The Richmond Folk Festival: An Outsourced & Wayward Preview

 In News

The annual Richmond Folk Festival is upon us, and good lord… where do we even start? This three day music festival in its 14th year is a seasoned sanctuary for music lovers, offering up anything and everything that might be attached to the word “folk,” all in front of a welcoming crowd.

We won’t offer up any recommendations here — there are far too many great acts performing that it’d be heartbreaking to snub someone, but more importantly, the magic of this weekend is the free-flowing discovery. Mark down stuff you want to see, sure, but also set aside plenty of time to just bounce around and take in whatever catches your ear in the moment. You might just come away singing the praises of polka and zydeco music to anyone who will listen. Don’t laugh either — if you’ve been to the Folk Festival before, you know the feeling.

You can view the whole schedule by clicking here, and get some information on the performers by clicking here. For those wanting to do a deeper dive before making the trek this weekend, here are some local articles that are worth reading on the folk festival, with a few of them highlighted specifically for their intriguing quality.

“Best musical slapstick: Zhou Family Band” – Style Weekly
That title alone shows you just what’s in store for you this weekend.

“Bounce Begins With B: A godfather of bounce, New Orleans’ Ricky B. makes his debut in Richmond” – Style Weekly

“Breaking Taboos: A pioneering female bluegrass singer talks about the challenges and thrills” – Style Weekly
Karen Newton has an insightful look into the career and confidence of Claire Lynch.

“The Choirmaster: Larry Bland celebrates 50 years leading the Volunteer Choir with a performance featuring Cora Harvey Armstrong” – Style Weekly

“A Conversation with Uilleann Piper Jarlath Henderson” – River City Magazine
Leave it to the amazing writer Davy Jones to make people not only care about uilleann pipe music, but seek it out.

“Festival Notes” – Style Weekly

“Found in the Masquerade: This year’s Virginia Folklife Area explores various costuming traditions in Virginia” – Style Weekly

“Get ready for a ‘Masquerade’ in the Richmond Folk Festival’s Folklife area” – Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Heeding the Call: A piper, who is also a doctor, keeps an Irish folk tradition alive” – Style Weekly

“Most likely to draw a huge crowd: Mavis Staples” – Style Weekly
It’s Mavis Staples, y’all. You can’t miss it.

“Most likely to induce a trance: Bounxeung Synanonh” – Style Weekly

“Music for Folks: The great-nephew of Django Reinhardt takes his guitar duo in new directions” – Style Weekly
Beyond the bloodline, this article is fantastic for Peter McElhinney capturing the most casual and profound answer to what folk music really is.

“Resilient Music: A Puerto Rican salsa band survives Hurricane Maria and comes back stronger” – Style Weekly

“Sibling Success: The younger sister of Jerry Lee Lewis forged her own boogie-woogie path” – Style Weekly

“Signs and Wonders: A lifetime of trust goes into interpreting the music onstage through sign language” – Style Weekly

“Tim Timberlake’s Tips for Watching the Fourth Annual Banjo Competition” – Style Weekly

“Together again, family-friendband Dog’s New Clothes reunites for the Richmond Folk Festival” – Richmond Times-Dispatch

“What to watch at this year’s Richmond Folk Festival: Mavis Staples, bounce music & Carnival costumes” – Richmond Times-Dispatch
Colleen Curran offers a detailed, yet concise look at some definite stand-outs of the jam-packed line-up this weekend.

“Volunteer Profile: Diane Muska” – Style Weekly
A great read if only to celebrate the enthusiasm and dedication of someone who’s been with the Folk Festival since its inception.

And if all of that is not enough to make you want to check out the festival, maybe this short video from a few years ago will.

The Richmond Folk Festival happens Friday, October 12th through Sunday, October 14th on Brown’s Island and the surronding riverfront with over 30+ artists across 7 stages. Admission is free with a $10 donation and for more information, click here.


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