Richmond’s largest festival is back this weekend

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond Folk Festival is back after the event was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival kicked off Friday night and runs through Sunday evening.

This year’s festival may look a little different with some COVID precautions in place but the tradition of offering a wide variety of music and performers is the same.

On Friday at Brown’s Island, volunteers, musicians and vendors were busy prepping what has traditionally been Richmond’s largest festival.

Lisa Sims, CEO of Venture Richmond — which puts on the festival — said the team had a lot of discussions with the Virginia Health Department and the State’s Vaccine Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula and they feel they can put on an event that is safe.

Sims said you will see the pandemic precautions in place.

“I think that people will notice that there is sort of more space between things,” she said, “we have sort of spread out some the chairs that are under tents. We’ve put some chairs outside of tents.”

Sims tells us festival-goers are asked to mask up in close spaces. All beverage and merchandise sales are contactless, so pack the plastic or Apple Pay.  

You can still use cash to make a drop in the bucket and support the Bucket Brigade and the festival.  Donations help keep the festival free to attend.

This year, you can also scan a QR code to donate or text FOLK to 44321 ton make a donation.

As part of the other COVID-19 precautions the event is shorter, starting an hour late each day and one area has been removed.

“We also don’t have a family area this year,” Sims said. “We felt with that with children not being eligible for a vaccine yet we didn’t want to put our littlest fans or patrons in to that close proximity with each other.”

The stages will still be humming with over 30 genres of music including bluegrass, go-go, Irish, Argentine tango, gospel and Native American drumming.

In years past, the festival has drawn more than 250,000 fans.

“It is the largest festival of its kind in the country but this year we really honestly have no idea how many people to expect. I wish we did. We have prepared for a large crowd,” Sims said.

8News did some checking and found most of the downtown hotels are sold out.

The festival schedule is:

  • Friday, Oct. 8 from 6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 9 from 1:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 10 from 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

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