National Folk Festival goes virtual

SALISBURY, Md. – The National Folk Festival is being celebrated virtually this year, instead of filling the streets of Salisbury like in years past. “I think this is a unique situation. This is not something we had thought about doing a year ago, and we’re adapting and changing our focus as we go,” said Local Manager for the National Folk Festival Caroline O’Hare.

O’Hare says the virtual celebration will include performances from the last two years – as well as original recordings from artists who were supposed to perform this year. Plus – there will be plenty of activities to take part in online. “We really wanted this festival – this virtual celebration – to be interactive and engaging. We wanted to make sure that people are chatting during it – that they’re able to follow along with activities,” said O’Hare.

For example, the Ward Museum of Wild Fowl Art will be presenting a series of videos featuring people who carry on traditions of the Eastern Shore and the Chesapeake Bay region. “If you see folk music as the musical form of traditional art of the community, these are all the other traditional arts that we want to make sure get highlighted,” said Ward Museum Curator and Folklorist Dr. Dominick Tartaglia.

Ward Museum says that they spent months interviewing their subjects and gathering information. “The folk life area was its own different challenge. So we went out and did socially distant field interviews. Sometimes on Zoom, mostly done far apart,” said Dr. Tartaglia.

Salisbury’s Deputy City Administrator Andy Kitzrow says the festival has been a huge hit for the city in the past. So, they wanted to do whatever they could to keep it alive while people await its rescheduled date in September of 2021. “We didn’t want to lose that momentum this year. So having a virtual celebration to continue to highlight the cultural and performing arts is really important to Salisbury,” said Kitzrow.

Again – it is important to note that this year’s festival hasn’t been cancelled – but postponed until September of 2021. The virtual celebration is free to all – and will take place over the course of September 12th to September 13th of this year. If you’d like to get more details on what you can expect from the virtual celebration and its line up – you can find a link to the website here.

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