The Richmond Folk Festival is in the DNA of the Center for Cultural Vibrancy. The 2022 Festival was one of the most successful ever, drawing an audience of more than 230,000 people who were treated to a weekend of sunny skies, incredible traditional music and crafts, and a sense of community and togetherness that few other events can match.
We produced and sponsored the Center for Cultural Vibrancy Virginia Folklife Stage which featured 11 different performances showcasing regional traditional music styles from bluegrass and Appalachian music to gospel, blues, and bomba. Additionally, we worked closely with the Virginia Folklife Program to produce a material cultural demonstration area with a focus on Virginia’s instrument makers.
In our efforts to foster cross-cultural collaboration and connections, we highlighted several Latin American and bluegrass fusion projects, including Richmond Folk Festival favorite multi-instrumentalist Danny Knicely joining Bolivian master musicians Mario and Jose Oretea and regional acoustic bass legend Ralph Gordon to form their groundbreaking ensemble Ouros, and a powerful duet between Venezuelan Llanera musician Larry Bellorín and multi-instrumentalist and social activist Joe Troop.
Performing for the first time at the Richmond Folk Festival were Richmond-based gospel quartet Ken Heath and the True Disciples, Northern Virginia-based Carnatic violin virtuoso Kamalakirin Vinjamuri, Richmond’s own acoustic blues duo Andrew Alli and Josh Small, and Scott Miller, one of Virginia’s finest songwriters and performers.
CCV Virginia Folklife Stage Favorites
Finally, we honored and celebrated our beloved oyster shucking sisters who have brought us so much joy over the years, Deborah Pratt and Clementine Macon Boyd.
And of course, it wouldn’t be the Richmond Folk Festival without our Sunday closing set by Richmond’s first family of gospel, the Legendary Ingramettes, who celebrated their recent honor of receiving the NEA’s 2022 National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor that the United States bestows on traditional artists.
Twenty Years of Virginia Folklife Apprenticeships
Finally, 2022 marked the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program, originally created by CCV’s Executive Director Jon Lohman. The program supports the continuation of living traditions by giving direct support and a public platform to artists. The Virginia Folklife program marked the occasion by bringing 11 luthiers who build and repair guitars, banjos, mandolins, violins, dulcimers and other instruments from across the state to showcase the many skills required to build stringed instruments, much of which was taught and learned during their year long apprenticeship.