N.C. Folklife Area Program & Artists Announced!

Executive Director of the N.C. Arts Council Wayne Martin and Announces Program and Artists for 2017 National Folk Festival’s N.C. Folklife Area

Generation Now! is the theme for the North Carolina Folklife Area and will showcase the state’s younger, emerging masters of traditional art forms

Greensboro, N.C., June 22, 2017 — North Carolina’s emerging masters of traditional arts, including songster Dom Flemons, Seagrove potter Chad Brown, and Greensboro slam poet Josephus Thompson III will showcase their talents at the North Carolina Folklife Area of the 2017 National Folk Festival, officials announced today.

Generation Now! is the theme for the North Carolina Folklife Area presented and curated by the N.C. Arts Council, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. This special program will showcase the state’s younger, emerging masters of traditional music, craft, storytelling and performance poetry. Performances and demonstrations will take place on Saturday, September 9 and Sunday, September 10 on the N.C. Folklife Area’s three stages – Hear My Words Stage, North Carolina Traditions Stage, and The Craft Gallery.

“North Carolina has always recognized and celebrated its cultural heritage and our traditional artists,” Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susi H. Hamilton said. “Generation Now! is a wonderful opportunity for visitors and residents to experience our state’s rich traditions as interpreted by talented young artists.”

Wayne Martin, Executive Director – N.C. Arts Council; Tom Philion, President and CEO – ArtsGreensboro; Julia Olin, Executive Director – National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA); and Mayor Nancy Vaughan were on hand for today’s announcement at the Van Dyke Performance Space.

Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins and Spencer Branch also attended the announcement. Both will participate in Generation Now! and will be showcased at The Craft Gallery and North Carolina Traditions Stage respectively during the Festival.

The artists scheduled to perform on the North Carolina Traditions Stage include:

  • Dom Flemons – African American songster; Hillsborough, North Carolina
  • Cole Mountain Cloggers – clogging; Mars Hill, North Carolina
  • Eric Xavier Band – eastern North Carolina funk, jazz, R&B; Kinston, North Carolina
  • Leela School of Dance – Bharata Natyam (Indian classical dance); Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Spencer Branch – old-time; Crumpler, North Carolina
  • Le’Andra McPhatter – gospel, R&B, jazz; Kinston, North Carolina
  • Dark Water Rising – Lumbee Indian rock and soul; Robeson County, North Carolina
  • Strictly Strings – old-time string band; Boone, North Carolina

The artists scheduled to perform on the Hear My Words Stage include:

  • Jeremy Berggren – veteran’s spoken word poetry; Durham, North Carolina
  • Dani Cook – veteran’s spoken word poetry; Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Lawrence “Life” Dean II – veteran’s spoken word poetry; Jacksonville, North Carolina
  • El’Ja Bowens – veteran’s spoken word poetry; Raeford, North Carolina
  • Tyris Jones – storytelling; Laurinburg, North Carolina
  • The Two Bells – storytelling; Hillsborough, North Carolina
  • Matthew & John Tooni – storytelling; Cherokee, North Carolina
  • Josephus Thompson III – spoken word poetry; Greensboro, North Carolina
  • The Poetry Project – spoken word poetry; Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Dasan Ahanu – spoken word poetry; Durham, North Carolina
  • Danielle “Blaize the Poet” Cortez – spoken word poetry; Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Debrita “Wild Perfection” Channelle – spoken word poetry; Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Dylan Collins – spoken word poetry; Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Joseph “Church da’Poet” Churchwell – spoken word poetry; Durham, North Carolina

The artists showcased at The Craft Gallery include:

  • Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins – puppetry; Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • The Ink Well featuring Big Mike Corbitt – tattooing and piercing; Durham, North Carolina
  • Chad Brown – handmade pottery; Ether, North Carolina
  • Levi Mahan – handmade pottery; Whynot, North Carolina
  • Jessica Spaulding Dingle – beadwork and jewelry; Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina
  • Patrick Heavner – luthier; Asheville, North Carolina
  • Chris Testerman – luthier; Lansing, North Carolina
  • Dakota Brown – traditional Cherokee beadwork and feather work; Cherokee, North Carolina

Last fall, the 2016 National Folk Festival attracted more than 138,000 attendees to downtown Greensboro for the FREE, three-day weekend. Based on survey data, organizers expect attendance to grow substantially in 2017—by as much as 30% or more.

Approximately 300 artists—musicians, dancers, storytellers, and craftspeople—will take part in the National Folk Festival, with more than 30 different musical groups performing on as many as seven outdoor performance venues throughout downtown Greensboro.

To learn about volunteer roles and to register, prospective volunteers should visit ncfolkfestival.com/volunteer. For more information on the 2017 National Folk Festival, visit ncfolkfestival.com. The National Folk Festival will post updates on the Festival’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/NCFolkFestival/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/NCFolkFestival), and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/ncfolkfestival/).


About the N.C. Arts Council: North Carolina has long been recognized for rich traditions in crafts, literature, historical drama, and music. Since 1964, when it was created by Governor Terry Sanford, the N.C. Arts Council has worked to strengthen North Carolina’s creativity, invention, and prosperity through its four core functions: creating a strong and efficient arts infrastructure across North Carolina; planning and implementing economic development initiatives; educating our young people; and researching the impact of the arts on our state. ncarts.org 

About the 2017 National Folk Festival: Co-produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) and ArtsGreensboro, the National Folk Festival is celebrating the third year of its three-year residency in downtown Greensboro in 2017. The FREE, three-day event is America’s longest-running

festival of traditional arts. The National Folk Festival is supported by contributions and sponsorship from corporations, foundations, and individuals. Principal stakeholders and supporters include the City of Greensboro, Greensboro Convention & Visitors Bureau, Guilford County, North Carolina Arts Council, Downtown Greensboro, and Action Greensboro. See complete list and details at ncfolkfestival.com.

About the National Folk Festival: Since it was first presented in St. Louis in 1934, the National Folk Festival has celebrated the roots, richness, and variety of American culture. Championed in its early years by Eleanor Roosevelt, it was the first event of national stature to present the arts of many nations, races, and languages on equal footing. An exuberant traveling festival that embraces the diverse cultural expressions of the American people in the 21st century, the National Folk Festival is FREE to the public, and is produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) in partnership with communities around the country.

About the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA): The National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) is one of the nation’s premier non-profit cultural organizations dedicated to the presentation and documentation of folk, tribal, and ethnic arts in the United States. Founded in 1933, it is the nation’s oldest producing and presenting organization with such a focus. Its programs celebrate and honor deeply rooted cultural expressions—music, crafts, stories, and dance passed on through time by families and communities as well as by tribal, ethnic, and occupational groups. The NCTA stresses excellence and authenticity in presenting artists to the public in festivals, tours, concerts, media programs, exhibitions, recordings, and other activities, and works in partnership with communities across American to establish new, sustainable traditional arts events that bring lasting social, cultural, and economic benefits. www.ncta-usa.org

About ArtsGreensboro: As an arts council and community catalyst, ArtsGreensboro connects the citizens of central North Carolina to the arts through a variety of programs and services. Through the years, ArtsGreensboro has awarded more than $22 million in grants to arts organizations and projects, and currently supports approximately 70 grant projects annually. From saving the historic Carolina Theatre and creating downtown’s Cultural Center, to co-producing the National Folk Festival’s first-ever residency in North  Carolina, ArtsGreensboro is working to make Greensboro a vibrant destination for work, live and play. artsgreensboro.org