Richmond Folk Festival goes virtual Friday-Sunday | Here’s how to watch

Richmond Folk Festival

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Richmond Folk Festival will celebrate virtually in place of the 16th annual event that generally attracts tens of thousands to Brown’s Island.

The festival is slated for Oct. 9-11 and will include a television program, radio broadcasts and online streaming.

“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.”

Venture Richmond Events, which produces the folk festival, will present new performances, highlights from years past, a riverfront art installation featuring an interactive community sculpture and more. The nonprofit decided to cancel the in-person components of the 2nd Street and Folk festivals.

The art installation will be placed on Brown’s Island as a part of an activity called, “Together Apart” by Kevin Orlosky, which illustrates our similarities as well as the unique ways we are dealing with this pandemic and communicate the ways we can still connect together while we are apart from each other. Orlosky will be using the imagery of a hand for the interactive community sculpture.

Participants can become a part of the sculpture by painting a rock at home that represents something you miss, mourn, or are excited to experience again after the period of social isolation ends. Bring your rock to Brown’s Island and place your rock on the black fabric inside the contours of the rock perimeter.

Anyone else sad about not being able to experiences the Richmond Folk Festival in person this year? There are so many...

Posted by Kevin Orlosky Art on Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Images of the daily progress will be shared on Kevin Orlosky’s Facebook and Instagram feeds. The installation will end on Oct. 16.

Additional artists that will be featured in new musical performances are:

  • Eileen Ivers (Irish fiddle) Bronx, New York
  • Jason Samuels Smith & the Winard Harper Trio (tap dance) New York, New York
  • Martha & Emily Spencer (old-time) Whitetop, Virginia
  • Mythili Prakash Dance Ensemble (Bharata Natyam) Los Angeles, California
  • Pedrito Martinez (Afro-Cuban) New York, New York
  • Ann Yao (Chinese guzheng), Orlando, Florida
  • The Campbell Brothers (sacred steel guitar), Rochester, New York
  • Don Bryant (Memphis soul), Memphis, Tennessee
  • Jasmine Bell & North Bear (Lakota hoop dance and Northern Plains drum), Riverton, Wyoming
  • Pine Leaf Boys (Cajun), Lafayette, Louisiana

Each year, Virginia Folklife Stage showcases some of Virginia’s finest artisans and chefs.

Frances Davis will be teaching how to make delicious fried dried apple pies, Mary Stewart shares her Tangier Island crab bisque recipe, sisters Clementine Macon and Deborah Pratt from Middlesex renew their rivalry in the fourth year of the Oyster Shucking Smackdown series and learn how to make traditional baklava with Sondus Moussa.

The festival’s Craft Marketplace features artisans selling handcrafted and traditional items ranging from jewelry, specialty goods and original artwork.

Guests can still enjoy shopping from over 25 favorite festival merchants. To shop online, click here.

Specific schedules will be released closer to the festival, but the time frames are:

Friday, Oct. 9 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

  • Dr. Michael White & the Original Liberty Jazz Band (traditional New Orleans jazz) 2012
  • The Alt (Irish) 2015
  • Maggie Ingram & the Ingramettes (gospel) 2007
  • AltaiKAI (Altai throat-singing and traditional music) 2006
  • Bombino (Tuareg guitar) 2019

Saturday, Oct. 10 from 1:30 - 5:45 p.m.

  • Jeff Little Trio (Blue Ridge piano) 2018
  • Nathalie Pires (fado) 2013
  • Le Vent du Nord (Québécois) 2014
  • Debashish Bhattacharya & Family (Indian slide guitar) 2014
  • Joshua Nelson (kosher gospel) 2012
  • Lulo Reinhardt & Daniel Stelter (Gypsy jazz) 2018
  • Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino (Southern Italian pizzica tarantata) 2016
  • Marcia Ball (Gulf Coast boogie-woogie piano) 2005

Sunday, Oct. 11 from 2 - 6 p.m.

  • Virginia Sacred Singing feat.
  • Frank Newsome (Old Regular Baptist hymns) 2007
  • The Paschall Brothers (a cappella gospel quartet) 2005
  • Andes Manta (Andean) 2010
  • Dale Ann Bradley (bluegrass) 2017
  • Lurrie Bell (Chicago blues) 2013
  • Amargue Bachata Quintet with Andre Veloz (Dominican bachata) 2015
  • Ahava Raba (klezmer & cantorial) 2015
  • Sona Jobarteh (Manding griot) 2018
  • Clinton Fearon (Jamaican reggae) 2009

For more information, visit and the Richmond Folk Festival’s Facebook page.

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