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Richmond Folk Festival Releases Full Artist Roster for 2016

More than 40 Performing Groups to take the Stage at the 12th Annual Festival


For Immediate Release
Press contact: Kelly Vance   


August 12, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. - Venture Richmond is pleased to announce the full list of artists performing at the 12th Annual Richmond Folk Festival, a FREE, three-day event held this year on October 7-9, 2016.

Each performer represents the living folk traditions of their communities, whether hailing from across the globe, the US, or from regions within our own Commonwealth. The most popular festival of its kind in the nation, the Richmond Folk Festival brought more than 200,000 lovers of music and traditional arts to Richmond’s historic riverfront in 2015, an increase of 50,000 from 2014.

Festival director Lisa Sims said, “I wish everyone who loves the festival could spend a few minutes with our local Programming Committee. The wealth of knowledge in our community is staggering, their passion is thrilling, and they are steadfastly committed to our goal of providing full access to some of the greatest traditional arts in the world.”

“Whether you’ve been coming for years or will be checking it out for the first time in October, the festival
always brings something new to discover,” Lisa Sims said. “Our dynamic programming committee has outdone themselves again, lining up thrilling performances from all over the world and even a few from our own backyard.”

2016 Richmond Folk Festival Artists:

  • Adonis Puentes & the Voice of Cuba Orchestra (Cuban son), Cuba by way of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
  • Balinese All Stars (gamelan orchestra), Los Angeles, Colorado Springs & Denver, metropolitan New York City, and Champaign-Urbana, Ill.
  • BeauSoleil Trio: Doucet, Doucet, & Reed (Cajun), Lafayette, La.
  • Ben Hall (“Travis-style” thumb-picked guitar), Okolona, Miss. by way of Nashville
  • Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino (Southern Italian pizzica tarantata), Salento, Italy
  • Chico Simões (Brazilian mamulengo), Taguatinga, Brazil
  • Conteño (conjunto tejano and norteño), Brownsville, Texas
  • Gary U.S. Bonds with Gene “Daddy G.” Barge (The Norfolk Sound), Norfolk, Va. by way of Long Island & Chicago
  • Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie (zydeco), Eunice, La.
  • Homayoun Sakhi & Salar Nader (Afghan rubâb and tabla), San Francisco Bay Area, Calif.
  • Jason D. Williams (rockabilly), Memphis, Tenn.
  • Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers (bluegrass), Xenia, Ohio
  • Kaynak Pipers Band (Bulgarian kaba gaida), Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Kevin Locke (Lakota hoop dance and flute), Wakpala, S.D.
  • L’Orchestre Afrisa International (Congolese soukous), Seattle, Wash. and Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Maceo Parker (funk), Kinston, N.C.
  • Marquise Knox (blues), St. Louis, Mo.
  • Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy (Cape Breton and Ontario fiddling), Nova Scotia and Ontario, Canada
  • Paddy Keenan & Jimmy Noonan (Irish), Loudon, N.H. and Boston, Mass.
  • Phil Wiggins House Party (Piedmont blues and dance), Washington, D.C.
  • Sheila Kay Adams (Appalachian songs, stories, and ballads), Marshall, N.C.
  • Sri Lankan Dance Academy of NY (traditional Sri Lankan dance), Staten Island, N.Y.
  • The Beat[box] Goes On: Rahzel, Nicole Paris and Ed Cage (beatboxing), New York City and St. Louis, Mo.
  • The Branchettes (traditional African American gospel), Raleigh, N.C.
  • The Fairfield Four (African American gospel quartet singing), Nashville, Tenn.

Click here for extended bios, audio and video samples.

Special Events and Additional Stages

In addition to the eclectic roster of music and dance performers from from outside of Virginia, the festival also features the Union Bank & Trust Virginia Folklife Stage and Folklife Area, featuring both performers and craft demonstrators and produced by the Virginia Folklife Program at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities; the interactive CarMax Family Area and Stage, produced by the Children’s Museum of Richmond; an array of festival merchandise, more than 30 food vendors, and more.

One of 2016’s special events will welcome festival-goers to participate in a beautiful Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) tradition—the tashlikh ceremony. The symbolic ritual involves letting go of that which lies in the past and keeps us from flourishing. It promises to be a wonderful introduction to Jewish culture that will appeal to festival-goers of all ages.

In partnership with Jam, Inc., Chico Simões, Conteño, Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, Homayoun Sakhi & Salar Nader, Phil Wiggins House Party, and Sheila Kay Adams will perform for students at Richmond Public Schools elementary, middle, and high schools on the Friday of the festival. The Richmond Folk Festival will also continue its partnership with the Richmond City Justice Center to bring music to inmates. Blues artist Marquise Knox will perform there on Friday, October 7.

Sponsors and Partners

Festival sponsors include Altria, Dominion, The Community Foundation, WestRock, CarMax, Union Bank & Trust, VCU Health System, Genworth, the Richmond Times­ Dispatch/, New Market Corporation, Amtrak, and Loveland.

Richmond Folk Festival producing partners include the City of Richmond, the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), The American Civil War Center at Tredegar, the Children’s Museum of Richmond, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and the National Park Service.

To learn more about the Richmond Folk Festival visit



About The Richmond Folk Festival
The Richmond Folk Festival is one of Virginia's largest events, drawing visitors from all over the country to downtown Richmond's historic riverfront. The Festival is a FREE three-day event that got its start as the NCTA’s National Folk Festival, held in Richmond from 2005-2007. In the tradition of the "National," the Richmond Folk Festival features excellent performing groups representing a diverse array of cultural traditions on seven stages. The festival includes continuous music and dance performances, a Virginia Folklife Area featuring ongoing demonstrations, an interactive Family Area produced by the Children's Museum of Richmond, a folk art marketplace, regional and ethnic foods, festival merchandise and more. Additional information is available at

About Venture Richmond
The Festival is produced by Venture Richmond, in a continuing partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), the City of Richmond, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the National Park Service, The American Civil War Center, and the Children’s Museum of Richmond. Venture Richmond is a non-profit organization formed to engage business and community leaders in partnering with the City to enhance the vitality of the community, particularly Downtown, through economic development, marketing, promotion, advocacy and events. Venture Richmond also produces such long-standing and signature community events as Easter on Parade, Friday Cheers, RVA Fireworks on the James, and the 2nd Street Festival, and partners with the Richmond Sportsbackers to co-produce Dominion Riverrock. For more information visit

About the National Council for the Traditional Arts
The National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the presentation and documentation of folk and traditional arts in the United States. Founded in 1933, it is the nation's oldest folk arts organization. The NCTA presents the nation's very finest traditional artists in festivals, tours, international cultural exchanges, workshops, demonstrations and exhibitions, media productions, school programs, and other activities. It works in partnership with communities across America to establish new, sustainable traditional arts events that deliver lasting social, cultural, and economic benefits. For more about the NCTA, visit


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