What to Expect

Folk music festivals are held each year in some of the largest cities across America. Many of these festivals have rich histories that date back 50 to 70 years or more. Those heading to a festival for the first time may not know what to expect or how this type of event works. The tips below will give you some insight into what goes on at a folk music festival and what you can expect from the experience.

Music and Dancing

Naturally, you should expect plenty of music to be played at the festival. Folk music festivals, much like other music festivals, will typically have multiple stages that feature a number of different artists. Be sure to check out the event schedule to see when your favorite artists are playing and on which stage.

Music can be heard off the stage as well with many attendees bringing their own instruments and playing on festival grounds.

While folk festivals are not quite as energetic as other music festivals, you should expect to see plenty of dancing. There may be scheduled dance performances that feature beautiful costumes, or you may just see festival-goers dancing along with the music being played on stage.

Food and Drink

What would a festival be without food and drink? Vendors typically set up shop during these events to offer a wide range of different festival foods and even exotic cuisines. In some cases, festival-goers can also enjoy beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages as well.

Special Programs and Activities

In addition to live music, festival-goers can also participate in a number of special programs and activities. Some are geared towards children, while others aim to educate attendees on the history of the folk music genre. These workshops may also focus on one particular sub-genre of folk music, or a popular instrument.

A marketplace may also be available where event attendees can purchase souvenirs or unique gifts. Folk music festivals are not just about celebrating music, they are about celebrating culture as well. Arts and crafts marketplaces will often feature handmade items including jewelry, soaps, art and more.


Camping and folk music festivals go hand-in-hand. Camping grounds may be onsite or at a nearby location. Oftentimes, campgrounds will have their own set of food vendors and special services that are shared by members of the community.

Relaxed Atmosphere

One thing that makes a folk music festival unique is its relaxed atmosphere. Most performances are enjoyed by seated audiences with plenty of room to breathe. This allows attendees to truly enjoy the music and the entire atmosphere of the festival.

A folk music festival is truly a unique experience and one of the best ways to experience live folk music from some of your favorite artists. While you may have an idea of what most festivals include, always expect the unexpected. Some artists wind up performing extra sessions or impromptu guests may show up to surprise and delight the audience. Of course, you also have the chance to make some great new life-long friends too.