July 20, 2021

Fourth Stage Added as 80th National Folk Festival Announces the Maryland Traditions Family Folklife Area Program


Today, the 80th National Folk Festival announced the Maryland Traditions Family Folklife Area program, sharing details about the performers, craftspeople, and demonstrators who will be featured in this special area of the festival in 2021. Additionally, festival organizers revealed the addition of a fourth stage at this year’s festival, the Maryland Traditions Family Folklife Stage. The National Folk Festival is returning to Downtown Salisbury, September 10 – 12, 2021, the third year of the National’s residency in Salisbury.

Supported by Maryland Traditions, the traditional arts program of the Maryland State Arts Council, the Maryland Traditions Family Folklife Area & Stage at the 80th National Folk Festival celebrates and showcases the rich, living traditions of Maryland—from its Atlantic beaches to the Appalachian Mountains. The area shines a spotlight on the distinctive music, rituals, crafts, occupations, foodways, and other traditions at the heart of Maryland heritage, expressing both the state’s deep history and its evolving character. Performances, demonstrations, displays, exhibits, and narrative presentations by Maryland master artisans and performers explore a wide range of cultural traditions, including those of its First Peoples, the cultural legacies of European settlers, and the expressions of the newest Maryland residents whose cultural roots come from around the globe.

“Maryland Traditions is proud to have the platform of the National Folk Festival to share a glimpse of the vibrant spectrum of living traditions practiced throughout Maryland,” said Chad Buterbaugh, state folklorist and director of the Maryland Traditions program at the Maryland State Arts Council. “From our Indigenous tradition bearers with the Pocomoke Indian Nation, to the Cumberland Marbles Program and the distinctive dance traditions of Puerto Rican diaspora, as well as emerging immigrant communities that are new to the Eastern Shore and dance expressions that thrive in urban centers, the Maryland Traditions Family Folklife Area & Stage reflects the richness of the state’s cultural expressions.”

“We are excited to bring the Maryland Traditions Family Folklife Area & Stage to the upcoming 80th National Folk Festival,” added National Council for the Traditional Arts Executive Director Lora Bottinelli. “The traditions brought together for the weekend, each in their own right, are held by Maryland’s diverse and multigenerational lineage of tradition bearers. Those who join us will be able to enjoy and meet their neighbors near and far during a special weekend of celebration, in this once-in-a-moment gathering of cultural heritage practitioners from across the state.”

The Maryland Traditions Family Folklife Area & Stage is produced in partnership with Maryland Traditions, the traditional arts program of the Maryland State Arts Council. This area will be open Saturday, September 11, and Sunday, September 12, from 12:00 – 6:00 p.m.

The following demonstrators, craftspeople, and performers will be featured at the Maryland Traditions Family Folklife Area & Stage, with additional performances featuring several of these artists presented on other festival stages throughout the weekend:

The Barnstormers & the RockCandy Cloggers of Emmitsburg demonstrating and performing the old-time music and dance traditions they are known for at community barn dances in western Maryland.

Blacksmith Guild of Western Maryland of Boonsboro, represented by founder Wallace “Wally” Yater and fellow blacksmith Erin Aylor, sharing the expertise at shaping hot metal.

Cumberland Marbles Program, a unique and decades-old partnership between volunteers, local government, and public schools in Cumberland, demonstrating competitive marble playing.

Janice & Anna Marshall of Crisfield demonstrating how to make the famous Smith Island cake, a delicious, multilayered cake that is the state dessert of Maryland, and telling stories about the Smith Island way of life.

Los Hijo ‘e Plena of Howard County performing and demonstrating bomba y plena, closely related, percussion-driven music and dance traditions that are a touchstone for Puerto Rican identity.

Pocomoke Indian Nation of Eden, an indigenous tribal organization of the Eastern Shore, demonstrating and interpreting varied Pocomoke traditions, including coiled pottery, flint knapping (shaping), and corncob darts.

Salisbury area Filipino community sharing cultural traditions closely associated with annual fiestas celebrated in their community, such as the Festival of Santo Niño de Cebú.

Sylvia Stephens of Hyattsville sharing traditional quilting techniques passed down through six generations of her family.

Urban Artistry of Silver Spring, a collective of artists dedicated to art forms inspired by the urban experience, demonstrating the basics of popping, a dance tradition characterized by robot-like, mechanical movements.

Washington Samulnori of Kensington performing samulnori, an age-old percussion tradition that serves as a beacon of Korean culture.

More Maryland artists will be announced on the National Folk Festival’s website as they are confirmed.

The National Folk Festival debuted in Salisbury in 2018, and the city’s tenure as host city was scheduled to conclude in 2020, until the 80th National was postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus.

For more information on the Maryland Traditions Family Folklife Area & Stage program, visit

Interested in volunteering at the Maryland Traditions Family Folklife Area & Stage? Information is available at

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