What is it about the Richmond Folk Festival?

Just a few weeks ago, we were all bracing for what meteorologists were calling one of the “worst weather events in US history.” 

Thankfully, we were spared from the wrath of Hurricane Matthew, but the rain poured… and it poured all day long on Saturday. Some wondered if you would come, but we knew you’d be there – rain or shine.

We just couldn’t believe how many of you braved the elements. Some 125,000 of you showed up and slogged through the mud and the rain with big, bright smiles on your faces. With the thick mud sucking at your rain boots, you still came through with $75,000 worth of donations to the Bucket Brigade.

It’s that sort of perseverance that made the Richmond Folk Festival possible in the first place. Twelve years ago, there were people who didn’t think this sort of festival would stick.

But it did stick – because of YOU. You've come, year after year. You’ve come with your children, your neighbors, and your friends to celebrate the folk and traditional arts that originated around the world, and now make up the cultural fabric of our own country. You embraced the festival with such gusto that it’s not just a Richmond tradition – it’s the largest folk festival of its kind in the country. It belongs to all of us.

So what is it that makes this Folk Festival so special?

It’s YOU.

We are so grateful to you for making #12 the best one yet. We’ll see you again next year, October 13-15, rain or shine.

Until then,
Lisa Sims
Festival Director
Interim Executive Director, Venture Richmond

Thank you, Richmond!

Thank You, Richmond!

Thank you to our wonderful stage sponsors; Altria, Dominion, WestRock Foundation, The Community Foundation, Union Bank & Trust, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Carmax and NewMarket. Thank you to our Contributing Partners, the Friends of the Festival and every single one of you who made a drop in the orange buckets this weekend. And to everyone who grab their rain gear and came out and danced the blues away, thank you! If you didn't have a chance to make a donation, consider making one now online, every dollar helps us keep this festival free. Until next year!

Tasty Licks: Virginia's Food Traditions

Richmond Folk 2016 Schedule

The popular expression “you are what you eat” is often meant to be interpreted literally, but this saying holds true in the greater cultural sense as well. Much like our other cultural traditions, the foods we prepare and eat connect us with our own sense of communal belonging and identity, be it ethnic, regional, occupational, or familial. Foodways also play a critical role in how we experience ways of life different from our own. Virginia, like much of America, is a remarkably diverse place, and it often is through the sharing of foods that we, in the most tactile sense, get a taste of each other’s culture.

Throughout the weekend, we will be hosting cooking demonstrations that speak to the remarkable diversity of the Commonwealth, showcasing foodways both old and new to Virginia—from fried apple pies of the Blue Ridge to crab soup of the Eastern Shore, from Mexican molé to Filipino Lechon. Audiences will get to learn family-held recipes, share in closely-guarded kitchen secrets, and yes, taste the results.

Read more about the Union Bank & Trust Virginia Folklife program

The full list of artists performing at the Richmond Folk Festival released!

Richmond Folk Feast 2015

From the Norfolk sound, to Cuban son to rockabily to zydeco to beatbox, you'll find a broad diversity of sounds to get your feet tapping. 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.”

Read bios, watch videos from the artists

Virginia Folklife Area to Present a Buffet of “Tasty Licks”

Unique Sound

Save room for seconds at the Richmond Folk Festival this year, the Virginia Folklife Area’s theme “Tasty Licks: Virginia’s Food Traditions” is shaping up to be a smorgasbord of culinary and musical delicacies.

“The popular expression ‘you are what you eat’ is often meant to be interpreted literally, but the saying also holds true in the greater cultural sense,” State Folklorist Jon Lohman said. “It is often through our food that we consciously and unconsciously express to ourselves and others our most deeply felt sense of who we are.”

Read more about performers appearing in The Union Bank & Trust Folklife Area

8 things only Richmond Folk Festival volunteers know

Richmond Folk Feast 2015

1. You get rock star parking. While your buds are hunting for a space downtown or waiting for a shuttle bus, you flash your volunteer pass and drive right up and park in a designated lot.

2. It’s a solid strategy for making sure you get the full experience. One of the biggest challenges of the festival is that there is so much happening, it’s hard to see it all. If you are working the festival, rest-assured, you will be ALL. OVER. IT. Read More

Richmond Folk Festival announces the first set of artists
for 2016

Richmond Folk Feast 2015

There's nowhere else you can find both Sri Lankan dancers and rockabilly! For the first time we'll also feature the sounds of Afganistan and after many years of trying, Gary U.S. Bonds with Gene "Daddy G" Barge will bring the Norfolk Sound, a unique brand of rock 'n' roll. Read bios and listen to samples from the first of many great artists that will grace our stages this October.

Pictured at left, Homayoun Sakhi & Salar Nader

Skip Traffic, Take Amtrak to the 2016 Richmond Folk Festival


Coming in to town for the 2016 Richmond Folk Festival? Take the train! Railroads came first, long before the interstate and the airplane, making Amtrak the perfect official travel sponsor for the Festival. Amtrak is a convenient way for families and leisure travelers to visit Richmond, its cultural amenities and this top-rated destination city without worrying about traffic or hassles. Plan your trip to the Folk Festival at Amtrak's website.

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Folk Festivals

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  • American Folk Festival
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