Richmond Folk Festival Announces Fourteen More Artists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Press Contact: Kelly Vance

August 20, 2018

RICHMOND, Va. - Venture Richmond today announced 14 additional artists who will be performing at the 2018 Richmond Folk Festival on the weekend of October 12-14

This year’s program includes a spectacular group of diverse musicians and dancers from around the world; six of these artists carry on cultural traditions that have never been featured at the festival before. In addition to previously announced artists, including gospel, soul, and rhythm and blues icon Mavis Staples and award-winning Irish musician Jarlath Henderson, New Orleans bounce music pioneer Ricky B will perform, as will Chinese wind and percussion masters, the Zhou Family Band, rising jazz star Brianna Thomas, and many more.


With talented performers on seven stages, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The Richmond Folk Festival’s dedication to opening eyes, ears, and hearts to cultural traditions from all over the world has helped it become the largest festival of its kind in the country. And, thanks to the generous support of community sponsors and individual donors, the three-day festival remains completely free to the public.

“It’s incredibly special to watch Richmonders gather each year to discover and celebrate these rich cultural traditions,” Venture Richmond executive director Lisa Sims said. “We are so grateful to the community for keeping the festival going strong all of these years. It has become a Richmond tradition all its own.”

The 14 newly announced Richmond Folk Festival artists include:

Brianna Thomas (jazz)
New York, New York

Cora Harvey Armstrong (gospel)
Richmond, Virginia

Jeff Little Trio (Blue Ridge piano trio)
Boone, Virginia

Larry Bland & the Volunteer Choir (gospel choir)
Richmond, Virginia

Linda Gail Lewis (rockabilly)Austin, Texas

The New York Crimean Tatar Ensemble (Crimean Tatar)
Brooklyn, New York

Pan Franek, Zosia & the Polka Towners (polka)
Muskegon, Michigan

Ras Michael & the Sons of Negus (reggae)
Los Angeles, California

Ricky B (New Orleans bounce)
New Orleans, Louisiana

Sona Jobarteh (Manding griot)
Kartong, The Gambia

Tribu Baharú (Afro-Colombian champeta)
Bogotá, Colombia

Vishtèn (Acadian)
Prince Edward Island and Magdalen Islands, Québec

Zhou Family Band (traditional wind and percussion music from central-eastern China)

Anhui Province, China

Zuni Olla Maidens (Zuni dance and song)
Zuni, New Mexico

Previously announced artists 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. 

Still to be announced in September are this year’s theme and roster of artists and craft demonstrators who will participate in the ever-popular Richmond Times-Dispatch Virginia Folklife Area and Stage, featuring an eclectic mix of traditional music, dance, food, and crafts from across the region. Programming for the CarMax Family Area and Stage, produced by the Children’s Museum of Richmond, will also be revealed next month.



Sponsors and Partners:





Dominion Energy


The Community Foundation                         


Richmond Times-Dispatch

NewMarket Corp.

City of Richmond







VCU Health



National Council for the Traditional Arts        

Children’s Museum of Richmond                   

NBC12 and CW Richmond     

SUMMIT Media                

WCVE Radio                                 

American Civil War Museum                     

Hilton Richmond Downtown                                 

Virginia Humanities              




National Park Service                                    


Plan 9 Music                                                         

RMC Events                                              

County Waste                                               



Wells Fargo                                              

Winn Transportation                                

House of Hayes                                 


Virginia War Memorial




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 City of Richmond, National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), The American Civil War Museum, the Children’s Museum of Richmond, and the Virginia Folklife Program.

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