The 14th annual Culturefest World Music and Arts Festival will take over Appalachian South Folklife Center in Pipestem, Sept. 7-10 with a weekend long immersion in the creative arts.
This unique event is a cornerstone of the dynamic creative community in Southern West Virginia. It features three stages of music and dance performances by artists from all around the east coast ranging from Americana and Appalachian Folk to Soul-Rock, Funk and World Fusion to experimental genres like Quantum Dub, plus performance art, performance poetry, fire dance and more. In addition to performances, the festival offers workshops in yoga, drumming, hoop dancing, up-cycled art and more, plus facilitated discussions called “Conversations at Culturefest” on topics such as Appalachian art, cultural exploration, forest farming and healing botanicals. Astronomer Dave Buhrman of WV Sky Tours will be on hand with his telescopes for star and planet gazing and fire spinners will light up the night.
Artisans will vend their wares from handmade clothing to jewelry to fine art and more. The children’s village will feature special yoga classes, found object art, a kids’ costume parade and other activities. Inflatable furniture lounges make relaxing spots to kick back and relax, and provide shelter so the fun can continue in case of rain. Guests may camp on site for the weekend, and immerse themselves in the colorful experience in the beautiful WV mountains, or they may enjoy the amenities of nearby Pipestem State Park. The goal of the festival is to promote unity and respect for diversity, and bring people together though music and the arts in a beautiful mountain setting.
Organizers say they take great care in curating the performance lineup, searching for musicians who have passion and purpose, unique styles and seasoned skills. This year’s performance lineup is, always, stacked with amazing talent:
- Africa Unplugged is a dynamic group, led by djembe master, guitarist and songwriter, Atiba Rorie. The band uses traditional percussion instruments from West Africa in combination with guitars and bass to play traditional rhythms while drawing from influences across the world. Their creativity results in a funky, soulful blues and dance music that keeps the audience moving as they tell stories from the old world and the new.
- Morgantown based Fletcher’s Grove is known for their high-energy shows, mixing a fierce rhythmic foundation, dual guitar solos, and an Appalachian tinged mix of genres that makes standing still nearly impossible. By focusing on musical intricacy and creating seamless improvisation, Fletcher’s Grove has captured the imaginations of thousands in the Mountain State and beyond.
- The music of Gypsy-At-Heart weaves a fusion of eclectic musical genres from East Indian Ragas and Middle Eastern scales, to Latin, European Classical and American Folk. Original compositions take audiences on a musical journey; blending movements that are spacial, and beautiful; flowing into compositions that are breathtaking in intricacy and speed. As Gypsy At Heart musicians reveal progressive, uniquely original soundscapes and arrangements, their original melodies are flavored with a familiarity that touch on timeless music… World Music… indeed Global Music! While most pieces are instrumental, lyrical songs make known deeply thought provoking, inspirational poetry.
- CassiRaye is an emerging artist whose creative vision is as expansive as her soul. Born in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, and strongly influenced by her southern roots, audiences find themselves captivated by her earthy, sensual voice, and her original songs lead listeners into the most intimate depths of the human experience. CassiRaye’s music continues to find its way into hearts across North and South America, and she has been a featured performer at music festivals and concert venues throughout the eastern US, including Culturefest in West Virginia, and BuddhaFest in Washington, DC.
- Option 22 is an eclectic Americana ensemble featuring the original music of the organizers of Culturefest, Lori McKinney and Robert Blankenship, along with dynamically talented artists James Hart, Kayla McKinney and Ary’an Graham. Together, they make up the creative arts collective that is transforming downtown Princeton into a vibrant neighborhood with their music, art and positive energy. Their music is infectious and flavorful, featuring powerful, yet blissfully soothing female vocals atop a steady, dance inducing groove. Positive lyrics inspire unity and call for change. Dancing inevitably erupts.
Other WV acts include: The Change (Funk/Rock), Spurgie Hankins (Soulful Rock), The Kind Thieves (Appalachian JamGrass), The Ball & Chain (Blues/Funk), Whiskey Victor (Indie Folk), The Parachute Brigade (Folk/Americana), Adam Cox & Friends (Folk), The Magnum Opus (Rock), Jermaine Jay Lane (poetry), Crystal Good & Tuesday Taylor (poetry), Kathleen Coffee (Folk), The Gin Mills (Rock/Blues), Liberty High, Tim & Maggie (Folk), The One Voice Project (Rock, Pop), Emmalea Deal and Ashley Adair Surface (Conetemporary Christian/Gospel/Pop/Country). Other out-of state acts include LeAnna and the Garden Of (UniverSOUL), Soul Prospect (Alternative/Rock/Soul), All The Best Kids (Alternative HipHop), Spaceship Earth (QuantumDub), Lucas TheFlow (Liquid Electronic Music) and Ignes Proles (Fire Dance).
Attendees will also have the chance to participate in music making during facilitated drum circles. Late night jams by the fire pit are a popular feature, and guests will encounter opportunities to connect with the performers and workshop providers in a laid back atmosphere throughout the site. A popular Culturefest tradition is the community art boards, which will be available throughout the weekend stocked with paint and brushes, and anyone is welcome to leave their mark. These spontaneous, collaborative works of art are a vibrant centerpiece of the festivities. A variety of delicious food and drink will be available for purchase including but not limited to BBQ, homestyle Mexican, sandwiches, vegetarian options, coffee and ice cream.
Tickets are available online at culturefestwv.com and at the gate; advance tickets are recommended. A full weekend pass costs $50 online and includes all four days’ activities plus camping. Day passes do not include camping. They are $15 on Thursday, $20 on Friday, $25 on Saturday and $15 on Sunday.
Children’s tickets are sharply discounted; see the website for those prices. Kids five and under are free.
The event is presented by LLyniuM entertainment and The RiffRaff Arts Collective with assistance from these sponsors: Free2Luv, Princeton Health Care Center, Princeton Community Hospital, Seaver Funeral Home, Magick and Metal, Star-95, WVVA, Ramey Princeton, Adventure Radio, Little Buddy Radio, Ledger Productions and a host of advertisers.
Additional information can be found online at culturefestwv.com and by calling 304-320-8833.