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North Carolina Traditions Stage and Folklife Area Announced

North Carolina Traditions Stage and Folklife Area Announced

Secretary Susan Kluttz Announces 75th National Folk Festival’s N.C. Traditions Stage Performers—Including Sheila Kay Adams, Bobby Hicks, and John Dee Holeman—As Well As N.C. Folklife Area Potters

Greensboro, N.C. (August 11, 2015) — Masters of traditional music, including Sheila Kay Adams, Bobby Hicks and John Dee Holeman, will perform at the North Carolina Traditions Stage during the National Folk Festival, presented by Belk, next month in Greensboro, officials announced today.

Legacies of Song and Fire, the name of the North Carolina stage and exhibition area, will feature approximately 11 musical performances and 14 potters from across the state during the free festival. The North Carolina section will open Saturday, September 12, at noon and will end Sunday, September 13, at 6 pm in downtown Greensboro.

“The National Folk Festival in Greensboro is not only a celebration of artistry from around the nation but an event that reinforces North Carolina’s reputation as a state that recognizes and celebrates its cultural heritage,” said Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz.

Legacies of Song and Fire is a rare opportunity for our citizens to experience a variety of traditions from Cherokee dance and North Carolina gospel singing to blues, bluegrass, rhythm and blues, and Appalachian old-time music,” Secretary Kluttz continued.

Wayne Martin, Executive Director – N.C. Arts Council; Tom Philion, President and CEO – ArtsGreensboro; and Julia Olin, Executive Director – National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) were also on hand for today’s announcement at the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro.

Andy Edmonds of the Buckstankle Boys and Seagrove potter Sid Luck also attended. Both will participate in Legacies of Song and Fire, curated by N.C. Folklife Director Sally Peterson and consultants Paul Brown and Brendan Greaves.

The lineup on Saturday, September 12, and Sunday, September 13, includes:

  • Jeff Little Trio, a Blue Ridge Mountains piano playing trio.
  • A Bascom Lamar Lunsford Tribute, featuring:
    • Buckstankle Boys, old-time and bluegrass musicians influenced by the legendary musicians of Surry County.
    • National Heritage Fellowship recipient, Sheila Kay Adams, a seventh-generation ballad singer, storyteller and musician from Madison County.
    • Todd Family Dancers, Marsha and Marty Todd of Mount Airy, who are accomplished flatfoot and clogging dancers.
  • Warriors of AniKituhwa, the official cultural ambassadors of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, will perform ceremonial dances.
  • The Monitors, an Eastern North Carolina R&B, soul, jazz and gospel band featuring founder Bill Myers, who is also a N.C. Heritage award recipient. This group has entertained audiences for almost 60 years.
  • Bobby Hicks, of Madison County, a fiddle innovator with more than 10 Grammy nominations and a recipient of the N.C. Heritage Award.
  • John Dee Holeman, one of the most renowned and respected Piedmont blues artists in the state and nation. John Dee will be accompanied by buck dancer Williette Hinton, James “Bubba Norwood” on drums, Tad Walters on harmonica, and Harvey Dalton Arnold on bass.
  • Welch Family Singers of the community of Snowbird in Graham County, will join Sheila Kay Adams and the Buckstankle Boys for Western Carolina Sacred Traditions. The Welch Family sings gospel in English and Cherokee and carry on a 200-year-old tradition of Christian music among the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
  • The Branchettes, with Lena Mae Perry and Wilbur Tharpe, outstanding North Carolina performers of African American congregational hymn singing with traditional piano accompaniment.
  • Ticklin’ the Ivories workshop will feature piano traditions of the dynamic Bill Myers of the Monitors, Wilbur Tharpe of the Branchettes, and Jeff Little of the Jeff Little Trio; the musicians will compare and contrast Appalachian and African American keyboard traditions.

In addition to the onstage performers, 14 potters, including Ben Owen and Sid Luck from Seagrove and Joel Queen from Cherokee, will exhibit their pottery and conduct pottery demonstrations in the N.C. Folklife Area at the National Folk Festival.

North Carolina is renowned as the home of what many ceramic artists, scholars, and collectors acclaim as the most vital, diverse, and longest pottery traditions in the United States.

North Carolina’s traditional potters incorporate global influences and appeal to an international market of collectors, galleries, and museums, while retaining powerful connections to family, place, and function. Potters include:

  • Steve Abee (Lenoir, N.C.)
  • Chad Brown (Esther, N.C.)
  • Josh Floyd (Seagrove, N.C.)
  • David Garner (Seagrove, N.C.)
  • Anna and Crystal King (Seagrove, N.C.)
  • Sid and Jason Luck (Seagrove, N.C.)
  • Senora Lynch (Warrenton, N.C.)
  • Tara McCoy (Cherokee, N.C.)
  • Ben Owen III (Seagrove, N.C.)
  • Boyd Owens and Nancy Owens Brewer (Seagrove, N.C.)
  • Hal and Eleanor Pugh (Randleman, N.C.)
  • Caroleen Sanders (Concord, N.C.)
  • Joel Queen (Cherokee, N.C.)

The National Folk Festival will feature approximately 300 artists—musicians, dancers, puppeteers, storytellers, and craftspeople—with more than 30 individuals and groups performing on seven outdoor performance venues throughout downtown Greensboro. The three-day Festival is FREE to the public.

For more information on Legacies of Song and Fire, visit:


For more information on the National Folk Festival visit NationalFolkFestival.com


About the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources: Cultural Resources is all about what’s happening today in the arts and music, and also about what’s happened in the past to get us here. The Department is home to 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the N.C. Museum of Art, the N.C. Museum of History, the State Archives, the State Preservation Office, State Archaeology, the State Library, and the N.C. Arts Council. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, the Department’s mission is to improve the quality of life in North Carolina by creating opportunities that promote economic development, stimulate learning, preserve the state’s history, and spark creativity to experience excellence in the arts, history, and libraries. Our organization was the first in the nation to include all state agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella. ncdcr.gov

About the N.C. Arts Council: North Carolina has long been recognized for rich traditions in crafts, literature, historical drama, and music. Since 1964, when it was created by Governor Terry Sanford, the N.C. Arts Council has worked to strengthen North Carolina’s creativity, invention, and prosperity through its four core functions: creating a strong and efficient arts infrastructure across North Carolina; planning and implementing economic development initiatives; educating our young people; and researching the impact of the arts on our state. ncarts.org 

About the 2015 National Folk Festival: Co-produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) and ArtsGreensboro, the National Folk Festival is beginning its three-year residency in downtown Greensboro this year, when it will celebrate its 75th anniversary from September 11 – 13, 2015. The FREE, three-day event is America’s longest-running festival of traditional arts; it will highlight both long-standing traditions and the heritage and culture of North Carolina’s newest immigrant groups, and set the stage for a continuing and permanent North Carolina Folk Festival, beginning in 2018, after the “National” moves on.

Belk is the presenting sponsor of the 2015 Festival. With downtown Greensboro as the backdrop, audiences will enjoy seven stages featuring continuous musical entertainment—from rockabilly to old-time to mariachi, and from funk to Cajun to jazz. Attendees will also be able to dance non-stop to a variety of musical genres at the dance pavilion; dine on regional and ethnic foods; experience folk art demonstrations and performances by N.C. artists; and share the fun of the Family Activities Area with their children. nationalfolkfestival.com

About the National Folk Festival: Since it was first presented in St. Louis in 1934, the National Folk Festival has celebrated the roots, richness, and variety of American culture. Championed in its early years by Eleanor Roosevelt, it was the first event of national stature to present the arts of many nations, races, and languages on equal footing. 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. An exuberant traveling festival that embraces the diverse cultural expressions of the American people in the 21st century, the National Folk Festival is FREE to the public, and is produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) in partnership with communities around the country.

About the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA): The National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) is one of the nation’s premier non-profit cultural organizations dedicated to the presentation and documentation of folk, tribal, and ethnic arts in the United States. Founded in 1933, it is the nation’s oldest producing and presenting organization with such a focus. Its programs celebrate and honor deeply rooted cultural expressions—music, crafts, stories, and dance passed on through time by families and communities as well as by tribal, ethnic, and occupational groups. The NCTA stresses excellence and authenticity in presenting artists to the public in festivals, tours, concerts, media programs, exhibitions, recordings, and other activities, and works in partnership with communities across American to establish new, sustainable traditional arts events that bring lasting social, cultural, and economic benefits. ncta-usa.org

About ArtsGreensboro: With an annual budget of approximately $4 million, ArtsGreensboro is a catalyst for innovation to build recognition and support for the arts. Through the 17DAYS Arts & Culture Festival, I HEART ARTS Month, power2give, and other initiatives such as the National Folk Festival, ArtsGreensboro is driving the health and vitality of our community by supporting arts education, celebrating the diversity of Greensboro, and driving economic impact through excellence in arts programming. www.artsgreensboro.org