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Dozens of Maryland Folklife Practitioners to be Featured at National Folk Festival in Salisbury in September

Dozens of Maryland Folklife Practitioners to be Featured at National Folk Festival in Salisbury in September

August 15, 2018Press Release

Baltimore, MD (August 15, 2018) –  The Maryland Traditions Festival is partnering with the National Council for the Traditional Arts and the City of Salisbury, Maryland, on the 78th National Folk Festival, September 7 - 9, 2018. This is the first year of the event’s three-year residency in Salisbury. The event is free and open to the public. The Maryland Traditions Folklife Area & Stage is curated by Maryland Traditions, the folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council, and the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury University.  The Folklife Area & Stage area hours are noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, September 8; and noon to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, September 9. For more information, please go to www.

The Maryland Traditions Folklife Area & Stage is devoted to celebrating the rich, living traditions of Maryland—from its Atlantic beaches to the Appalachian Mountains.   The Folklife Area will shine the spotlight on the distinctive music, rituals, crafts, occupations, foodways, and other traditions at the heart of Maryland’s cultural landscape. Performances, demonstrations, displays, exhibits, and narrative presentations by Maryland masters will express both the state’s deep history and its vibrant present.

“Chesapeake Traditions” is the theme of the 2018 Maryland Traditions Folklife Area.  Chesapeake Traditions will explore the region’s rich material, occupational, sacred, and musical traditions, which have flourished in the state’s maritime, marsh, and agricultural communities for generations. It will feature over 20 artists from throughout the Chesapeake region during the free festival. Additionally, the Maryland Traditions Folklife Area & Stage will feature 16 performers and craftspeople from the Maryland State Arts Council’s Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship Award program.

"Folklife is the mortar between the bricks of community. These living cultural traditions are what make us who we are,” stated Chad Buterbaugh, director, Maryland Traditions. “Our songs, stories, dances, and traditional practices bind us together and allow us to turn the mundane into the extraordinary."

The Maryland Traditions Folklife Area is produced in partnership with Maryland Traditions. The Chesapeake Traditions program will feature:

  • Rhonda Aaron of Church Creek, sharing her extensive expertise of eel pot construction and traditional trapping techniques
  • Jay Armsworthy & Eastern Tradition of California (MD), performing hard-driving bluegrass and beautiful harmonies from southern Maryland
  • Hugh & Zane Campbell of Elkton, bluegrass and old-time musicians with a rich family ancestry of traditional Appalachian mountain music
  • Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum of St. Michaels, led by shipyard manager Michael Gorman, who will construct a Smith Island-style skiff from start to finish on the festival grounds
  • Joyce Fitchett of Crisfield, eight-time crab-picking champion at the National Hard Crab Derby in Crisfield, demonstrating occupational crab-picking practices
  • James Lane of Crisfield, a community scholar, advocate, and native of Crisfield, sharing his knowledge of local heritage and cultural traditions
  • Phil Langley of Dameron, with Fish the Bay Charters, presenting his unique experience as a charter fishing boat captain who is also involved in the Chesapeake’s heritage tourism industry
  • Janice Marshall of Crisfield, who is deeply rooted in Smith Island traditions, demonstrating crab-picking practices and telling stories about the Smith Island way of life
  • Mary Ada Marshall of Tylerton, a Smith Island tradition bearer who is known for her expertise about the process of making Smith Island cake
  • Jay Martin of Eden, creator of Provident Organic Farms, sharing his expertise in sustainable food systems in the region
  • Pocomoke Indian Nation of Eden, an indigenous tribal organization of the Eastern Shore, demonstrating and interpreting varied Pocomoke traditions and lifeways
  • Newell Quinton of Mardela Springs, a scrapple maker and San Domingo community scholar, demonstrating the tradition of scrapple making and its history
  • Singing & Praying Bands of Maryland and Delaware (Anne Arundel and Dorchester counties, Maryland, and Sussex County, Delaware), presenting one of the oldest African-American traditions of religious worship still active today
  • The Sensational Royal Lights of Catonsville, a family gospel group founded more than  six decades ago near Cambridge that continues to perform quartet-style gospel music throughout Delmarva
  • Kermit Travers of East New Market, a retired skipjack captain of Dorchester County, sharing his vast knowledge of skipjacks and maritime heritage in the Chesapeake Bay
  • Michael Whidbee of Crisfield, who will demonstrate the oyster-shucking skills and techniques he has developed over a lifetime in the industry
  • Stoney Whitelock of Deal Island, a fourth-generation skipjack captain, who will share the history of skipjacks as working vessels and their centrality to the Chesapeake Bay
  • Phil Wiggins Blues House Party of Takoma Park, fronted by an award-winning harmonica master celebrating Piedmont blues music and dance inspired by rural house parties

In addition to the Chesapeake Traditions demonstrations and performances, these Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship Awards’ master/apprentice teams will perform September 9:

  • Shodekeh & Ian Hesford of Baltimore, Tuvan throat singing
  • Mama Linda Goss & Dr. David Fakunle of Baltimore and Laurel, African American storytelling
  • Andrea Hoag & Christopher Ousley of Brentwood, Swedish fiddling
  • Mohammadreza Kazemifar & Ali Analouei of Potomac and Rockville, Persian classical singing
  • Chum Ngek & Suteera Nagavajara of Gaithersburg and Takoma Park, homrong (Cambodian classical music)
  • Anna Pasqualucci & Lisa Marie Penn of Linthicum (MD) and Glen Rock (PA), screen painting
  • Rick Smoker & Kenny Glasgow of Marion Station and Princess Anne, decoy carving
  • Sebastian Wang & Sanghyuk Park of Kensington and Laurel, samulnori (traditional Korean percussion)

The 78th National Folk Festival will feature approximately 350 musicians, dancers, puppeteers, storytellers, and craftspeople, continuous performances on seven stages, the Maryland Traditions Folklife Area & Stage, a dance pavilion, a Family Area, a Festival Marketplace, and regional and ethnic foods.  In addition to support from Maryland Traditions and the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Avery Hall Insurance is sponsoring the Maryland Traditions Folklife Stage, supporting some of the state’s performers in sharing their traditional art forms with the festival audience. Additional support for the Maryland Traditions Folklife Area has been provided by The O’Hare Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty and Selective Insurance.

For more information on the Maryland Traditions Folklife Area program, visit:

For more information on the 78th National Folk Festival visit

National Folk Festival

First presented in St. Louis in 1934, the National Folk Festival is the oldest and longest-running multicultural traditional arts celebration in the nation. It has celebrated the roots, richness and variety of American culture for 84 years. 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 was also the first to present to the public musical forms such as the blues, Cajun music, polka, Tex-Mex conjunto, Peking Opera, and many others. Today, the National is an exuberant traveling festival; produced by the NCTA in partnership with communities around the country, it embraces the diverse cultural expressions that define us as a people in the 21st century.

The 78th National Folk Festival in Salisbury, 2018, is produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) and the City of Salisbury.  With a host of local, state and national partners and supporters, the National Folk Festival begins its three-year residency in downtown Salisbury this year, its 78th year, from September 7 – 9, 2018. The FREE, three-day event is America’s longest-running festival of traditional arts; celebrating the best of nation and best of Maryland, it will set the stage for a continuing festival in 2021, after the “National” moves on.

Maryland State Arts Council and Maryland Traditions

Founded in 1967, the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) is an agency of the State of Maryland Department of Commerce, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, and encourages and invests in the advancement of the arts for all Marylanders. Its grants and programs support artists and arts organizations in their pursuit of artistic excellence, ensure the accessibility of the arts to all citizens, and promote statewide awareness of arts resources and opportunities. MSAC awards grants to not-for-profit, tax-exempt organizations and individual artists, and provides technical and advisory assistance to individuals and groups. The agency is funded by an annual appropriation from the State of Maryland and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. MSAC may also receive contributions from private, non-governmental sources. Maryland Traditions is the folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council. Since 1974, state-employed folklorists have worked to identify, document, support, and present Maryland folklife through grants, awards, festivals, and other programming. For more information about Maryland Traditions, go to 

Media Contact: 

Contact for the media:
Dorothy Fuchs, Purple Dot PR
(o) 410-637-8337/(m) 410-598-1719

Contact for the public:
Janine M. Lis, Maryland State Arts Council
(o) 410 767 6555

Caroline O’Hare
National Folk Festival Local Manager