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Virginia Folklife Program to Celebrate Youth “Tradition Bearers” and the Masters Who Taught Them

For Immediate Release                                                                
July 7, 2015
Press contact: Kelly Vance                                                  


RICHMOND, Va. – Fans of the Richmond Folk Festival may notice a bit of a younger vibe at the Virginia Folklife Area this year. While the Virginia Folklife Program will continue to celebrate longstanding masters, the 2015 theme, “Youth Will Be Served,” spotlights a younger generation faithful to their traditions while infusing them with their own spirit.


“Some of these artists were raised up in these traditions; others have come to them more recently, in the hope of reviving and preserving traditional ways of life in an increasingly digital age,” said State Folklorist Jon Lohman.


The line-up includes a wide array of artists, including jaw-dropping pickers from the hills of Southwest Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, awe-inspiring singers from Virginia’s churches and places of worship and energetic dancers from around the globe who keep their traditions thriving in Virginia.
The 2015 Virginia Folklife Stage Performers include:

  • Anhayla (R&B)
  • Ash Breeze (Bluegrass/Country)
  • Bud’s Collective (Bluegrass)
  • The Church Sisters (Bluegrass Gospel)
  • Close Kin (Youth Old-Time/Bluegrass Project)
  • Danny Knicely (Bluegrass and Old-Time Multi-Instrumentalist)
  • Frank Newsome (Old Regular Baptist a cappella Gospel)
  • Harold Mitchell  (Instrument-Contest Emcee)
  • Johnny and Jeanette Williams (Bluegrass)
  • The Ingramettes, in loving memory of Maggie Ingram (Gospel)
  • Sammy Shelor (Bluegrass Banjo)
  • Washington Balalaika Society Orchestra, feat. Andrei Saveliev and Aaron Mott (Russian Folk Music)
  • Wayne Henderson  (Luthier and Guitar Player and Maker)
  • Zion’s Voice Community Youth Choir (Gospel)

The crafts demonstration area will feature many young tradition bearers upholding time-
honored crafts, from furniture making and instrument building to more underground activities, such as making good old mountain moonshine.

Craft Area Demonstrators include:

  • Guitar and Fiddle Making with Jackson Cunningham
  • Traditional Chair Making with Sean “Purl” Samoheyl
  • Mongolian Dance and Mask Making with Gankhuyag Natsag and Zana Gankhuyag
  • Moonshine Still Demonstration with Jimmy and Jared Boyd
  • Oyster Shucking with Shucking Champions Deborah Pratt and Clementine Macon Boyd
  • Salt Making with Jim and Baron Bordwine
  • Traditional and Historic Photography with Richard Pippin and Melissa Jones

Additional Virginia Folklife artists and performers will be announced later this summer.
The Virginia Folklife Program, a public program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, is the state center for the documentation, presentation, and support of Virginia’s rich cultural heritage.
The Virginia Folklife Area is co-sponsored by Union Bank and Trust and University of Richmond. Other sponsors of the festival include Altria, Dominion, The Community Foundation, CarMax, Genworth, the Richmond Times­ Dispatch/, MWV, New Market Corporation, VCU and VCU Health System, and Loveland.

In its 11th year, the Richmond Folk Festival remains the most popular event of its kind in the country. The three-day festival is free to the public and draws upwards of 100,000 people to the downtown Richmond riverfront annually. To learn more 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 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 of Richmond, a folk art marketplace, regional and ethnic foods, festival merchandise and more. More information is available at

About Venture Richmond

The Festival is produced by Venture Richmond, in a continuing partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), the City of Richmond, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the National Park Service, The American Civil War Center, and the Children’s Museum of 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 also produces such long-standing and signature community events as Easter on Parade, Friday Cheers, RVA Fireworks on the James, and the 2nd Street Festival, and partners with the Richmond Sportsbackers to co-produce Dominion Riverrock. 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

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