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Richmond Folk Festival announces first round of artists for 17th annual event

After a hiatus in 2020 due to COVID, the Folk Fest is back – live and in person.

Trevor Dickerson



The Richmond Folk Festival will return this fall, live and in person, to celebrate its 17th anniversary the weekend of October 8-10, 2021. The festival has become one of Virginia’s largest, drawing fans each year to downtown Richmond’s riverfront to celebrate the roots, richness and variety of American culture through music, dance, traditional crafts, storytelling and food.

The free, three-day event is presented by Venture Richmond Events, in partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), the Virginia Folklife Program, the Center for Cultural Vibrancy, the Children’s Museum, and the City of Richmond.

Featuring six stages and showcasing music and dance from more than 30 artists from around the nation and the world, the Richmond Folk Festival is today announcing the first six artists of what will once again be a culturally diverse and impressive program.

“This year more than ever we may find reason to celebrate each other’s traditions and cultures,” said Stephen Lecky, director of events at Venture Richmond. “We are looking forward to showcasing downtown Richmond’s riverfront once again for a beautiful weekend of music, food and crafts to provide an open, outdoor, safe space for people to enjoy the Richmond Folk Festival.”

First group of artists to be featured:

Joanie Madden & Cherish the Ladies (Irish)
Yonkers, New York

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper (bluegrass)
Charlestown, Indiana

Nava Persian Trio (Persian santour)
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Plena Es (bomba y plena)
Sunrise, Florida

Rare Essence (go-go)
Washington, D.C.

Sean Jones “Dizzy Spellz” feat. Brinae Ali (jazz, hip hop, and tap dance)
Baltimore, Maryland

Interactive Scavenger Hunt

From June 18 until Labor Day weekend, the Richmond Folk Festival offers a scavenger hunt. Those interested can complete it at their leisure. The takes an hour or two to complete, and there are two routes from which to choose. Or, for the truly adventurous, it is possible to explore both routes over the summer! The scavenger hunt presents opportunities to notice often-missed public art, learn about history and different cultures, and listen to relevant musical links along the way. Like the festival, both routes include hills, steps, and uneven ground. Those who successfully complete the festival’s scavenger hunt by Labor Day weekend will be entered in drawings for prizes, with winners selected all summer long! The scavenger hunt runs through September 7.

For all details, please visit our website:

Festival Hours

Friday, October 8 — 6:30pm – 10:00pm

Saturday, October 9 — 1:00pm – 9:30pm

Sunday, October 10 — 1:00pm – 6:00pm

More information on the festival and additional artists performing this year will follow later this summer as we continue to follow CDC and state guidelines for Covid-19 protocol for large outdoor events. A commitment to safety and adherence to local, state, and federal ordinances and guidelines is crucial.

For more information about the Richmond Folk Festival, visit

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.