the Noble App allows for drinks to be ready when you get there! Please be sure to download the Noble App and create an account/password in preparation for beverage purchasing – and be sure to remember your password! But you can also simply purchase in person with a debit or credit card.

Please do NOT bring 
Dogs (except for service animals), coolers/large backpacks, alcohol, bottles or glass of any kind, drugs, weapons, laser pointers, bikes on site (they may be parked outside the festival grounds), skateboards, inline skates, or flying objects (drones, kites, frisbees, footballs).

CarMax Family Area reminder
Due to the highly interactive nature of the activities planned for the CarMax Family Area, we will not host a family area this year. Because of the lack of an approved Covid 19 vaccine for children under 12, we believe canceling the Family Area activities is best for the safety of our littlest patrons. The Children’s Museum will be back to host the much-loved CarMax Family Area in 2022!

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