“We have changed Salisbury forever”: Highlights from successful first year of the National Folk Festival


News Editor and Staff Writer

The National Folk Festival featured food, craft vendors and performances throughout the weekend in downtown Salisbury.

An opening ceremony led by Gov. Larry Hogan kicked off Friday’s festivities. At 6:30 p.m., Hogan paraded from the City Stage to the PRMC Stage, along with Mayor Jake Day, before both gave opening remarks.

“What a way to kick off the biggest party Salisbury has ever seen, am I right,” Day said. “I know you’re here to see wonderful artists, listen to great music, experience wonderful craft and traditions, here to taste the variety of foods, to try some delicious craft beer.”

The parade was followed by an exclusive V.I.P reception which included Hogan, Sen. Adelaide Eckardt, Sen. James Mathias Jr., Congressman Andy Harris, State Delegate Carl Anderton and the President of Salisbury University, Charles A. Wight.

Anderton expressed his excitement for the start of the weekend. “It was an extremely cool experience celebrating what hopes were on the horizon,” Anderton said. “We all decided during the reception that we were going to have an amazing time enjoying all these opportunities, rain or shine.”

Wight was also seen enjoying the festival alongside students of Salisbury University.

Senior Jane Richardson took the opportunity to enjoy the unique craft vendors and cultural experience.

“The vendors have been so kind and interesting to talk to, they all have such beautiful art. I love it,” Richardson said. “There is so much culture around, especially of the Eastern Shore. I need to see more.”

The first evening came to an end with performances across all festival stages. The performers included Orquesta SCC, Yves Lambert Trio and Clinton Fearon & the Boogie Brown Band.

The National Folk Festival resumed Saturday at noon, rain or shine. The gloomy forecast did not diminish Saturday’s crowds.

The second day featured many different vendors and crafts tables. Salisbury University Glass Club was one vendor who came out to advocate their craft during the festival.

Christina Helowicz, an executive member of Salisbury University’s Glass Club, was present at the festival to help students promote their work. Helowicz was very pleased with her festival experience.

“This is something which gives students the opportunity to start getting their work out there before they’re out of an academic environment,” Helowicz said. “Everyone has been very friendly. A lot of people don’t realize there is a glass club or that you can even major in it, so it’s been fun to educating people.”

A popular performance of the day was beatboxer and former member of The Roots, Rahzel Manely Brown. Brown completely packed the Perdue Dance Pavilion during his evening performance.

One person was upset he missed the show. Anderton was able to hear the crowd from Main Street. However, the delegate was too busy working the Bucket Brigade to attend.

“I was able to hear him. Volunteers and I were walking around with buckets, asking for donations,” Anderton said. “Since this was a free event, we needed to figure out ways to help pay for it and many of the guests were very generous. Even kids gave us their change.”

The last day of the festival ended on a light note despite the dark clouds.

Marquise Knox’s blues performance drew a large crowd in the Perdue Dance Pavilion. Knox took some time out of his performance to answer questions about his work and explained how he grew up in a blues family.

Day returned to the stage later that day to say farewell and thank everyone involved in the 2018 Folk Festival.

“Let me just say this: I love you,” Day said. “You are our visitors, our friends, our artists, our volunteers, our staff and we have changed Salisbury forever.”

The festival’s 78th year of celebrating may have come to an end, but the experience is not completely over. The National Folk Festival will be returning to Salisbury for the next two years.

Featured image captured by Emma Reider


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