The Richmond Folk Festival returns to an in-person event as it 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 produced by Venture Richmond Events in partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), the Center for Cultural Vibrancy, and the City of Richmond.
Featuring five stages and showcasing music and dance from 30 artists from around the nation and the world, the Richmond Folk Festival today announces the full performance schedule—a captivating mix of cultural traditions, artistic excellence, and individual creativity from some of the nation’s finest traditional artists.
“We are excited to welcome everyone back to Downtown Richmond’s beautiful historic riverfront. We’re doing everything we can to make certain that the Richmond Folk Festival is the same exceptional event you’ve come to know and love,” said Venture Richmond CEO Lisa Sims. “A year and a half into the pandemic, and with a fully approved vaccine available to most of us, we all have tools to help minimize our risks. Those tools include mask wearing for everyone regardless of vaccination status, social distancing wherever possible, and getting your vaccination if you can. Our hope is that everyone will be a Good Neighbor to their fellow attendees by using each of these tools. Our Covid plan is a robust guide to making sure we are all as safe as possible. Our staff, crew, volunteers, and vendors will be masked at the festival — regardless of vaccination status — and all artists will be masked until they are on stage and performing. We hope to see you there!”
Venture Richmond Events continues to closely monitor CDC and Virginia guidelines for COVID-19 protocols for large, in-person outdoor events. A commitment to safety and adherence to local, state, and federal ordinances and recommendations guide all decisions regarding in-person, outdoor events. (see COVID-19 guidelines)
Full Performance Schedule
Richmond Times-Dispatch Virginia Folklife Area and Stage
The Virginia Folklife Area and Stage returns this year with another scintillating lineup of some of the finest traditional artists from across the Commonwealth. After a year away, we’re excited to welcome back some friends who have graced our stage through the years. We’ll revel in the virtuosic bluegrass stylings of Danny Knicely, the lightning quick oyster knife wielding of champion shucking sisters Deborah Pratt and Clementine Macon Boyd, and the soul stirring and electrifying harmonies of Richmond’s own Legendary Ingramettes. Our 2021 Virginia Folklife Stage will also introduce audiences to a host of gifted artists gracing our stage for the first time. We’ll go honky-tonking with a giant of the Telecaster, Redd Volkaert, move and be moved by the hip hop and bluesy prowess of J Pope and the HearNow and Justin Golden and the Come Up, and get swept up in the frenzy of Corn Tornado, an infectiously raucous bluegrass band led by one of the greatest songwriters ever to come out of Virginia, David “Bluegrass Buddy” Via, reunited for this once in a lifetime performance.
In addition to the musical offerings on the Folklife Stage, the Virginia Folklife Traditional Crafts Area will present MASK, featuring the remarkable Mongolian masks and ceremonial costumes and dance of Arlington, Virginia, resident Gankhuyag “Ganna” Natsag, marking the first time that the Folklife Traditional Crafts Area features the work of a single artist. Ganna is celebrated for recreating all 108 masks associated with the Mongolian Buddhist tsam, a secret and subtle ritual which had been banned by the Communist government in the 1930s along with other tsam religious displays. Ganna’s
artistry has been exhibited to audiences all over the world, including the Dalai Lama himself. For Ganna’s lifetime of work the Mongolian government recently honored him with the title of Cultural Ambassador to the United States.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch Virginia Folklife Area and Stage is produced by the Center for Cultural Vibrancy.
Update to the CarMax Family Area
Due to the highly interactive nature of the activities planned for the CarMax Family Area, the Richmond Folk Festival will not host a family area this year. The CarMax Family Area, produced by the Children’s Museum, is a robust and engaging, much-loved, part of the Festival. However, due to the lack of an approved Covid 19 vaccine for children under 12, we believe cancelling 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.
For all information on the festival, please visit 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, and the City of Richmond.
The Richmond Folk Festival is sponsored by Altria, Dominion Energy, CoStar Group, CarMax, NewMarket Corp., Richmond Times-Dispatch, WestRock, Brown Distributing, Community Foundation, LIDL, Virginia Lottery, Atlantic Union Bank, NBC12 & CW Richmond, VPM, SummitMedia, Hilton Richmond Downtown, ONE Casino + Resort, Amtrak, Children’s Museum, American Civil War Museum, National Park Service, Virginia Humanities, JAMinc., Plan 9 Music, RMC Events, PD Brooks, SmartBox, Virginia Housing, Winn Transportation, House of Hayes, TNT Auto Rental, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, 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!