Folk Life Festival

Celebrating Virgin Islands National Park’s
30th Annual Folk Life Festival 2021
“Passing It On To Another One”

Virgin Islands National Park’s Annual Folk Life Festival celebrates and promotes the rich culture of the Virgin Islands. This year’s event marks the 30th year of the annual festival. To honor the hallmark anniversary, in partnership with Virgin Islands National Park Service (VINP), the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park (Friends) and its media sponsor WTJX have created a timeless interpretation of the festival as told by the performers and artisans who bring it to life year after year in a film. 

Be sure to watch this mini-documentary that weaves together inspirational tales told by Virgin Island culture bearers who have participated in the festival through the years in colorful interviews and demonstrations of their expertise in the cultural arts, music and crafts of the Virgin Islands. The interviews are heartwarming and the performances inspiring whether it is your first Folk Life Festival, or you are taking a trip down memory lane. From learning about the history of the Mocko Jumbie from Mr. Allan “Yisreal” Peterson to the ways in which Ms. Shandis B. Davis’ family Maubi recipe gets passed along, you will be intrigued and inspired!

Opening the stage for the festival performers is VINP Superintendent Nigel Fields who reflects on the festival and its purpose, “You can find cultural treasures of thousands of years of history and of lived experience here in Virgin Islands National Park. They speak to us, they embolden us, they inform us, and they steady us. The purpose of the Folk Life Festival is to share our park through the lens of this vibrant Caribbean culture, so you may see, imagine, and experience the lifeways of an indomitable people.”

Special thanks to the culture bearers, performers and artisans who participated in the making of the film – and for their dedication to keep Virgin Islands culture alive for generations to come! As you bring the past to our youth today, so do you ensure a strong, bright future built upon the ancient knowledge of our ancestors! Additional gratitude to Aariyah Athanase, FriendsVINP AmeriCorps Steward, VINP Ranger Golda Hermon, VINP biotech Keryl Liburd (Aperture VI), and videographer Bill Stelzer for their talent and attention producing the film. The film would not have been made possible without the support of our sponsors WTJX/NPR for the Virgin Islands, the US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism and the Virgin Islands Council for the Arts.

Live Happenings

This year’s Folk Life Festival offered a limited live element at select historic sites in the park on Friday, February 26! The 2 locations where events were held, Annaberg and Peace Hill, offer ample space to follow social distance guidelines and visitors safely enjoyed music, dance, storytelling, along with Moko Jumbies.

Video title screengrab

Passing It On To Another One: Folk Life Festival 2021 Documentary

Enjoy this illuminating celebration of the cultural gifts of the Virgin Islands.

VINP Folklife Poster2021

Commemorative Poster

This year's poster is a collage of posters from year's past designed by St. John artists.  It is available in the Friends stores in Mongoose Junction and the VINP Visitors Center as well as online.

A look back at Folk Life Festival 2015

video provided courtesy of the NPS and Esther Francis