The Richmond Folk Festival announced 12 more performers on tap for the three-day free music held on Richmond’s riverfront in October.
In honor of the festival’s 15th anniversary, organizers will bring back several crowd-pleasing styles of music, such as Cajun, Irish, throat-singing and gospel brass “shout bands.”
But the festival will also bring new styles of music to town, such as a steel pan band from Brooklyn and Syrian whirling dervish dance.
“We’ve wanted a big steel drum group for years,” Stephen Lecky, music director of the festival, said. “CASYM is going to be amazing. They are a huge steel pan group from New York with lots of young people.”
Syrian music will be represented for the first time at the festival with the Aleppo Ensemble, a New York-based group that will perform Aleppian wasla music.
Fans of the legendary Stax record label will want to take note of the Stax Music Academy Alumni Band who will be performing Memphis soul.
Other performers announced in the second wave of artists include balafan masters Balla Kouyaté & Mamadou Diabaté, the Afro-Cuban group Conjunto Guantanamo, Scottish singer Julie Fowlis, gospel brass “shout band” Mangum & Company and Native-American dancers in full regalia.
“We are showcasing some of the finest up-and-coming performers this year,” Lecky said.
Last year, over 210,000 fans turned out to the festival. The Richmond Folk Festival is free to attend but relies heavily on volunteers to help run the event. Roughly 1,300 volunteers are needed to run the festival.
This year, the festival will be offering a “beer and bucket” volunteer challenge, where volunteers who sign up in groups of four or more will get extra perks like free merchandise and free parking.
The Richmond Folk Festival will be held Oct. 11-13 on Richmond’s riverfront.