December 21, 2017

National Folk Festival Accepting Performer Applications for 2018 Festival in Salisbury, MD

young girl applying

Salisbury, MD – The National Folk Festival, coming to Salisbury, Maryland in 2018, is accepting performer applications for the 2018 festival to be held on September 7-9. Applications may be submitted through the website Sonicbids, an “online matchmaker” which connects musicians with performance opportunities, or by mail sent to the National Folk Festival office located in Downtown Salisbury. The deadline to apply is April 30, 2018.

Typically, the festival receives submissions from about 2,000 artists each year, although only 25-30 can be selected. Over the course of the National’s three-year residency in Salisbury, it will present a dazzling diversity of performers and traditions.

Quality and authenticity are the primary selection criteria for artists. The National Folk Festival’s approach to programming focuses on presenting “traditional” arts – deeply held cultural expressions that are passed on through time in families and communities and in tribal, ethnic, religious, regional, and occupational groups. It presents artists who are firmly rooted in the cultural community from which their music, dance, or other art form derives, rather than “interpreters” of tradition—no matter how accomplished. The Festival strives to be inclusive in terms of race, ethnicity, and region.

All applicants are held to the same standards. The selection of festival participants is guided by the definition of folk and traditional arts established by the National Endowment for the Arts:

Definition of “folk and traditional arts”:

The folk and traditional arts are rooted in and reflective of the cultural life of a community. Community members may share a common ethnic heritage, cultural mores, language, religion, occupation, or geographic region. These vital and constantly reinvigorated artistic traditions are shaped by values and standards of excellence that are passed from generation to generation, most often within family and community, through demonstration, conversation, and practice. Genres of artistic activity include, but are not limited to, music, dance, crafts, and oral expression.

Source: National Endowment for the Arts

What exactly is folk? From a musical perspective, the Festival will include everything from blues, rockabilly, gospel, klezmer, jazz, bluegrass, breakdance, cowboy, polka, tamburitza, old-time, and mariachi to western swing, honky-tonk, beat box, rhythm and blues, and zydeco, as well as traditional music and dance from Cajun, Native American, Celtic, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, Asian, Appalachian, Latin American, African and Pacific Islander cultures. Over three days, audiences will have the chance to see hundreds of artists representing cultural traditions from across the state, nation and the world.

Those interested in performing at the National Folk Festival have two ways to submit their materials for consideration. All artists must follow these guidelines.

When submitting materials, artists must include the following:

  • audio and/or video samples/links
  • biographical information, and
  • press materials.

Note that these materials will NOT be returned.

The PREFERRED METHOD for applying to perform at the National Folk Festival is electronically through

The ALTERNATE METHOD is to mail a hard copy of artist materials to:

NFF Programming Committee

℅ Salisbury Arts & Entertainment District

110 North Division Street

Salisbury, MD 21801

All materials received will be logged in, and will receive a preliminary review to assess quality, authenticity and appropriateness. Qualified submissions will be brought before the programming advisory group for further consideration.

Artists will NOT be contacted unless the festival is interested in pursuing festival performance possibilities. The high standards of excellence to which the National Folk Festival adheres makes the selection of performing artists a highly competitive process.

It is the policy of the National Folk Festival to present an entirely new festival each year, with no repetition of artists.

The Maryland Folk Festival | Salisbury, MD is produced by

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