2024: Friday Oct. 4, 7pm + Saturday October 5, 10-4

About the Festival

The Lunsford Festival is an all-day festival celebrating regional music and dance traditions. The event is the second longest-running folk festival in Western North Carolina and was named in honor of Bascom Lamar Lunsford, who was a musician and folklorist who dedicated his life to collecting and promoting the music of the Southern Appalachians.

The festival brings out the region’s finest musicians, ballad singers, and dancers and it happens on the same day as the Madison Heritage Arts Festival, so Mars Hill is abuzz.

Join us in honoring the rich cultural traditions of the Southern Appalachians!

This year, we’ll be kicking off the festival on campus in Moore Auditorium on Friday evening with the annual Ballad Swap. Then, on Saturday, due to construction on campus, we’ll hold our outdoor festival on the soccer fields between the elementary school and the Dr. W. Otis Duck Memorial Greenway. For more information, please contact Leila Weinstein at (828) 689-1115 or lweinstein@mhu.edu.

The Ramsey Center is a proud site on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina.


Thank you to our generous 2023 Festival Sponsors and Partners

Madison County TDA: 2019 Lunsford Festival Sponsors WNCW 88.7: 2019 Lunsford Festival Sponsor

Recover Brands: 2019 Lunsford Festival Sponsor









While you’re waiting for 2023 to roll around, please enjoy the 2020 virtual festival:

Trying out a potter's wheel.

Trying out a potter’s wheel

Bailey Mountain Cloggers

MHU’s Bailey Mountain Cloggers

Young musicians from the JAM Program

Madison County Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) students playing “backstage”

Spinning wheel demonstration

Angel Ridge Farm demonstrates a spinning wheel

Making apple butter

Twirling at the festival


Because campus parking is limited, we strongly urge you to use the shuttle operated by the Madison Heritage Arts Festival. The shuttle will run from 8 am until 5.30 pm between the Ingles on Hwy 213 (where you can park your car) and 213/Cascade Street.