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Folk Festival offers something for everyone


For its 75th anniversary, the National Folk Festival will feature 300 artists on seven stages in downtown Greensboro from September 11 – 13. The three-day festival is free to the public.

“The festival is such an embarrassment of riches,” said Julia Olin, executive director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), which is co-producing the festival with ArtsGreensboro. “It really does offer something for everyone. If what you see on one stage is not to your taste, you can just move to another and experience something entirely different.”

More than 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. “The local Programming Advisory Committee provided deep insights into the Triad and North Carolina cultural communities,” Olin continued. “Their thoughtful input was an invaluable addition to the festival programming process.”

Tom Philion, president and CEO of ArtsGreensboro, said, “Nearly half of the artists we’re announcing are from North Carolina. They will shine a bright light on the cultural richness of our state and give audiences a sense of North Carolina’s strong cultural heritage. We look forward to National Folk Festival audiences exploring all 40 performers’ unique musical, artistic, and cultural traditions as the festival celebrates its 75th anniversary in Greensboro—its first time ever in North Carolina.”

Philion added, “The National Folk Festival is a statewide celebration of North Carolina and American heritage. And—because of the passion and commitment of our sponsors and partners, including the City of Greensboro and local and statewide foundations—the festival is taking place in Greensboro.”

Approximately 300 artists—musicians, dancers, puppeteers, storytellers, potters, and craftspeople—will appear during the 75th National Folk Festival, with 40 different groups performing on seven outdoor stages throughout downtown Greensboro.

The festival will kick off with the Jeff Little Trio at 5:45 p.m on Friday, September 11, at the Wrangler Stage (North Elm Street at Lindsay). At 6:30 p.m., the Opening Parade, sponsored by Bank of America and featuring the North Carolina A&T State University Drumline, the Guilford Courthouse Fife and Drum Corps, performers, and the public, will march from the Wrangler Stage to the Belk Stage on Market Street (between Davie and Church). At 7 p.m., Festival organizers will officially open the Festival. From 7:15 to 10:30 p.m., the Festival’s four lit stages—the Belk Stage, the Wrangler Stage, the Church Street Stage, and the Dance Pavilion—will be in full swing.

Beginning at noon on Saturday, September 12, all seven outdoor stages—plus Center City Park and the North Carolina Folklife Demonstration Area, presented by the N.C. Arts Council and featuring pottery traditions—will provide non-stop entertainment. The Wells Fargo Family Area and the McDonald’s Family Stage will host activities and performers until 5 p.m. The North Carolina Traditions Stage, presented by the N.C. Arts Council, and the Lawn Stage, sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, will host performances until 7 p.m. The four lit stages will be up and running until 10 or 10:30 p.m.

All venues will be operating starting at noon on Sunday, September 13. Activities at the N.C. Folklife Demonstration Area will end around 4:40 p.m., with performances on the McDonald’s Family Stage ending at 5 p.m. Final performances on the other stages will end between 5:15 and 6:30 p.m.

Special Fabric of Freedom performances, events, and exhibits showcasing Greensboro’s unique history as a catalyst for social change since the American Revolution will be presented on several stages and at both the Greensboro Historical Museum and the International Civil Rights Center & Museum.

The North Carolina Arts Marketplace, sponsored by PNC Bank, and food and merchandise vendors will open at 5 p.m. on Friday evening, September 11, and at 11 am on Saturday and Sunday, September 12 and 13.

To see the complete schedule, visit