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Experience Folk Culture at This Popular Greensboro Festival | Brand Avenue Studios

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Photo credit: North Carolina Folk Festival

Many people think of folk music as little more than 1960s protest songs, but the actual genre is much broader than that. The larger folk culture includes not only songs but also arts, crafts and food. The annual North Carolina Folk Festival, held every September in downtown Greensboro, celebrates folk’s proud heritage through all these expressions and more.

“The concept of folklore and folk culture refers to the people who created it,” says festival president and CEO Amy Grossmann. “North Carolina holds a very special place in folk history. From the mountains to the sea, there’s an incredible diversity of people here who have contributed to our culture.”

A classically trained violinist, Grossman admits he wasn’t very familiar with folk until he started working for the National Council on Traditional Arts in the early 2000s.

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“Through that experience, I was deeply exposed to folk and traditional music and all the cultures that surround it,” she says. It really changed my perspective and I have been working in the folklife field ever since.”

After three years in Greensboro from 2015-2017, the multicultural North Carolina Folk Festival has taken over where the National Folk Festival left off and continues to draw large audiences of all ages and backgrounds. These are just some of the main attractions.

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Photo credit: North Carolina Folk Festival

big names and newcomers

The performance stage will feature familiar acts such as “Father of Newgrass” Sam Bush, Louisiana’s Beau Soleil and Irish diva Callan Casey, as well as many emerging artists.

meaningful kick off

Each year, the Pre-Festival Concert of Songs of Hope and Justice features great music and positive messages, setting the tone for a meaningful weekend.

festive food and drink

International cuisine, North Carolina barbecue, kettle corn, craft beer, and cider from participating food trucks and vendors are among the festival’s food and beverage options. Downtown restaurants, on the other hand, are more than happy to accommodate visitors who prefer a sit-down meal.

Children’s items and unique shopping opportunities

The festival’s family area features interactive games, crafts and activities for guests of all ages, supported by community groups.

Handcrafted jewelry, pottery, woodwork, leather goods, paintings, art, bookbinding and other crafts are highlights of the marketplace with over 30 manufacturers and judges.


Photo credit: North Carolina Folk Festival

How to make the most of your festival experience

Grossmann recommends allowing plenty of time to explore all of the offerings and activities.

“There are some chairs on a first-come, first-served basis, but you might want to bring your own,” she says. “Keep hydrated, use plenty of sunscreen, and come with an open mind.”

Admission to the North Carolina Folk Festival is free, but donations are welcome. This year’s event will be held in downtown Greensboro from September 9-11. Before you go, download the festival’s mobile app (available for Apple and Android devices) for the latest news and information.

The North Carolina Folk Festival is made possible by a significant in-kind donation from the City of Creative Greensboro, the non-profit resident organization of the Greensboro Cultural Center and the City of Greensboro’s arts and culture office. For more information, call 336-265-6943 or visit

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