Richmond Folk Festival Releases Dates, First Artists for 2018

Legendary Rhythm and Blues artist Mavis Staples to appear for one performance

Last year’s Richmond Folk Festival was one for the record books, and the festival is on pace to outdo itself in 2018. Today, Venture Richmond Events announced the first 10 artists scheduled to perform along Richmond’s historic downtown riverfront the weekend of October 12-14, 2018.

“The Richmond Folk Festival has a way of bringing out the best in all of us,” said Venture Richmond executive director Lisa Sims. “People from all walks of life come year after year to discover unique cultural traditions, creating a shared experience that brings our community together like few others. Over the years we’ve made a concentrated effort to produce a diverse and eclectic program celebrating a wide range of cultural traditions, and today the festival itself has become a tradition that connects us all.”

The free, three-day event draws upwards of 200,000 music lovers to Richmond’s historic Downtown Riverfront each year to enjoy traditions performed by more than 40 artists with roots from around the globe. The Richmond Folk Festival is the largest festival in the region, featuring seven stages for music and dance, including the Virginia Folklife Area, an audience favorite, featuring regional music, dance, food, and crafts traditions, and the popular Family Area that provides attendees with hands-on fun, as well as a bustling crafts marketplace.

Artists to be featured at the 2018 Richmond Folk Festival include:

  • Bounxeung Synanonh (Laotian khaen)
    Fresno, California
  • Claire Lynch (bluegrass)
    Nashville, Tennessee
  • Farah Yasmeen Shaikh (Kathak dance)
    San Francisco, California
  • Jarlath Henderson (Irish)
    County Armagh, Northern Ireland
  • Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne (blues and boogie-woogie piano)
    Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Leroy Thomas & the Zydeco Roadrunners (zydeco)
    Elton, Louisiana
  • Lulo Reinhardt (Gypsy jazz)
    Koblenz, Germany
  • Mavis Staples (gospel, soul, rhythm and blues)
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Orquesta el Macabeo (salsa)
    Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico
  • Tamburaški Sastav Ponoć (tamburitza)
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Click here for extended bios, plus audio and video samples.

More artist announcements and additional details about the Richmond Folk Festival will be released throughout the summer. Folk Fest Insider subscribers will be among the first to receive updates and breaking news about the festival.

Venture Richmond Events produces the Richmond Folk Festival in partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts, the Virginia Folklife Program, and the Children’s Museum of Richmond.

For more information 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 National Council for the Traditional Arts’ 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

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 provides enhanced property management services for both the Downtown and Riverfront including; the Clean & Safe program, beautification and landscaping projects and management and maintenance of Brown's Island, the Canal Walk and Belle Isle parking lot. Venture Richmond Events produces Friday Cheers, the 2nd Street Festival, the Richmond Folk Festival, and partners with the Richmond Sportsbackers to produce Dominion Energy Riverrock. Venture Richmond also operates Riverfront Canal Cruises. Both Venture Richmond Events, LLC, and Riverfront Canal Cruises, LLC, are subsidiaries of Venture Richmond, Inc. 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