West Virginia State Folk Festival celebrates 70 years this June

Music festivals are typically proud to make it to a 10 or 15 year mark, but it’s rare indeed to find one celebrating 70 years like the West Virginia State Folk Festival is doing in 2019. The four day event in Glenville honors the music, arts, food, and culture in this Appalachian community in the north central part of the state.

With the recent emergence of the bluegrass music program at Glenville State College, the festival has tapped the program’s director, Megan Darby, to serve as their President. And this year Megan and students in her program will kick off the 2019 festival with the Official West Virginia State Folk Festival Youth Camp at the school’s Pioneer Stage. The goal, of course, is to help youngsters develop an interest in learning to play bluegrass and old time music.

The festival also hosts a pair of pair of instrumental performance contests each year. On Friday, June 21, they hold banjo and fiddle competitions for those 50 and older, with contests for those below 50 on Saturday.

Darby shared a few details about next month’s events.

I am honored to have been selected as the new President of the West Virginia State Folk Festival.

The festival’s square dances are known to draw some of the best musicians, dancers, and callers in the Appalachian Region. We have an old-time square dance on Main Street each night from 8:00 – 1100 p.m.

Other events include an old-fashioned pie baking contest, wagon rides, old-time games, and lots of other events for family and children. Each year we welcome crafters and demonstrators such as broom making, black smithing, leather work, knife making, quilting, weaving, and more. We hope to expand opportunities by bringing live animals out on the street.

This year we are expanding the festivities to the baseball stadium at the Sue Morris Complex by welcoming vendors who may not make their own crafts. We also hold a Cruise In with vintage cars, and a downtown parade featuring The Belles, ladies dressed as pioneer women, one chosen from each county in West Virginia.

But what I think is most important is that the town of Glenville, and the whole community, is so supportive of old-time, bluegrass, and traditional music – including the culture that created it.”

The West Virginia State Folk Festival runs June 20-23, and is held in a number of different venues in Glenville, including the college. With school out for the summer, accommodations are available in the dorms for festival attendees. For more details call 304-462-6388.

Congratulations for 70 years!

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.