Washington Folk Festival
June 4th and 5th

After two years of hiatus, the Washington Folk Festival returns to Glen Echo Park to celebrate its 40th anniversary. There will be a splendid array of music, captivating storytellers, and a marketplace filled with talented artisans. All stages save for one in the Spanish Ballroom will be in the airy outdoors and you can expect the same  wonderful, free event, showcasing the amazing and delightful folk traditions of the D.C. metro area. On-site parking is limited, so please take advantage of the festival shuttle from free satellite parking in the GEICO parking lot at Friendship Heights (see below), a short walk from Metro. You can see the draft daily schedule here, and download a pdf of the draft schedule with performer information here. (Click on any performer name for more info.)

New performers to check out this year: The Crayfish Sisters, Moose Jaw, One Blue Night, and Sweet Yonder present variations of American roots music covering classic country, honkytonk, and bluegrass. Groups bringing  international flavors include The Fuss (ska and reggae), Project Locréa (eclectic fusion mix),  Swing Gadjo (Belgian/French), Szikra (Hungarian dance), Grupo Fénix (Latin American), Ana Souza (Brazilian Samba), and Flamenco con Magdalena (Spanish). Blackwood & Brass demonstrates an array of Scottish small pipes, Tower Green presents medieval folk, the Black Workers Center Chorus unites with songs of justice and peace, and Emma G creates her own unique singer-songwriter style. In addition, the festival brings a few new storytellers to the stage including Yaya Patterson, Solveig Eggerz, and Jessica Piscitelli Robinson. So much to check out!

While there are a lot of new acts to enjoy, perennial festival favorites will, of course, also be gracing the stages. Come out to hear blues groups such as DC Mudd, Gina DeSimone & the Moaners, Archie’s Blues Barbershop, Alpha Dog, Blue Panamuse, Carly Harvey, and the trio of Thompson, Summerour & Selby. Delighting all with myriad other classic American genres spanning roots, jazz, old-timey, country, barbershop, and swing are Lulu’s Fate, Pictrola, Karen Collins & the Backroads Band, Joe Uehlein & the U-Liners, the Foggy Bottom Whomp-Stompers, King Street Bluegrass, Lydia and Emily Martin & Friends, Kentucky Avenue, Shenandoah Run, Isn’t That So, Seth Kibel & Friends, the All-New Genetically Altered Jug Band, the Capital Accord Chorus, and Acosta & Clark.  A cappella groups Reverb and Mutual Agreement share gospel, originals, and pop classics. Urban Artistry demonstrates dance and movement inspired by urban traditions, while the Cutting Edge Rapper Sword and Sligo Creek Sword exhibit exciting rapper sword dances.

Other beloved performers representing international cultures from around the globe return this year. They include Trio Sefardi, Furia FlamencaSoumya Chakraverty, Chinobay, Karpouzi Trio, Washington Toho Koto Society, Machaya, Grupo Rompe Cajón, Halau Ho'omau I ka Wai Ola O Hawai'i,  Raymi, Luk na Glavata, Gabby’s Hawaiian Jam, and Paraguayan Harpist Hector Muñoz.

It was very important to us this year to bring the music of Ukraine, and to fulfill that wish, Slaveya, as well as the duo of Vladmir Fridman and Tom Teasley, bring songs from that tradition.

Singer-songwriters Heather Aubrey Lloyd, Jesse Palidofsky, the Bill Baker Band, and The Sweater Set will all contribute contemporary catchy songs.

Celtic sounds and demonstration are covered by Lilt, the Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance,  and the Maryland Youth Pipe Band. As in past years, the Pipe Band will start off the festival on Saturday with a march from the parking lot into the park!

Showcases will highlight instrument styles and focus on unique woman songwriters. To celebrate the festival's 40th anniversary, organizers and musicians share experiences and musical highlights from the early days.

Besides music performances and dance demonstrations, no fewer than 22 storytellers will be regaling us with yarns of mischief and adventure, fairy tales, originals, and a joke swap!

And finally, don’t forget the New Sunshine Skiffle Band, closing out the festival on Sunday, a tradition longstanding for many years and not to be missed.

Bring the whole family! Besides the playground and historic Dentzel Carousel, everyone can revel in the picnic area jam sessions, savor ice cream treats, and indulge in the delicious food provided by the Praline Bakery. They can also meet the artists-in-residence around the park. Watch out for the Morris Dancers, who will be performing spontaneously on the walkways!

Parking on-site is limited, so please take advantage of the free festival shuttle from free satellite parking in the GEICO parking lot located at 5260 Western Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, just a few blocks from the Friendship Heights Metro station. (You can also take Metro and catch the shuttle from the GEICO lot.) See you there on June 4 and 5!

Interested in showcasing your handicraft wares?

Every year, the festival offers space for artisans to showcase and sell their wares. Admission is based on creativity, uniqueness, quality, show balance and customer appeal. If you are interested in exhibiting at the festival, please download, complete, and submit our application.

Volunteers Needed!

We rely on an army of volunteers to produce the Festival. Many have volunteered for decades, but new volunteers are needed each year. A few hours of your time can help make the Festival possible. We need help not only during the Festival weekend but also on the weekends of May and June to help with setup and take-down. The Festival is particularly in need of people who would like to get more deeply involved in the planning and management of the event. We are looking for new people who can move into the many staff roles that make the Festival happen. These include festival co-coordinators, publicity, web page design, database management, fundraising, performer/staff food coordinator, stagehands, and craft sales management. If you have experience or would like to develop skills in any of these areas, we would love to hear from you.

To volunteer, fill out an on-line volunteer form here or email us at wffvolunteers@fsgw.org with any questions. Volunteer for one full day (8 hours) or two half days (4 hours each, ex: 8-12 or 12-4) during WFF and get a free annual membership to FSGW! If you’re already a member, we’ll renew your membership in person as a massive thank you for volunteering.

Support the Festival!

Even with all volunteer staff and performers, there are significant expenses to put on the Festival. You can help make the Festival possible by donating at https://fsgw.org/donate and click on the Washington Folk Festival button or by sending a check to Washington Folk Festival, 4525 Middleton Ln, Bethesda, MD 20814.

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The Washington Folk Festival is produced by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington and the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, in partnership with the National Park Service and Montgomery County, Maryland. Takoma Radio WOWD-LP is our media sponsor.


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