Published September 13, 2023

Experience the crafts, music, and culture of Bristol and beyond on Saturday, October 14 and Sunday, October 15 in the Virginia Folklife Area of the 2023 Richmond Folk Festival! Designated by the US Congress as the “birthplace of country music” in recognition of the 1927 Bristol Sessions, during which The Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, and others were recorded for the first time, artists and communities in and around Bristol are transforming regional Appalachian traditions for 2023 and beyond.

This April, in collaboration with local partners on the Greater Bristol Folk Arts & Culture Team, the Virginia Folklife Program awarded $52,000 in fellowships and grants to artists and organizations working to sustain traditional culture in and around Bristol (made possible by Central Appalachia Living Traditions, Mid Atlantic Arts). Meet them in the Appalachian Traditions tent or see them on stage Sunday during the “New Sounds of Bristol Showcase.”

Appalachian Traditions

The Virginia Folklife Area will include Appalachian Traditions, a demonstration tent with artists and cultural organizations from the greater Bristol region. Demonstrations in broom and toy making, weaving, basketry, and more will be offered, and displays include a pop-up cast iron museum and a rear-engine dragster race car.

Focused Demonstrations
Saturday, October 14

1PM | John Alexander: Appalachian Toys
2PM | KT Vandyke: Repairing a Cracked Guitar
3PM | Birthplace of Country Music: Women in Old Time Music
4PM | Katie Hoffman & Brett Tiller: Maintain Your Cast Iron
5PM | Jesse Halverson: Wool, From Fleece to Loom

Sunday, October 15

2PM | KT Vandyke & Jackson Cunningham: Installing Frets
3PM | Roxanne McDaniel: How to Build a Cardboard Dulcimer
4PM | Amanda Sprinkle: Curly Basket Overlays
5PM | Erin Simons: Making Hand Brooms

Center for Cultural Vibrancy Stage

The Center for Cultural Vibrancy Stage at the Virginia Folklife Area will honor the musical past and present of Bristol by showcasing some of the most accomplished and exciting emerging artists from the city and surrounding region.

Experience a live recording of Farm and Fun Time, a vintage-style radio show presented by the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, hosted by Kris Truelson and his band, Bill and the Belles, and featuring Southwest Virginia natives Linda Lay, Elizabeth LaPrelle, and Elsa Howell. The “New Sounds of Bristol” showcase presents six artists from in and around Bristol who are shaping its sound today and spanning musical genres from old-time to hip-hop.

Saturday, October 14

12:15-1PM | Virginia Meets the Virgin Islands: Workshop with members of Legendary Ingramettes and Stanley Jacobs and the Ten Sleepless Nights
1:15-2PM | Gail Caesar (Piedmont Blues)
2:15-3PM | Wayne Henderson and Friends (Appalachian Guitar Traditions)
3:15-4PM | Danny Knicely and Chao Tian (Appalachian Traditions and Chinese Dulcimer)
4:15-5PM | Wild Ponies (Americana)
5:15-6:30PMFarm and Fun Time® featuring Bill and the Belles, Linda Lay, Elizabeth LaPrelle and Elsa Howell (Country Radio Hour)

Sunday, October 15

12-1:15PM | New Sounds of Bristol Showcase featuring Tyler Hughes, Pierceton Hobbs, Roxanne McDaniel, geonovah, Jackson Cunningham, KT Vandyke & Toni Doman
1:30-2:30PM | Sherman Holmes and Cora Armstrong, with Jared Pool, Andrew Alli, Almeta Ingram-Miller and Jacob Eller (Gospel and R&B)
2:45-3:30PM | Martha Spencer and the Wonderland Band (Honky-tonk)
3:50-4:45PM | Rodney Stith (Classic Soul)
5:00-6PM | The Legendary Ingramettes (Gospel)

The Virginia Folklife Area is co-presented by the Virginia Folklife Program of Virginia Humanities and the Center for Cultural Vibrancy.

About the 2023 Richmond Folk Festival

The Richmond Folk Festival returns from Friday, October 13 to Sunday, October 15, this year celebrating its 19th anniversary. The festival draws attendees each year to downtown Richmond’s riverfront to celebrate the roots, richness and variety of American culture through music, dance, traditional crafts, storytelling and food.

The free, three-day event hosts 200,000 people over the weekend and is produced by Venture Richmond Events in partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), the Virginia Folklife Program of Virginia Humanities, the Center for Cultural Vibrancy, Children’s Museum, and the City of Richmond. This year’s Festival will feature six stages showcasing music and dance from more than 30 performing groups from around Virginia, the nation, and the world, as well as crafts and living traditions from across the Commonwealth.


Friday, October 13: 6:30PM – 10PM 
Saturday, October 14: 12PM – 9:30PM 
Sunday, October 15: 12PM – 6PM


Learning Experience

Virginia History in Song

What can songs teach us about history?