Music and dance from across America
The Festival strives to present the nation’s very finest traditional artists. Music and dance traditions from every part of the country are represented – authentic blues, rockabilly, gospel, jazz, polka, tamburitza, cowboy, bluegrass, klezmer, R&B, old-time, Cajun, rhythm and blues, mariachi, beat-box, breakin’, western swing, honky-tonk and zydeco, as well as traditional music and dance from Native American, Celtic, Acadian, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, Asian, Appalachian, Latino, Eastern European, African, and Pacific Island cultures, among others.
In making its selections, the Festival is guided by the following definition from the National Endowment for the Arts:
FOLK & TRADITIONAL ARTS – a definition
The folk and traditional arts are rooted in and reflective of the cultural life of a community. Community members may share a common ethnic heritage, language, religion, occupation, or geographic region. These vital and constantly reinvigorated artistic traditions are shaped by values and standards of excellence that are passed from generation to generation, most often within family and community, through demonstration, conversation, and practice. Genres of artistic activity include, but are not limited to, music, dance, crafts, and oral expression.
– National Endowment for the Arts
Interested in performing at the National Folk Festival in Salisbury, MD?
Programming discussions take place from November to May with most programming decisions made by June 1st for that year’s festival. All artists must follow the same process. If you’re interested in applying, check out “Apply to perform at the National Folk Festival”
Adonis Puentes & the Voice of Cuba Orchestra
Propelled by the vibrant horns and rhythms of his sextet, this verdadero sonero (true sonero) transports listeners to his birthplace through the mesmerizing sounds of classic son. Continue reading
One of the most extraordinary Central American artists of his generation, this composer, guitarist, and percussionist is a musical ambassador and champion of the endangered culture of the Garifuna people. Continue reading
Eddie Cotton, Jr.
This Mississippi master of soul blues will move audiences, body and spirit, with gritty guitar work, stirring vocals, and a hard-driving style rooted in the church of his youth. Continue reading
Hot Club of Cowtown
The preeminent ensemble in western swing and hot jazz today, this trio delivers exquisite performances with impeccable style and its trademark vintage sound. Continue reading
This Brooklyn-based quintet immerses audiences in mystical trance music that traditionally accompanies all-night Gnawa rituals of healing and purification. Continue reading
Jerry Douglas Trio
“Dobro’s matchless contemporary master,” the greatest innovator of the resonator guitar in the last half century—possibly the greatest ever. Continue reading
Jones Benally Family Dancers
Led by family patriarch and world champion hoop dancer, three generations will share the beauty and richness of Navajo traditional culture. Continue reading
This nine-piece juggernaut’s infectious music gives new life to the meeting of Hawaiian instruments and melodies and the swinging sounds of big band jazz that swept America in the 1930s and ’40s. Continue reading
Rare Essence with special guest DJ Kool
Dubbed “the wickedest band alive,” this legendary go-go band—a pioneering exponent of the DMV’s homegrown offshoot of funk—has honed its sound to near perfection. Continue reading
Sheila Kay Adams
This North Carolina treasure is the seventh generation of her family to carry on an unbroken, 350-year-old singing tradition. Continue reading
Tamburaški Sastav Ponoć
A new generation of brilliant players of the exhilarating Balkan string band tradition, which is lovingly kept in communities across the industrial Upper Midwest. Continue reading
Yamini Kalluri & the Carnatic Ensemble
Featuring a 21-year-old rising star of kuchipudi dance, this intergenerational ensemble weaves their shared heritage into a spellbinding display of South Indian music and dance. Continue reading