The Gates of Richmond Folk Festival Are Open to the World

In 2019, Digital Beat Magazine had the opportunity to cover one of Richmond, Virginia’s premiere events, the Richmond Folk Festival, and share the report with the world. This year, rather than canceling the festival amid COVID concerns, the organizers decided to take the lemons fate had dealt them and make a plan to deliver the taste of lemonade only Richmond Folk Fest can bring into the world! 

The Richmond Folk Festival will celebrate its 16th anniversary the weekend of October 9-11th with a “virtual” event that will bring together the community through a special television program, radio broadcasts and online streaming.

Venture Richmond Events, in partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), the Virginia Folklife Program and the Children’s Museum will present new musical performances that are exclusive to this festival, highlights of favorite artists from past festivals, cooking demonstrations, a riverfront art installation, fun family activities, and so much more! The show will go on—as a virtual event celebrating the roots, richness, and variety of American culture.

“We certainly share in the disappointment so many are feeling that we won’t be celebrating in person along our downtown Riverfront this October,” said Lisa Sims, CEO of Venture Richmond. “But we are grateful for our sponsors and partners who are helping us bring our community together for a culturally-rich, engaging and memorable weekend.

“We’re particularly excited to work with long-time sponsors VPM to broadcast a special television program featuring Virginia artists, and we hope everyone will stay tuned for more announcements about our official festival beer, t-shirt and poster. We’re doing everything we can to make the second weekend in October a true Folk Festival weekend.”

Artists to be featured in new musical performances include:

Aurelio (Garifuna)
Plaplaya, Honduras, and New York, New York

Los Texmaniacs (conjunto tejano)
San Antonio Texas

The Quebe Sisters (Texas fiddling and western swing)
Dallas, Texas

Rahim AlHaj (Iraqi oud)
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Vishtèn (Acadian)
Prince Edward Island and Magdalen Islands, Québec

Walter “Wolfman” Washington & the Roadmasters (funk and R&B)
New Orleans, Louisiana

Visit HERE for extended artist bios, plus audio and video samples.

Art installation by Kevin Orlosky on Brown’s Island

A new addition to this year’s festival will begin on Friday, October 2nd as an interactive art installation conceptualized by artist Kevin Orlosky. Drawing parallels between experiences during social distancing, the sculpture will be a community project that will involve the unique ways we are dealing with this pandemic. Community participation will begin Sunday, October 4th. Find out more HERE.

CarMax Family Area produced by the Children’s Museum

Four interactive videos from the Children’s Museum will be available over the event weekend! Art Studio Coordinator Cameron Booth will be inspiring festival goers to make Children’s Museum BAG HATS, asking the kids to DREAM BIG by demonstrating how to create a personal “Sofa Stage”, and share some ideas for making homemade instruments. Children’s Museum educator Pamela McCartt will be teaching more about patterns and how to identify them in stories and music. And finally, Director of Education Krista Dawson will read a book about a child who likes to perform.

Interactive scavenger hunt

New festival activity, the interactive scavenger hunt on downtown Richmond’s riverfront, will have participants exploring historical clues they may not have noticed before and learning more about Richmond Folk Festival history. Those who successfully complete the one-hour scavenger hunt will be entered in drawings for prizes! The scavenger hunt is open now and will remain open until October 13.

Ways to watch and listen to this year’s virtual festival

Families are able to arrange their own watch parties at home in a safe, fun and responsible way. Planned blocks of time encompassing television, live streaming, and radio are listed below, with specific schedules to be released closer to the festival.

Friday, October 9 from 6:00-10:00pm
Saturday, October 10 from 12:00-8:00pm
Sunday, October 11 from 12:00-8:00pm

  • VISIT, the Richmond Folk Festival’s Facebook page, and the Richmond Folk Festival on YouTube to livestream the event.
  • WATCH All Together Now, a special television program celebrating Virginia artists, to be aired on VPM PBS Plus Channel 57.1 WCVW digital HD transmitters for festival coverage on Saturday, October 10 and Sunday, October 11.
  • LISTEN to Richmond public radio stations, VPM News (88.9 FM) and VPM Music (107.3 FM & 93.1 FM), for festival coverage on Friday, October 9, Saturday, October 10, and Sunday, October 11.

“We’re thrilled to present an incredibly robust weekend of programming and activities for the whole family so that everyone can still get that Folk Fest feeling,” said Stephen Lecky, Venture Richmond Director of Events. “The excitement from our community partners, performers, incredible volunteers and sponsors has been amazing.”

More artist announcements and additional details will be released throughout the summer. For more information about the Richmond Folk Festival, visit #RVAFolkFest  –  Text to Give! Text FOLK to 44321

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Dave Pearson is based out of Richmond, VA by way of Hayward, WI. He has long had a passion for music. Growing up in rural Wisconsin, he rocked out to the likes of Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, and The Lettermen. Then, one Saturday night, being the rebel he was born to be, he caught an Alice Cooper interview (it may have been on The Midnight Special) and saw him perform, “Welcome to My Nightmare”. Dave was hooked on Rock and Roll (and many other genres as well). Dave has enjoyed (amateur) photography to some degree most of his adult life. Recently Dave started to apply his event photography skills in various music settings with success. He finds that photographing a performance gives him a much greater appreciation for the artist.