SALISBURY – Officials with the National Folk Festival this week announced the first group of artists who will perform in Salisbury later this year.
From Sept. 7-9, the city will host its first of three National Folk Festivals downtown. The free event, produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), will feature seven stages with continuous performances, crafts, food and more.
On Tuesday, officials with the National Folk Festival announced that eight artists – Clinton Fearon, Imamvar Hasanov & Abbos Kosimov, Mariachi Los Camperos, Marquise Knox, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Orquesta SCC, The Quebe Sisters and Sounds of Korea – will be among the 350 musicians, dancers, storytellers and craftspeople who will take part in this year’s event.
Their performances will feature various music and dance genres, including blues, reggae, bluegrass, salsa dura, mariachi, Korean, and more.
A local Musical Programming Advisory Committee – comprised of more than 12 community members with knowledge of music and art forms – was formed to help the NCTA select artists for the festival. More performances will be announced as they are confirmed.
Tuesday’s announcement was just one of many updates provided by officials from the National Folk Festival this week.
Also on Tuesday, Caroline O’Hare, local manager for the National Folk Festival, shared with the Wicomico County Council ongoing efforts to further prepare for the event.
In addition to working with city officials and various agencies to provide parking and transportation for the event, O’Hare said officials with the National Folk Festival also hosted an informational meeting with downtown businesses in recent weeks. She added they will also reach out to the county’s emergency management officials in the near future.
“I know we still need to bring other people into that fold and that will happen,” she said.
Councilman Joe Holloway questioned how the city would be able to accommodate the large festival without inconveniencing its citizens. Officials with the National Folk Festival report the event will draw between 60,000 and 80,000 people its first year and nearly 150,000 by its third year.
“My concern is the safety of our citizens and the inconvenience it will cause to a lot of our citizens …,” he said. “Will we be able to handle that?”
O’Hare assured the council the downtown area could accommodate the festival.
“People will come and go at different times …,” she said. “I do not believe there will be 80,000 (people) all at the same time.”
Holloway also questioned who would pay for the services provided by the county, as well as the festival’s impact on the county budget.
O’Hare said officials with the city and the National Folk Festival would provide the county with more definitive plans and numbers by mid-March, but would not say who would pay for the services.
“It’s free to attend, not free to put on,” she said.
The 78th National Folk Festival in 2018 marks the first year of the event’s three-year residency in Salisbury. As part of its agreement with the National Folk Festival, Salisbury will continue to host a legacy festival of equal or larger size in perpetuity after the third year.
Additional information on the performers who were announced this week can be found at nationalfolkfestival.com/performers. The National Folk Festival will also feature individual artists on its social media accounts.