PREVIEW - Richmond Folk Festival Announces Twelve More Artists 


15th Anniversary Festival Continues History of Artistic Excellence

August 27, 2019 , RICHMOND, Va. - Venture Richmond today announced 12 additional artists who will perform at the 15th Annual Richmond Folk Festival on the weekend of October 11-13, 2019. 

“To celebrate such a special anniversary, we wanted to create a truly memorable October weekend, inviting back some artists who were here in the early years but also introducing cultural traditions that may be new to our attendees,” Venture Richmond CEO Lisa Sims said. “And I simply cannot talk about this milestone anniversary without noting the passionate support of our sponsors, individual donors, volunteers, and attendees. We simply could not have grown this event, or sustained it for over a decade, if any one of those groups had not been with us, without fail. It is an accomplishment we are excited to share with them.”

The Richmond Folk Festival was first introduced to the region as a successor festival to the National Folk Festival, which had an incredibly successful tenure in Richmond from 2005-07. The FREE, three-day event has grown into the largest of its kind in the country, drawing upwards of 220,000 music fans to Richmond’s historic downtown riverfront every year to enjoy a varied and virtuosic program of music and dance performed by artists from around the nation as well as the world.  

The program at this year’s festival features an extraordinary mix of long-standing crowd favorites -- from blues, Cajun, and Irish to Tuvan throat-singing and gospel brass “shout bands”-- as well as seven cultural traditions never before presented at the festival. The latter include several that festival organizers have long hoped to present, such as traditional music and dance from Syria and a steel pan orchestra.

Anyone who has been to the Richmond Folk Festival knows it to be a feast of sights, sounds, flavors, and new experiences -- there is, without question, something for everyone. In addition to performances on seven stages, the festival also includes the Richmond Times-Dispatch Virginia Folklife Area, which showcases regional traditions and demonstrations, an interactive Family Area produced by the Children's Museum, a crafts marketplace, an array of regional and ethnic foods, festival merchandise, and more. 

Themes for the Richmond Times-Dispatch Virginia Folklife Area and Stage and CarMax Family Area and Stage will be announced in September. 

The 12 newly-announced Richmond Folk Festival artists include:

  • Aleppo Ensemble (Aleppian wasla music and whirling dervish dance from Syria) 
    New York, New York

  • Balla Kouyaté & Mamadou Diabaté (balafon masters)
    Boston, Massachusetts, and Vienna, Austria

  • CASYM Steel Orchestra (steel pan orchestra)
    New York, New York

  • Conjunto Guantanamo (Afro-Cuban)
    New York, New York

  • Julie Fowlis (traditional Scottish song, pipes, and whistles)
    North Uist, Scotland

  • Mangum & Company (gospel brass “shout band”)
    Charlotte, North Carolina

  • Native Pride Dancers (powwow dance traditions)
    St. Paul, Minnesota

  • Petroloukas Halkias & Vasilis Kostas (traditional music from Epirus)
    Boston, Massachusetts, and Epirus, Greece

  • Plunky & the Oneness of Juju (funk and go-go orchestra)
    Richmond, Virginia

  • Riley Baugus (Appalachian songs and ballads)
    Walkertown, North Carolina

  • Saraswathi Ranganathan (Carnatic veena) 
    Chicago, Illinois

  • Stax Music Academy Alumni Band (Memphis soul) 
    Memphis, Tennessee

Previously announced artists 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. 

Sponsors and Partners:


  • Altria

  • Dominion Energy 

  • CoStar

  • Community Foundation 

  • CarMax

  • Capital One 

  • Richmond Times-Dispatch

  • NewMarket Corp. 


  • WestRock

  • Premium Distributors of Virginia

  • Genworth


  • Amtrak 

  • LIDL

  • NBC12 and CW Richmond 

  • SummitMedia

  • Hilton Richmond Downtown

  • American Civil War Museum


  • VCU Health

  • Lyft

  • Virginia is for Music Lovers

  • National Park Service

  • JAMinc.

  • Plan 9 Music

  • Spacebomb Records

  • RMC Events

  • PD Brooks

  • SmartBox

  • VHDA

  • Wells Fargo

  • Winn Transportation

  • TNT

  • House of Hayes  

  • Virginia War Memorial

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

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, 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 Sports Backers 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