The Richmond Folk Festival is now one of Virginia’s largest and most anticipated events of the year. The Festival strives to present the very finest traditional artists from across the nation. In making its selections, a local Programming Committee is guided by the following definition, which is the guide for the National Council for Traditional Arts and the National Folk Festival, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts:

FOLK & TRADITIONAL ARTS – a definition
The folk and traditional arts are rooted in and reflective of the cultural life of a community. Community members may share a common ethnic heritage, language, religion, occupation, or geographic region. These vital and constantly reinvigorated artistic traditions are shaped by values and standards of excellence that are passed from generation to generation, most often within family and community, through demonstration, conversation, and practice. Genres of artistic activity include, but are not limited to, music, dance, crafts, and oral expression.
- National Endowment for the Arts

All programming decisions have been completed for the 2015 festival. If you're interested in applying for the 2016 festival, check out "How to be a performer at the Richmond Folk Festival"

Performers for the 2015 Richmond Folk Festival

Announcing our first set of artists

The Alt

New York, North Carolina, and Scotland

Three masters of Irish music have joined forces to celebrate the beautiful old songs that constitute the core of the tradition. John Doyle, Nuala Kennedy, and Eamon O’Leary – virtuoso musicians and fine singers with huge repertoires of songs and tunes who could travel in any number of musical directions – have together returned to the trusted and timeless. MORE


The Bruce Daigrenpont Cajun Band

New Orleans and Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana

Bruce Daigrepont is a gifted singer, master accordionist and composer of songs that have already become classics, not only within the Cajun tradition but in Canada’s French-speaking Maritime Provinces. MORE


The Campbell Brothers

sacred steel guitar (African American gospel)
Rochester, New York

The joy and spirit of African American Holiness-Pentacostal worship services in House of God churches are fueled by the ecstatic sounds of the “sacred steel” guitar. This unique musical tradition, rarely heard outside the church before the early 1990s, has since captivated the ears of the nation and world. Among the finest ambassadors of sacred steel are the Campbell Brothers. MORE


Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass

Delaware and Pennsylvania

Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass is a hard-driving, hot-as-a-firecracker bluegrass band with a sound rooted deep in the mountains of southwest Virginia and northwest North Carolina. MORE


Deacon John's Jump Blues

jump blues
New Orleans, Louisiana

During a career that spans more than half a century, Deacon John Moore has endured as one of the Crescent City’s most talented, adaptive and beloved performers, and one of its most in-demand bandleaders. MORE


Ensemble Shanbehzadeh

Afro-Persian music and dance
Paris, France

Led by the amazing Saeid Shanbezadeh, Ensemble Shanbehzadeh performs the trance-inducing rhythms, songs and dances of Bushehr, offering a rare glimpse of a fascinating, little-known musical tradition from the Persian Gulf. MORE


Grupo Rebolú

New York, New York

Grupo Rebolú, the only Afro-Colombian ensemble of its kind in the United States, brings rich, rhythmic and eminently danceable music from Colombia’s Caribbean coast to this year’s festival. MORE


Shemekia Copeland

Chicago, Illinois

When Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer first saw a teenaged Shemekia Copeland perform, he predicted, “I think she will be the next great female blues singer. … The blues world has been waiting for someone like Shemekia for a long time.” MORE

Richmond Folk Festival In The Schools

Through the generous support of its sponsors, the Richmond Folk Festival will fill Richmond city school auditoriums and classrooms with performances and presentations of deeply-rooted cultural expressions.

The week prior to the festival master musicians and artists will visit several public schools. Together, the artists and students share music, song, craft, stories and memories that will last a lifetime.