This past weekend, a festival full of diverse 21st century American culture visited Salisbury for the second time in two years.
The National Folk Festival made an appearance downtown for its second year in a three-year hosting contract with Salisbury. The traveling festival offered three days filled with 350 diverse artists, delicious ethnic food and a glimpse into Maryland folk life for local residents.
Not only was there music and food to be enjoyed, but there were also folk demonstrations going on all day. Coiling clay lots and creating streamers were two activities that could be enjoyed by people of all ages.
Not only does the folk festival bring an abundance of enriched cultural experiences to Salisbury locals and visitors, but it also brings with it an economic boom. The festival encourages local businesses to come out and participate in the festival as well.
Angello’s Scoops had its grand opening on Friday during the NFF. The festival provided a prime opportunity to reach natives of the city and get them excited about a new ice cream parlor downtown. Lines were out the door as people stopped in to try the newest treat in Salisbury.
This is exactly what the National Folk Festival hopes to do; they are aiming to contribute to community revitalization by bringing people together to have a good time in the place they live.
The success of these community revitalization efforts is notable. The festival experiences a double to triple attendance increase every year as well as an economic impact range from $15-30 million.
This year's festival estimated a grander turnout than last year, with nearly double the amount of people in attendance, according to Delmarva Now.
This event is not only for Salisbury locals, but is also a great opportunity for students at Salisbury University to enjoy an event outside of campus. Senior Nigel Robinson enjoyed the opportunity to discover new genres of music.
“Different music this year,” Robinson said. “I saw gospel yesterday and I also saw some, like, Louisiana Cajun music, someone on a violin and cello jamming. So that was pretty awesome.”
The festival is unique every year in the sense that the artists never repeat during the three-year stay in the city. This offers attendees a totally new and fresh festival experience every visit.
NFF and SU have been working hand-in-hand for the last two years. The event is heavily advertised on campus, and students seem to be taking notice of that. Junior foreign exchange student Abbie McKenzie said she heard about the event from an advisor.
“I heard about it from my advisor of study,” McKenzie said. “We went in, he speaks to every exchange student, talking about what classes to take, and he told us all about what was going on. We also heard about it from a couple of friends who are from America.”
Students and alumni alike bearing SU gear can be seen all throughout the event. The festival offers a fun weekend get away from the hustle and bustle of normal campus life. The folk environment is inviting to locals, visitors and students alike. SU junior Joonas Alliksar commented on the inviting feeling the event gives off.
“It’s very American,” Alliksar said. “There’s a lot of people, everyone seems very happy and it’s a very friendly sort of vibe going on.”
For the second year in a row, the folk festival headed out of town, leaving the Salisbury community members feeling more culturally connected to its roots as well as exposed to new types of music, food and experiences.
By ANNIE GEITNER
Featured photo by Ryan Lacaruso.