As many as a thousand fans of world music and the arts are expected to attend the 15th annual festival being celebrated at the Appalachian South Folklife Center near Pipestem Resort State Park, according to festival organizer Lori McKinney.
"I don't much like to talk about how many people attend Culturefest because the point to me is not how many people attend," McKinney said of the four-day event, which plays out across much of the 65-acre festival ground.
"The goal of Culturefest is to promote unity and respect for diversity and to bring people together though music and the arts in a beautiful mountain setting."
Three stages featuring live music and dance performances serve as focuses in a kaleidoscope of venues that immerse participants in the creative arts. Workshops, classes, and facilitated discussions are carried out among tents alongside artisan vendors.
This year's workshops include yoga, drumming, belly dance, hoop dancing, and up-cycled art, while facilitated discussions, called “Conversations at Culturefest,” explore topics such as Appalachian art, cultural exploration, and finding and following personal passions.
The festival's ever-popular Children’s Village will feature two craft activities daily, including children's yoga classes, a found object art program, a costume parade, and a bounce house.
McKinney said music stages will feature artists from around the East Coast performing everything from Americana and Appalachian Folk to Soul, Rock, Funk, World Fusion, and experimental genres such as "Quantum Dub."
Performance art, performance poetry, and fire dance will also be featured, and astronomer Dave Buhrman of W.Va. Sky Tours will be on hand with telescopes for star and planet gazing.
Attendees will also have the chance to participate in music-making during workshops in West African drumming, Mid-Eastern Doumbek, and Mouth Council, as well as at drum circles in the early evening and at midnight.
Late-night jams beside the festival fire pit are popular events where guests may connect with performers and workshop-providers in a laid-back atmosphere.
Another popular Culturefest tradition, community art boards stocked with paint and brushes will be available throughout the weekend for all who wish to leave their mark.
"These spontaneous, collaborative works of art are a vibrant centerpieces of the festivities," McKinney said.
A variety of delicious foods will also be available for purchase, including, but not limited to, sandwiches, vegetarian fare, and home-style Mexican as well as specialty teas, coffees, and ice creams.
Seven bands to watch for during the festival this year include:
- Appalatin, whose foot-stomping, hip-swinging sound unites Appalachian folk music and high-energy Latin.
- Africa Unplugged, which uses West African percussion instruments combined with guitars and bass to play traditional rhythms drawn from world influences.
- The Company Stores, a folk-fusion band that blends elements of American genres with their own brand of modern styles and rhythms.
- Mystic Warriors, who are dedicated to exposing the essence of Andean Music in a remarkable way.
- The Parachute Brigade, five-piece Indie and Folk Rock band that mixes acoustic Americana and ambient Indie Alt Rock.
- After Jack, a trio that combines expressive songwriting, captivating vocals and a unique take on traditional mountain music.
- Option 22, source of eclectic Americana grooves featuring female vocals that dance atop a world-music assortment of banjo, guitar, didgeridoo, shamisen, and drums.
Other West Virginia acts include Black Garlic (Instrumental Rock Fusion), The Charleston Rogues (Irish Punk & Folk), Kathleen Coffee (Healing Folk), CassieRaye (Post-Ambient Folk), Ball & Chain (Blues/Rock), The Gin Mills (Blues/Rock), Independent State (Americana), James Hart (Blues/Soul), Holly and the Guy (Soul/Pop), Nathaniel Altare & Amy McIntire (Folk), Douglas John (Singer-Songwriter), Liberty High (Unconventional Marching Band), The One Voice Project (Pop/Rock), Jermaine Jay Lane (Poetry), Samadhi Tribal Fusion (Belly Dance), Silly Strings (Old Time), Ashleigh Surface (Contemporary Christian) Tiffany Freed (Poetry) and Tim & Maggie (Celtic).
Other out-of-state acts include Lobo Marino (earth-folk/experimental/indie), Gypsy Funk Squad (World Music), Spaceship Earth (QuantumDub), Richie Olivera (Instrumental Music with Andean Flutes), Groova Scape (Funky Blues/Reggae/Rock), AllTheBestKids (Alternative Hip Hop ), Ignes Proles (Fire Dance), Star Baby & The Rolling Oms (Folk/Hip-Hop), LucasTheFlow (Electronic), J.Q. Yay (Contemplative World Roots Mystic Folk), Mr. Daywalker (Glitter Soul) and Spunday Morning (Indie Rock).
Tickets are available online at CulturefestWV.com and at the gate, and advance tickets are recommended. A weekend pass costs $50 online and includes all four days of activities and camping fees. Day passes do not include camping and are $15 on Thursday, $20 on Friday, $25 on Saturday, and $15 on Sunday. Children's tickets are sharply discounted. (See the website for pricing.) Children five-years-old and younger are are admitted free.
Culturefest 2018 is presented by Llynium Entertainment and The Riffraff Arts Collective in cooperation with the Appalachian South Folklife Center with assistance from WVVA, Star-95, Kiss-FM, Adventure Radio, Little Buddy Radio, Ramey Princeton, Seaver Funeral Home, Princeton Rescue Squad, Princeton Health Care Center, Princeton Community Hospital, Princeton Health & Fitness Center, and a host of advertisers.
Culturefest is also presented with financial assistance from the W.Va. Division of Culture & History and the National Endowment for the Arts with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.
The Applachian South Folklife Center is approximately 15 miles from the I-79 Athens / Concord College exit near Princeton, West Virginia. Additional information can be found online at CulturefestWV.com and by calling 304-320-8833.