The annual North Carolina Folk Festival carries forward the artistic excellence and folk traditions of the hugely successful 3-year residency of the National Folk Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina. The NC Folk Fest continues the legacy of the National, celebrating the roots, richness and diversity of American culture through music, dance, traditional crafts and food.
The North Carolina Folk Festival takes place September 6-8, 2019 and features more than 300 artists on multiple stages, with continuous music and dance performances, along with a North Carolina Folklife area, children’s activities, a makers marketplace, regional and ethnic foods and more. The FREE three-day festival is one of the fastest growing events in the Southeast, drawing visitors from across the country.
The North Carolina Folk Festival is an offshoot of The National Folk Festival which has been held in 28 communities around the country and spent three years in downtown Greensboro from 2015 through 2017.
Background on the National Folk Festival: An exuberant traveling festival that celebrates the diverse cultural expressions of 21st-century Americans, the National Folk Festival is produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) in partnership with communities around the country. In 2017, the National celebrated its 77th anniversary in Greensboro, North Carolina. Since it was first presented in St. Louis in 1934, the National has celebrated the roots, richness, and variety of American culture. Championed in its early years by Eleanor Roosevelt, the Festival was the first event of national stature to present the arts of many nations, races, and languages on equal footing. Some of the artists presented at the first festival are now legendary and the recordings and other documentation made possible by the National are precious. “Father of the Blues” W.C. Handy’s first performance on a desegregated stage was at the 1938 National. It was also the first to present to the public musical forms such as the blues, Cajun music, polka bands, Tex-Mex conjunto, Peking Opera, and many others. The National’s three-year stay in each host city is intended to lay the groundwork for a sustainable, locally produced festival that continues after it moves on. Including Greensboro—where the Festival was in residence from 2015 through 2017—the National Folk Festival has been presented in 28 cities. Musicians and craftspeople from every state and most U.S. territories have participated in this “moveable feast of deeply traditional folk arts.” Presented to audiences free of charge over three days, National Folk Festivals have drawn audiences of 100,000 to 175,000 annually since 1987.