Salisbury postpones National Folk Festival to ’21

Officials with the National Folk Festival announced Wednesday they are postponing this year’s event due to the coronavirus pandemic which has shut down much of the state and the country.

In a joint statement, Salisbury Mayor Jake Day and Lora Bottinelli, Executive Director, of the National Council for the Traditional Arts, said the event has been rescheduled for Sept. 10-12, 2021, in Downtown Salisbury.

Additional details for sponsors, artists, vendors, contractors and volunteers will be available from the National Folk Festival leadership team in the weeks to come, they said.

“We feel it is in the community’s best interest to pause our efforts and join others in devoting as many resources as possible toward flattening the curve so that we can return to our normal lives once health officials deem it appropriate to do so. It is disappointing to have to reschedule the festival, but it is necessary,” they said in a news release.

Salisbury has hosted the event for the past two years and will host it once more before it moves to another city. 

The success of the festival is rooted in the community cooperation and collaboration that is shared and cultivated throughout its tenure — from event sponsors to volunteers, from city workers to the festival’s many community partners, the organizers said. Postponing the event is the responsible thing to do, they said.

Currently, all of Maryland – except for essential services – is shut down with residents ordered to stay at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Gov. Larry Hogan has not yet indicated when the restrictions might be lifted.

Last year’s event drew 153,911 people over three days, and organizers hoped this year’s numbers would exceed that.

On March 2, festival organizers announced the first eight performers booked for this year’s event that included Tango from Argentina, Sri Lankan dance, traditional music from Ireland and Greece, and American cowboy, blues and jazz.

In addition, festival organizers also revealed the theme for this year’s Maryland Folklife Area & Stage: Mountain Maryland which would have highlighted traditions influenced and inspired by western Maryland’s mountainous terrain. 

The National Folk Festival started in St. Louis in 1934. 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 also was the first to present to the public musical forms such as the blues, Cajun music, polka, Tex-Mex conjunto, Peking Opera and others.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage

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