The 19th Annual Delmarva Folk Festival and final of the Folk Hero contest hit the stage this weekend in Clayton with all manner of music and activities.

A wooded nook in Kent County with enough room for a jamboree and a surprisingly modern sound system will emit some of the most interesting sounds from the region come this weekend.

The 19th Annual Delmarva Folk Festival will host quite the motley crew of musicians, who will play a little island country, contemporary strings, progressive bluegrass, roots and traditional blues, to name a few genres.

“When we whittled it all down and we finished, we’re just excited about the cool music we were able to bring in,” said Festival Chair Kay Mason.

The festival doesn’t officially start until Saturday, although the Delmarva Folk Hero contest takes the stage Friday evening. Here’s what music lovers should know before they head to either event.

1 Fresh faces, new sounds
“The thing that is exciting to me is that none of these artists have been on our stage, the regional artists,” Mason said.

The board culled through hundreds of applicants — Mason said artists love the down-home feel of the festival — looking to perform, and of those they were happy to book a mix of traditional folk and modern sounds. That includes roots player Emily Pinkerton, whose influences range from North to South America, traditionalist Jeff Warner, quirky maestros of strings Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers, and Roosevelt Dime, which mashes banjo, electric bass and drums with horns and slide guitar.

New vendors will be on hand, too, including a barista, kettle corn and new crafters.

“It’s going to be a lot of fresh faces, we’re pretty darn excited,” Mason said.

2 Delmarva Folk Hero crowned
Two open mic qualifiers have netted six musicians vying for the title of Folk Hero. That will come to a head at Friday evening’s contest, where each musician will have 15 minutes to showcase their best material. Audience members get a say in who wins, so turn out and vote and be there when they’re crowned. Part of the prize package is a longer set at the festival the following day, as well as cash, a photo shoot, recording studio time and more.

This year’s competitors are Jamie Tindle, Brian Kendig, Lauren Ventura, Vin Fischer and Sean Cheezum, and duo Amy & Kelly.

“They have a nice way of mixing the old with the new, and that will be super cool,” Mason said.

3 How to prepare
As usual, the folk festival is a rain or shine event, so plan accordingly. Most vendors and the kids’ tent are out in open fields, with the stage and seating area hidden in a cove of trees. So people should bring a blanket to sit on or a lawn chair, and maybe a lap blanket in case of an evening chill.

Vendors with hot and cold drinks and food will be available, and some people will bring their own, which is fine; just don’t bring any glass bottles.

There are still some camping sites available for RVs and tents, which guests can pay for at the gate or online at

Another thing to take: cash.

“One thing that it’s important to know is that we do not take credit cards at the gate,” Mason said.

4 Kids’ corner
Kids have a tent to themselves at the festival. Artists and crafters will help them with take-home projects like tie-dye T-shirts and face painting. This year, organizers have added wagon rides, too.

At 4 p.m., Jeff Warner will play a concert specifically for the young folks.

5 Picking up new skills
Guitarist Emily Pinkerton, who’s performing on the main stage at 6 p.m., will warm up by giving a workshop at 4 p.m. The workshop is free for folk fest attendees, so anyone with a guitar should bring it along. Pinkerton will lead musicians through basics of South American percussive strumming and fingerpicking.

Email Sarika Jagtiani at