Monday, October 8, 2007

Are you ready?

RICHMOND, Va. (Monday, October 8) – It’s almost upon us.

The National Folk Festival returns to Richmond’s riverfront for the third and final year this Friday, bringing music, dance, arts and crafts, storytelling, food and more from the nation’s finest traditional artists.

Unloading electrical cablesStaff and volunteers have been working since September 28 setting up for the site for the more than 100,000 people expected to attend this year, the 69th year the event has been held in cities across the nation.

Tents and stages are being built. Electrical cables are being laid out. Signs are being prepared and set up. Despite the heat of this day, staff and volunteers were eagerly working and looking forward to the weekend’s celebration.

“The weather will be kind to us,” said technical director Dwain Winters of this weekend. “The site is in great shape. We’ve got a really, really good program.”

Mary Boeckman, assistant technical director, said the setup effort is going well.

Busy riggerAs in the past, visitors this year will have the option of listening to a wide range of music, including blues, gospel, and rhythm and blues; Cajun and Zydeco; bluegrass, cowboy, honky-tonk and western swing; and tamburitza.

The musical and other performances and crafts will reveal a host of other cultural influences: African, Appalachian, Cajun, Caribbean, Celtic, East Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Native American, and Pacific Islander.

As in previous years, the waterfront site – from 2nd to 5th Street and from Byrd Street to the James River – will feature seven performance stages ranging in size from a 12,000-seat Ukrop’s/First Market Stage to the small, intimate Family Stage. The locations of some stages and activities will be moved as a result of construction in the area.

Jogger on Brown's IslandThe Richmond Times-Dispatch Dance Pavilion, formerly in the Federal Reserve parking lot, will be on Brown’s Island on the site formerly occupied by the Comcast Stage. The Comcast Stage will be in the American Civil War Center courtyard. The Ten Thousand Villages Marketplace, which used to be located along 10th Street near the base of the Brown’s Island footbridge, will likewise be moved to the American Civil War Center.

As in previous years, free shuttles will provided between the festival site and free parking at Cloverleaf Mall and the Diamond.

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BLOGGER’S NOTE: Please come back and revisit these pages over the next few days. Each day before the festival begins, I will write about preparations and post information about what to expect.

Each day of the festival, I will post as often as possible, sharing news of hot performances, good food, interesting workshops, and maybe even write about what some of you think about each day’s events.

I look forward to seeing you on the Internet – or even better, at the festival!

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