The National Folk Festival announced today the first group of artists who will be performing in downtown Greensboro from September 8 – 10, 2017. The 77th National Folk Festival in 2017 marks the event’s third year of its three-year residency in Greensboro. Based on the success of the National Folk Festival, a feasibility study is currently underway toward launching a legacy North Carolina Folk Festival in 2018.
Last fall, the 76th National Folk Festival attracted more than 138,000 attendees to downtown Greensboro for the FREE, three-day weekend. “In just two years, we’ve watched the National Folk Festival grow to become one of North Carolina’s largest annual events,” said Tom Philion, President and CEO of ArtsGreensboro which co-produces the event. “We are excited about what this third year will bring, as we look at creating a permanent legacy festival here for North Carolinians and the region.”
Approximately 300 artists—musicians, dancers, storytellers, and craftspeople—will take part in the National Folk Festival, with more than 30 different musical groups performing on as many as seven outdoor performance venues throughout downtown Greensboro. The eight artists announced today include:
- Dale Ann Bradley – bluegrass: Raised in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, this daughter of a Primitive Baptist minister and coal miner transports listeners with her shimmering voice and personal songwriting.
- Feedel Band – Ethiojazz: At the forefront of D.C.’s thriving Ethiopian music scene, this exciting band delivers a hypnotic musical fusion of traditional Ethiopian modal melodies with jazz and funk.
- Marshall Ford Swing Band – western swing: With tasty guitar runs, playful vocals, and rock-solid rhythm, this spirited young band channels the breezy spirit of classic western swing.
- Mary Jane Lamond & Wendy MacIsaac – Cape Breton song and fiddle: Two undisputed Cape Breton stars share the island’s achingly beautiful Gaelic songs and exuberant fiddle and dance traditions.
- Sri Lankan Dance Academy of NY – traditional Sri Lankan dance: Staten Island’s vibrant Sri Lankan community is home to this accomplished ensemble that is introducing the nation to the fascinating traditions of Kandyan dance.
- The Beat[ box ] Goes On: Rahzel, Nicole Paris and Ed Cage – beatbox: The head-turning vocal abilities of Rahzel, Nicole Paris and Ed Cage have redefined the possibilities of human voice. Born in New York City’s working-class African American communities in the late 1970s, beatboxing is a form of vocal percussion considered the “fifth element” of hip hop culture.
- The Fairfield Four – African American a cappella gospel: Celebrating 96 years of bringing the gospel message to audiences worldwide, this venerable Nashville-based a cappella quartet is a national treasure.
- Tremé Brass Band – New Orleans brass band: From the storied Tremé neighborhood, and firmly rooted in community parade traditions, one of the Crescent City’s most beloved brass bands.
Over 40 people of different backgrounds—and with a deep knowledge of traditional music and art forms—came together from across North Carolina to serve as the local Festival Programming Advisory Committee. This committee’s role is to consider—and help the National Council for the Traditional Arts select—the artists who will perform at the National Folk Festival each year.
“It’s really stimulating to work with such an engaged and knowledgeable local committee. Once again, we’ve created an entirely new lineup of outstanding performers from across our nation. ,” said Julia Olin, Executive Director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts. “It will be a glorious weekend of music, song and dance of dizzying variety, and so much more – with some surprises, too.” ”
To learn more about these artists and their stories, please visit nationalfolkfestival.com/performers. The National Folk Festival will feature individual artists on its Facebook page (facebook.com/NationalFolkFestivalNC), Twitter (twitter.com/NtlFolkFestNC), and Instagram (instagram.com/nationalfolkfestnc) throughout the rest of February.
More performers will be announced as they are confirmed.