North Carolina Folklife Area

Generation Now!

North Carolina traditions are thriving in the hands of millennial artists! From eastern Carolina funk to gospel and string band music, the state is a cauldron of tradition and innovation. Generation Now! celebrates these emerging masters of traditional music, craft, storytelling and performance poetry. The North Carolina Folklife Area is sponsored by the North Carolina Arts Council, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

North Carolina enjoys an international reputation as a cradle of traditional arts, and more young people are practicing the traditional arts than ever before. Most learn the arts of their communities at home, with friends and neighbors, in school programs or in religious congregations. Others seek them through social media, YouTube tutorials, recordings, videos and books. A keen desire to honor the traditions that came before them, an intrepid use of technology and a sometimes wild creativity distinguishes the resourceful artists of the millennial generation.

The North Carolina Traditions Stage presents a dynamic line-up of young musicians who like to play with the boundaries of tradition, at times holding to the classic styles of their communities and mentors, or sometimes breaking out with riffs and rhythms all their own. The Hear My Words Stage features millennial artists breathing new life into the storytelling tradition. From the timeless qualities of Cherokee legend to the immediacy of contemporary spoken word, listeners will be spellbound by the passion, vigor and originality of their tellings. Potters, luthiers, puppeteers, bead artists and others will demonstrate throughout the weekend in the North Carolina Demonstration Area, inviting visitors to hear the life stories that attach makers to their art and even take a turn with tools and materials. With performances on two stages, workshops and an avenue of crafted artistry, Generation Now! sets the bar for the next 50 years of excellence in North Carolina’s traditional arts.

Curated by the North Carolina Arts Council.

North Carolina Folklife Area Stages

North Carolina Traditions Stage: The millennial artists performing on the North Carolina Traditions Stage represent a wide range of traditional music and dance in North Carolina.

Learn more about the NC Traditions Stage

Hear My Words Stage: The Hear My Words Stage presents millennial storytellers representing oral traditions from North Carolina’s diverse populations.

Learn more about Hear My Words Stage

The Craft Gallery: The artists in the Craft Gallery combine innovation and tradition in ways that may surprise you. Sometimes they make “old wine in new jugs,” and sometimes they make “new wine in old jugs.” See if you can tell the difference!

Learn more about The Craft Gallery