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Appalachian Heritage Festival celebrates anniversary with free workshops, concert

ISSUED: 14 September 2021

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The Appalachian Heritage Festival at Shepherd University will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Saturday, September 25. In the past quarter century, thousands of community members, schoolchildren, and students have been introduced to the diverse cultural traditions of Appalachia and West Virginia through workshops, lectures, and concert performances by the region’s most outstanding artists, historians, and cultural ambassadors. In celebration of the festival’s 25th anniversary and Shepherd’s Family Weekend, all events, including the showcase concert, will be free and open to the public.

Rachael Meads, festival director, said the event was started to introduce the Eastern Panhandle community to the traditions and culture of West Virginia and the greater region beyond the stereotypical portrayals often found in pop culture. Over the years, the event has featured more than 70 musicians, poets, writers, and dancers including nationally recognized cultural ambassadors like Jean Ritchie, John Cephas, Walker Calhoun, Ralph Stanley, and Hazel Dickens.

“It has been an honor to broaden our community’s understanding of the rich diversity found in our region and to place it in context of American history and culture,” Meads said.

This year’s program will feature West Virginia old-time musician and National Heritage Award-recipient John Morris; Freedom Songs from the African-American church from Dana Foddrell; and music of the original Carter Family and bluegrass from Linda Lay and Springfield Exit.

Face masks are required inside all campus buildings. Those attending performances in person will be required to follow Shepherd’s current COVID-19 policies. Before attending this or any event on campus, visit our COVID-19 information page to learn what policies are in effect.

Workshop and concert schedule:

For more information about the artists, visit the festival website.

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