More Performers Announced for 79th National Folk Festival


DATE: March 19, 2019

CONTACT:  Caroline O’Hare, National Folk Festival Local Manager /

More Performers Announced for 79th National Folk Festival

SALISBURY, MD (March 19, 2019) – Today the National Folk Festival announced another four performers who will take the stage in downtown Salisbury, September 6 – 8, 2019. The 79th National Folk Festival in 2019 marks the second year of the event’s three-year residency in Salisbury.

“The 79th National Folk Festival is going to be an outstanding showcase of traditional arts and culture, featuring longstanding traditions like mountain ballads and blues alongside newer urban expressions like funk and hip hop that will inspire audiences with unexpected delights,” said Lora Bottinelli, executive director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA). “The National offers everyone an opportunity to experience and appreciate the richness and diversity of our nation’s culture.”

With this latest announcement, the festival is excited to bring to Salisbury centuries-old songs and stories from Appalachia, virtuosic Balkan string music, the highly percussive groove of go-go, and the little-known Hawaiian big band swing tradition.

Approximately 350 artists—musicians, dancers, storytellers, and craftspeople—will take part in the National Folk Festival, with more than 35 different musical groups performing on seven outdoor stages throughout downtown Salisbury.

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, beatbox, 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. The four artists announced today include:

Kahulanui (Kailua-Kona, Hawaii) – Hawaiian swing

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.

Rare Essence with special guest DJ Kool (Washington, D.C.) – go-go

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.

Sheila Kay Adams (Marshall, North Carolina) – Appalachian songs, stories, and ballads

This North Carolina treasure is the seventh generation of her family to carry on an unbroken, 350-year-old singing tradition.

Tamburaški Sastav Ponoć (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) – tamburitza

A new generation of brilliant players of the exhilarating Balkan string band tradition, which is lovingly kept in communities across the industrial Upper Midwest.

Over a dozen people of different backgrounds, and with a deep knowledge of music and art forms, came together from across Delmarva to serve as the local Musical Programming Advisory Committee. This committee’s role is to consider—and help the NCTA select—the artists who will perform at the National Folk Festival each year. To learn more about these artists and their stories, please visit

The National Folk Festival will feature individual artists on Facebook (, Twitter (, and Instagram ( throughout the next month.

More performers will be announced as they are confirmed.

Performer photos may be downloaded here:


Photo credits should be listed and can be found in image file names.

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About the National Folk Festival

Since it was first presented in St. Louis in 1934, the National Folk Festival, the NCTA’s flagship event, has celebrated the roots, richness and variety of American culture. Championed in its early years by Eleanor Roosevelt, it was the first event of national stature to present the arts of many nations, races, and languages on equal footing. It was also the first to present to the public musical forms such as the blues, Cajun music, polka, Tex-Mex conjunto, Peking Opera, and many others. Today, the National is an exuberant traveling festival, produced by the NCTA in partnership with communities around the country, that embraces the diverse cultural expressions that define us as a people in the 21st century.


About the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA)

A leading non-profit in the field, the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), is dedicated to the presentation and documentation of folk and traditional arts in the U.S. Stressing excellence and authenticity, the NCTA presents the nation’s finest traditional artists in major festivals, tours, concerts, workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions, media productions, school programs, cross-cultural exchanges, and other activities. It works in partnership with American communities to establish new, sustainable traditional arts events that deliver lasting social, cultural, and economic benefits. Over 7,000 hours of the NCTA’s archival audio recordings dating from the 1930s are permanently housed at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The NCTA champions the interests of folk and traditional artists and organizations in the arena of public policy.


About the City of Salisbury, Maryland

Founded in 1732, Salisbury is the county seat of Wicomico County, a place where John Smith touched land in 1608 during his

exploration of the Chesapeake Bay. Situated on Maryland’s historic Eastern Shore at the crossroads of the Delmarva Peninsula, Salisbury is now one of the region’s largest cities, and serves as the capital of the Eastern Shore, a rural area defined by its agricultural and maritime traditions, landscapes, and industries. The Chesapeake Bay is central to this distinctive identity. Though a relatively small city, Salisbury is the geographic and economic hub of one of the nation’s fastest-growing Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Led by a dynamic mayor, the City of Salisbury is working to build its reputation as an arts and culture destination, and is aligning its downtown development and revitalization efforts with the arts. Salisbury believes hosting the National Folk Festival is the perfect catalyst to further a cultural renaissance and urban renewal.

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