Richmond Folk Festival Celebrates 15 Years, Announces First 10 Artists to Perform in 2019

RICHMOND, Va. - The Richmond Folk Festival will celebrate its 15th anniversary along the city’s historic downtown riverfront the weekend of October 11-13, 2019. The region’s favorite music event has just announced the first 10 artists of what will once again be a culturally diverse program of music and dance traditions, from Tuareg guitar to Cajun.

“There was a time when many people questioned whether such a large-scale, FREE festival like this could be successful in Richmond for the long term,” said Lisa Sims, Venture Richmond Executive Director. “But our community has nurtured this event in ways that even the most optimistic of us couldn’t have predicted 15 years ago. There’s no end to our gratitude for the sponsors, contributors, and volunteers who make the festival happen year in and year out, rain or shine. The dedication of so many is stunning.”

Since Venture Richmond Events first partnered with the National Council for the Traditional Arts to bring the National Folk Festival to Richmond in 2005, the festival has continued to grow in popularity. It has become one of Virginia’s largest festivals, drawing upwards of 210,000 fans each year to enjoy a wide variety of music, crafts, dance, and foodways traditions.

The free, three-day event features seven stages showcasing music and dance from more than 40 artists from around the world. This includes the Richmond Times-Dispatch Virginia Folklife Area, which celebrates regional traditions; the ever-popular CarMax Family Area, produced by the Children’s Museum of Richmond, with activities and participatory performances for the young and young at heart; and a bustling crafts marketplace.

Artists to be featured at the 2019 Richmond Folk Festival include:

  • BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet (Cajun)
    Lafayette, Louisiana

  • Bombino (Tuareg guitar)
    Agadez, Niger

  • Dale Watson (honky-tonk and country)
    Austin, Texas

  • The Garifuna Collective (Garifuna)
    Dangriga, Belize

  • Huun-Huur-Tu (Tuvan throat-singing)
    Republic of Tuva (Russian Federation)

  • Iberi Choir (Georgian polyphonic singing)
    Tbilisi, Georgia

  • Kevin Doyle & Friends (Irish step dance and music)
    Barrington, Rhode Island

  • Lonesome River Band (bluegrass)
    Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee

  • Panfilo’s Güera (Tejano conjunto fiddle)
    San Antonio, Texas

  • Super Chikan (Delta blues)
    Clarksdale, Mississippi

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

The Richmond Folk Festival costs roughly $1.5 million to produce each year and is largely supported by corporate sponsorships, private donations, and volunteer hours. Approximately 1,300 volunteers are needed during the weeks leading up to and during the festival weekend. Fans of the Richmond Folk Festival are strongly encouraged to apply, and this year, those who volunteer in groups of four or more will be rewarded with signature Richmond Folk Festival items and accessories. Information about job descriptions and registration can be found on the festival’s volunteer page.

“We are grateful to Richmond for embracing the festival all those years ago,” said Stephen Lecky, Venture Richmond Festival Director. “Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors and the tireless efforts of our longtime volunteers, it has grown into a beloved tradition that represents the very best in us as a community.”

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.

“We have some very special things planned in conjunction with our 15th year,” Lecky said. “This year’s Folk Fest is poised to be the best one yet.”

Many thanks to our sponsors: Altria | Dominion Energy | CoStar | Community Foundation | CarMax | Capital One | Richmond Times-Dispatch | NewMarket Corp. | City of Richmond | WestRock | Premium Distributors of Virginia | Genworth | WCVE Music | Amtrak | National Council for the Traditional Arts | Children’s Museum of Richmond | NBC12 and CW Richmond | SummitMedia | Hilton Richmond Downtown | American Civil War Museum | VCU Health | Virginia Folklife Program at Virginia Humanities | National Park Service | JAMinc. | Plan 9 Music | Spacebomb Records | RMC Events | County Waste | SmartBox | VHDA | Wells Fargo | Winn Transportation | TNT | House of Hayes | Federal Reserve Bank | Virginia War Memorial  

The Richmond Folk Festival is produced by Venture Richmond Events, LLC, in partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts. Other producing partners include the City of Richmond, the Virginia Folklife Program at Virginia Humanities, 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

A leading non-profit in the field, the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) is dedicated to the presentation and documentation of folk and traditional arts in the U.S. Stressing excellence and authenticity, the NCTA presents the nation’s finest traditional artists in major festivals, tours, concerts, workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions, media productions, school programs, cross-cultural exchanges, and other activities. It works in partnership with American communities to establish new, sustainable traditional arts events that deliver lasting social, cultural, and economic benefits. Over 7,000 hours of the NCTA’s archival audio recordings dating from the 1930s are permanently housed at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The NCTA champions the interests of folk and traditional artists and organizations in the arena of public policy. For more about the NCTA, visit