National Folk Festival Announces First Slate Of Performers

SALISBURY – Officials with the National Folk Festival have announced the first group of artists who will perform in Salisbury later this year.

The 80th National Folk Festival will return to downtown Salisbury Sept. 11-13.  The festival – a free, outdoor event produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) – celebrates arts, culture and heritage through live performances, workshops, demonstrations, children’s activities and more. This year marks the last year of a three-year residency in Salisbury.

“The festival is the national showcase for the finest traditional artists here in the United States and North America,” NCTA Associate Director Blaine Waide said. “They come and represent the cultural communities that they are a part of in their daily lives and the traditions and heritage that they carry forward.”

This year, Grupo Rebolú, Héctor Del Curto’s Tango Quartet, Petroloukas Halkias & Vasilis Kostas, Shemekia Copeland, the Sri Lankan Dance Academy of New York, The Alt, Walter “Wolfman” Washington & the Roadmasters, and Wylie & the Wild West will join the hundreds of musicians, dancers, storytellers and craftspeople representing the national’s traditional arts.

“I am so excited about these artists,” said Caroline O’Hare, local manager for the National Folk Festival. “They are amazing and will blow everyone away.”

Over a dozen people of different backgrounds, and with a deep knowledge of music and art forms, came together from across Delmarva to serve as the local Musical Programming Advisory Committee, which considers, and helps the NCTA select, the artists who will perform at the National Folk Festival each year.

Music and dance traditions from every part of the country will be represented at this year’s festival, including blues, rockabilly, gospel, jazz, polka, tamburitza, cowboy, bluegrass, klezmer, R&B, old-time, Cajun, rhythm and blues, mariachi, beatbox, breakin’, western swing, honky-tonk and zydeco, as well as traditional music and dance from Native American, Celtic, Acadian, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, East Asian, Appalachian, Latino, Eastern European, West African, and Pacific Island cultures, among others.

Approximately 350 artists will take part in the National Folk Festival, with more than 35 different musical groups performing on 7 outdoor stages throughout downtown Salisbury.

“We are excited to be together for our third year here in partnership with the fine people of the City of Salisbury,” NCTA Executive Director Lora Bottinelli said, “from Mayor Jake Day to the thousands of volunteers and community members who have worked to ensure the success of the festival and enjoy the many benefits of the festival that have come to this community.”

Day noted that last year’s festival attracted more than 150,000 attendees over the course of a weekend and generated more than $50 million in total economic impact. He said event organizers are busy preparing for another successful festival.

“Today we are here to talk about the first eight of many artists to perform at the National Folk Festival,” he said. “It just goes to show you that events of this scale aren’t just put together in the weeks leading up to the performance. These are events that take years to plan and all year to get exactly right.”

Festival organizers also revealed the theme for this year’s Maryland Folklife Area & Stage, “Mountain Maryland,” which will explore western Maryland’s rich cultural landscape.

For more information on this year’s performers, visit

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.