The 2021 Festival Has Been Canceled

Dear Friends,

We have made the difficult decision to cancel the Lunsford Festival this year. With COVID numbers high and local health care infrastructure stressed, we feel it the right thing to do anything we can to not exacerbate the situation. Our festival attracts people from all over the country, and welcomes many in vulnerable populations as performers and audience, including young children and older adults. Additionally, our students help to staff the festival. We want to make sure we keep everyone safe. Mars Hill University remains committed to the celebration of arts and culture and we plan to have smaller outdoor events during the fall to celebrate our rich local traditions. Please keep an eye out for those here or by joining our eNews list here.

We wish you all a healthy fall and look forward to seeing you soon!

In the meantime, take a moment to listen to this Down the Road podcast about the festival, produced by our friends at the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina.


About the Festival

The Lunsford Festival is an all-day festival celebrating regional music and dance traditions. The event is the second oldest 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 and dancers and it happens on the same day as the Madison Heritage Arts Festival, so downtown is abuzz. It includes the presentation of the Lunsford Award, master musician workshops, jams, a ballad swap, and a community dance. Everything is free of charge except for the instrument workshops. Join us in honoring the rich cultural traditions of the Southern Appalachians!

For more information, please contact Leila Weinstein at (828) 689-1115 or

Click here for downloadable Lunsford Festival Map

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


Thank you to our generous 2021 Festival Sponsors and Partners






Madison County TDA: 2019 Lunsford Festival SponsorsWNCW 88.7: 2019 Lunsford Festival Sponsor

Recover Brands: 2019 Lunsford Festival Sponsor









While you’re waiting for 2022 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


Generally, shuttles will run from and to the Ingles on Hwy 213, where you can park your car. They will drop off/pick up in front of Pittman Dining Hall on Hwy 213 on campus from 9am until 5 pm on the day of the festival. Because the Lunsford Festival, the Madison Heritage Arts Festival happen on the same day, we strongly urge you to use the shuttle.