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 will be announced in early summer 2018, at which time it will become available for viewing at ncfolkfestival.com/schedule. In the meantime, 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
The 2018 map will be available in early summer 2018. For those who have attended the Folk Festival in Greensboro previously, the site layout will remain very much the same.
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.
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.
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.