Many performers come from a family of musicians; yet, few can claim a musical legacy as distinguished as Balla Kouyaté. The balafon player, who hails from Mali but now resides outside of Boston, is the heir to an 800-year-old musical tradition that was originally bestowed upon his family to steward and protect by a king, and has been subsequently handed down from father to son for centuries.
It’s hard to tell who’s the star of the Willard Gayheart Family Band. Of course 87-year-old Willard is the headliner, but it’s also his granddaughter, Dori Freeman, who has been hailed by Rolling Stone and the New York Times.
You’ve probably seen them in action, those folks in the brightly-colored shirts asking you to make a “drop in the bucket,” serving you beer or cleaning up with the Green Team. Many more are behind the scenes, logging music, helping with site set-up or working backstage.
Watch local legend Noah Scalin paint in real time at The Broadberry August 7, 8, and 9. Richmond Folk Festival fans typically have to wait until September for the unveiling of the commemorative poster design. But this year, we’re going BIG. Literally.
The Richmond Folk Festival today announced the release of the first single from a special compilation album celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Richmond Folk Festival. The record, titled All Together Now: 15 Years of the Richmond Folk Festival Live includes select tracks recorded live over the years since the National Folk Festival first came to Richmond in 2005.
Belen Escobedo stands apart on the musical landscape of the Texas-Mexico borderlands; amid the accordion-led conjuntos, she is gaining more and more attention as one of the only—if not the only—musician still playing traditional Tejano conjunto fiddle music.
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 today 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.
Locals know the Richmond Folk Festival offers a special brew of musical, culinary, and artisan traditions, but the growing role of craft beer in a region’s cultural landscape has made the Westrock Craft Beer Area one of the event’s most popular destinations.
Bounce music isn’t well known in Richmond yet, but visitors to the Richmond Folk Festival will get a taste of it from Ricky B, one of the pioneers of the sound. The recognized “ambassador of bounce” will be performing three times throughout Folk Festival weekend; audiences will have plenty of opportunities to experience the Big Easy’s unique hip hop tradition.
RICHMOND- For Richmonders, fall means a lot of universal things, like going back to school, leaves crunching underfoot, and pumpkin spice-flavored everything, but we also have one enormous reason to love the season—the annual Richmond Folk Festival. But with nearly as much enthusiasm as when they flock to the historic Richmond riverfront to enjoy folk traditions from all over the world, the citizens of Richmond embrace that other fall favorite, Halloween.
If you live in Richmond, you’ve seen Hamilton Glass’ work – even if you don’t know it. One of the most prolific muralists in the city, the artist is the master behind more than 80 murals on the walls of Richmond buildings.
Jarlath Henderson, a rising star of Irish music, sings centuries-old traditional songs with beautiful, haunting clarity. Heralded for his exploration of traditional song in the past few years, Henderson first came to acclaim as a virtuoso of the uilleann pipes, one of the iconic instruments in Irish music. For some, the instrument takes decades to master. But not Henderson. He was recognized for his prodigious skill when he was just 17, the youngest winner of the BBC Young Folk Award.
Virginia’s largest festival costs approximately $1.5 million to produce, and considering it’s completely free to the public, it simply wouldn’t be possible without the generous financial support of corporate sponsors, individual donors and volunteer manpower.
Bluegrass legend Dale Ann Bradley never consciously made it her goal to stick to her roots. Her musical heritage is simply something so strongly rooted within her that her tastes, she feels, will forever be the fruit of her family tree.
When Sarah Scarbrough looks back over the last few years at the Richmond City Justice Center, she fondly remembers three specific moments when inmates were lifted up, inspired, and encouraged by visiting performers from the Richmond Folk Festival.
Chris Milk Hulburt, a celebrated Richmond-based artist, has been wrestling with a new challenge as of late. Instead of his usual approach to art—going with his heart and seeing where it leads—Hulburt saw the 2017 Richmond Folk Fest poster as an enormous responsibility, and one he wanted to handle a little differently.
Speaking with Sherman Holmes is like speaking to an old friend. He’s warm, he’s funny, he breaks into laughter—at both his own jokes and yours—and he's quick to invite you to be a part of his world, even if it’s just to stop by and say hello after his next appearance at the Folk Fest.
Each year, approximately 1,300 volunteers form the central nervous system of the Richmond Folk Festival. From setup, takedown, logistics, fundraising, merch selling, transportation, and so much more, the volunteers keep the festival running smoothly.
“We are very, very good at getting people into the right spot,” says lead Volunteer Coordinator Jamie Thomas. He encourages interested parties to sign up for the 2017 festival and join the family.
Hailing from an isolated village in rural Venezuela, Betsayda Machado is on the cusp of international stardom. A few minutes online – watching videos on YouTube, reading articles that detail her fascinating story – and a long Skype conversation with Betsayda make this assertion abundantly clear.
There are few experiences in this world more authentic than sharing a culture’s folk traditions—but one of those experiences might be sitting down for a beer with a new friend, an old friend, or even a complete stranger.
Richmond Folk Fest fans know that the past two years’ addition of Wild Wolf’s Folktoberfest ale to the festival lineup transformed an already exciting weekend into a truly perfect experience. So this year, we decided to take the beverage aspect of the Folk Fest to a whole new level.
More than 40 artists representing traditions from all over the globe will perform at the 12th annual Richmond Folk Festival this year. The free three-day event along Richmond’s historic downtown riverfront is the most popular of its kind in the country, drawing approximately 200,000 music fans every year, rain or shine.