About the Festival

The North Carolina Folk Festival
September 7-9, 2018
Downtown Greensboro, North Carolina

Celebrating Our Cultural Roots

The North Carolina Folk Festival is a FREE, 3-day outdoor celebration of cultural roots and heritage held annually in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina.

The North Carolina Folk Festival features performances and demonstrations by the finest musicians, dancers, and craftspeople – with performing groups on multiple stages including a dance pavilion dedicated to non-stop participatory dancing, and a family stage with performances appealing to both the young and young-at-heart.  A mix of open air and tented sites will provide a variety of performance venues ranging from intimate stages to amphitheater size. In addition to the performance stages, the Folk Festival also hosts a Family Activities Area, the North Carolina Arts Marketplace, and the Festival Food Courts


While some of the Festival’s stages will have folding seats available on a first-come, first-served basis, to guarantee that you have a seat at every location, we encourage you to bring your own portable chair.

Official 2018 North Carolina Folk Festival Schedule

The 2018 festival schedule is available for viewing at ncfolkfestival.com/schedule. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to receive the first notifications announcing performers, the schedule of performances, and other important news from the Festival.

Official 2018 North Carolina Folk Festival Map

Click here to see the festival map!

Click here for a map of street closures

Hours of Operation

    • Friday, September 7, 2018:  6:00 – 10:00 pm
    • Saturday, September 8, 2018:  noon – 10:00 pm
    • Sunday, September 9, 2018:  noon – 6:30 pm

Food and beverage sales and marketplace vendors will open at 5:30 pm on Friday and 11:30 am on Saturday and Sunday.

Free Admission

The North Carolina Folk Festival is a FREE event—you and your family may enjoy all the performances, the dance pavilion, and the Family Activities Area & Stage at no cost. Food, beverages, marketplace handcrafts, and Festival merchandise are available for purchase.

Bucket Brigade: Keep the Festival Free!

The North Carolina Folk Festival is a FREE event!

And your donations are key to keeping it that way.

It’s expensive to mount a world-class event like the North Folk Festival. In fact, it costs well over $1 million to present the Festival each year.

Please be on the lookout for dedicated community volunteers who serve as “The Bucket Brigade.” You’ll recognize them by their blue volunteer shirts and big blue buckets. They’ll circulate throughout the Festival and ask for your support. All of your donations will go directly to cover the costs of the Festival. Thanks in advance for your support.

We'll see you - rain or shine

No matter the weather, the show—and the North Carolina Folk Festival—will go on! In the event of rain, please check our website and the information booths located throughout the Festival for schedule updates.

Information Booths

Information booths are located throughout the Festival. Volunteers will be available to assist you.

Emergency Services/First Aid

First Aid/Emergency Service Centers are located throughout the Festival. Please see the map for locations.


Portable restrooms and hand-washing stations will be located in numerous locations throughout the Festival.

Lost People

If a child or another person in your party gets lost, please seek out one of any Festival volunteers, who are easily identified by their bright shirts. Volunteers can quickly find Festival staff members or Greensboro police officers, who will help you immediately.

Lost Items

If you lost an item during the event, please submit a description and your contact information at ncfolkfestival.com/lost.

NO Pets

PLEASE DO NOT BRING PETS (other than service animals) to the Festival! We expect very large crowds and your pets will be more comfortable at home.

American Sign Language Interpretation

The North Carolina Folk Festival offers sign interpretation for a number of performances at the event. Look for the symbol on the festival schedule to identify which performances will be interpreted.

Festival Photography/Videography: Your Presence Is Your Permission!

Credentialed North Carolina Folk Festival photographers and videographers will be working throughout the Festival. Some images may be used in upcoming promotional materials. We consider your presence at the event to be your permission for such promotional use by the Festival producers.

Festival History

The North Carolina Folk Festival is a legacy event of the National Folk Festival which was hosted in Greensboro from 2015 – 2017.

Building on the foundation of its predecessor event, the North Carolina Folk Festival will continue to be a FREE outdoor annual event that celebrates and showcases the cultural roots and traditions of communities across our state, nation, and the world.

Background on the National Folk Festival:

An exuberant traveling festival that celebrates the diverse cultural expressions of 21st-century Americans, the National Folk Festival is produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) in partnership with communities around the country. In 2017, the National celebrated its 77th anniversary in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Since it was first presented in St. Louis in 1934, the National has celebrated the roots, richness, and variety of American culture. Championed in its early years by Eleanor Roosevelt, the Festival was the first event of national stature to present the arts of many nations, races, and languages on equal footing. Some of the artists presented at the first festival are now legendary and the recordings and other documentation made possible by the National are precious.  “Father of the Blues” W.C. Handy’s first performance on a desegregated stage was at the 1938 National. It was also the first to present to the public musical forms such as the blues, Cajun music, polka bands, Tex-Mex conjunto, Peking Opera, and many others.

The National’s three-year stay in each host city is intended to lay the groundwork for a sustainable, locally produced festival that continues after it moves on. Including Greensboro—where the Festival will be in residence from 2015 through 2017—the National Folk Festival has been presented in 28 cities. Musicians and craftspeople from every state and most U.S. territories have participated in this “moveable feast of deeply traditional folk arts.” Presented to audiences free of charge over three days, National Folk Festivals have drawn audiences of 100,000 to 175,000 annually since 1987.

Special Programs

Fabric of Freedom (2015 – 2016)

Fabric of Freedom was a series of arts programs that celebrated the diversity and cultural history of Greensboro, host city for the National Folk Festival (2015-2017). Exhibits, music, dance, community events, and more were presented in venues across the city during the two-year run of the program in 2015 and 2016.  In its second year, Fabric of Freedom extended the spirit of the Festival across Greensboro, serving over 3,200 attendees. The Fabric of Freedom program was funded by a National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant and co-sponsored by the AJ Fletcher Foundation and Lincoln Financial. Learn more about this program.