Folk Feast fever is hard to contain. We are still reeling from last week’s record-breaking ticket sale, which completely sold out within 12 hours.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Katie McBride isn’t new to the poster game. After she graduated from art school at VCU, she found posters to be a great way to build up a portfolio.
"It’s Richmond, everyone has a band, so I’d ask if their band wanted a poster!” Katie remembers. "And it would be real work in my portfolio that I could show a client."
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.
To say Homayoun Sakhi is committed to his craft is an understatement. The classical Afghan musician continues his family’s legacy of mastering the rubâb—the short-necked lute that’s Afghanistan’s most beloved national instrument. His life is dedicated to improving his own musicianship while at the same time helping Afghan folk music not only stay alive but find new life in modern interpretation.
It’s not easy to pin Blaine Waide down. As Programming Manager for the National Council for the Traditional Arts, he has a full calendar of folk festivals across the nation. We caught up with him to talk about what it’s like to have a career in folklore and to learn more about the folk festival scene—and how Richmond measures up!
June 23 was a difficult day for the bluegrass community. Ralph Stanley, the Virginia native and bluegrass pioneer, died at 89 years old.
Stanley and his long-time band, the Clinch Mountain Boys, made a memorable appearance in 2012 at the Richmond Folk Festival. Fans also were able to experience the legend alongside Joe Wilson and Frank Newsome on the Virginia Folklife Stage.