The Richmond Folk Festival celebrates its 17th anniversary October 8-10, 2021 inviting fans 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, outdoor event is presented by Venture Richmond Events in partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), 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 today announces a second group of artists performing at this year’s festival—a program that will again be culturally diverse and artistically excellent, with some of the finest traditional artists performing throughout the weekend.
“We are proud to be back this year on Richmond’s beautiful downtown riverfront,” said Blaine Waide, associate director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts. “From returning favorites to up-and-coming artists making their Richmond debut to traditions like Sicilian traditional music
that we have never presented before, this year’s program lives up to the festival’s reputation for offering a dizzying variety of artistic expressions and experiences—all for free!”
Venture Richmond Events continues to closely monitor CDC and Virginia guidelines for COVID-19 protocols for large outdoor events. A commitment to safety and adherence to local, state, and federal ordinances and recommendations will guide all decisions regarding the festival.(see COVID-19 guidelines)
The nine newly announced artists to be featured at the 2021 Richmond Folk Festival include:
The Brotherhood Singers (African American a cappella gospel quartet singing)
Donny Broussard & the Louisiana Stars (Cajun)
Jasmine Bell & North Bear (Lakota hoop dance and Northern Plains drum)
The Pedro Giraudo Tango Ensemble (Argentine tango)
New York, New York
Rosa Tatuata with Michela Musolino (Sicilian traditional music)
Clifton, New Jersey
Sugaray Rayford (blues)
Los Angeles, California
Taj Weekes (reggae)
St. Lucia by way of New York, New York
Tres en Punto (trío romántico)
The Western Flyers (western swing)
The festival’s previously announced artists include:
Joanie Madden & Cherish the Ladies (Irish)
Yonkers, New York
Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper (bluegrass)
Nava Persian Trio (Persian santour)
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Plena Es (bomba y plena)
Rare Essence (go-go)
Sean Jones “Dizzy Spellz” feat. Brinae Ali (jazz, hip hop, and tap dance)
Encore Performances on VPM
Every Saturday at 5:00pm, catch VPM broadcasts of favorite performances from the past 13 years of the Richmond Folk Festival, as well as the three years the city hosted the National Folk Festival (2005-07). Tune in to Richmond public radio VPM stations 107.3 FM & 93.1 FM for great musical memories. Add these shows to your calendar today:
Aug 28 Dale Ann Bradley
Sep 4 Lurie Bell, Andes Manta
Sept 11 Amargue Bachata Quintet with Andre Veloz
Sept 18 Ahava Raba with Yanky Lemmer
Sept 25 Sona Jobarteh
Oct 2 Maggie Ingram, Frank Newsome, The Paschall Brothers, Clinton Fearon
Interactive Scavenger Hunt
From now through Labor Day weekend, the Richmond Folk Festival is offering an interactive scavenger hunt. It takes about an hour or two to complete, and there are two routes from which to choose. 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 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: https://www.richmondfolkfestival.org/scavhuntintro
More information on the festival and additional artists performing this year will follow soon. For
updates, visit www.richmondfolkfestival.org. #RVAFolkFest
To make a donation to the Richmond Folk Festival today, Text to Give! Text FOLK to 44321.
The Richmond Folk Festival is produced by Venture Richmond Events, in partnership with the
National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), the Center for Cultural Vibrancy, the Children’s
Museum, and the City of Richmond.
The Richmond Folk Festival is sponsored by Altria, Dominion Energy, CoStar Group, CarMax,
NewMarket Corp., City of Richmond, WestRock, Brown Distributing, Community Foundation,
Amtrak, LIDL, Virginia Lottery, Atlantic Union Bank, NBC12 & CW Richmond, VPM,
SummitMedia, Hilton Downtown Richmond, ONE Casino + Resort, American Civil War Museum,
National Park Service, Virginia Humanities, JAMinc., Plan 9 Music, RMC Events, PD Brooks,
SmartBox, Virginia Housing, Wells Fargo, Winn Transportation, House of Hayes, TNT Auto
Rental, Federal Reserve Bank, and Virginia War Memorial
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.
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.
A few suggestions to making your day at the festival a little bit better
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- There are a low percentage of mask wearers so if you’re nervous take that into consideration.
- If you see a big guy with a red mohawk taking photos say hello, it’s me.
The Brotherhood Singers
The Western Flyers
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.
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:
- Friday, October 8, 6:30-10 pm
- Saturday, October 9, 1-9:30 pm
- Sunday, October 10, 1-6 pm
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.
FREE! Enjoy all of the performances on all 5 stages at no cost. Food, drink and merchandise are available for sale.
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!