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ST CROIX — Get ready for the best display of Virgin Islands culture, customs, and tradition at Folklife Festival 2024. Attendees are treated to a showcase of activities that celebrate and promote the rich culture of the Virgin Islands through food, dance, history, and music. Launched on St. Croix in 2022, the festival included a series of workshops that incorporated storytelling, moko jumbie performances, quadrille and maypole dancing, cariso singing and drumming, Crucian cooking, and woodworking.

At the heart of Folklife Festival is the event organizer The Ten Sleepless Knights, Inc. (TSK). This 501(c)(3) non-profit organization was formed by legendary band Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights, who are known around the world for keeping quelbe music alive. This distinctively Caribbean yet uniquely Virgin Islands style of music is the official sound of the U.S. Virgin Islands. This folk music is a form of oral history used to preserve significant historical events, tell stories and jokes, and relay the day-to-day trials and tribulations of island life.

“Our goal, in addition to holding on to what is ours, is to promulgate public knowledge of our culture and increase its visibility,” shared Dr. Stanley Jacobs, founder and band leader of TSK. Split into three distinct parts, Folklife Festival 2024 kicked off in March 2024 on St. Croix with a 2-day event filled with activities that highlighted Virgin Islands culture, followed by a series of presentations and showcases on St. Thomas. The final part, aka “The Last Lap,” takes place on St. Croix as the islands prepare to celebrate Emancipation Day, which is recognized on July 3rd. The first event will be held on Saturday, June 29th at the Frederick Dorsch Cultural Center. Dr. Lauren “Larry” Larsen will lead a presentation and discussion on the “Music of Emancipation” from a historical and cultural perspective followed by a Crucian Food Presentation where panelists will dive into the heart of Virgin Islands cuisine. Doors open at 6:30pm. On Tuesday, July 2nd, TSK will lead a lively tramp from Frederiksted Post Office to the Verne I. Richards Memorial Park from 6:30pm with none other than the sweet sounds of quelbe music filling the air.

Folklife Festival 2024 closes out with a bang on Wednesday, July 3rd at 5pm at the Emancipation Day Music Festival. Local and visiting bands from the British Virgin Islands will grace the stage, belting out their biggest hits; Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights will bring it home with the full band on hand to wrap up the Emancipation Day activities. Admission for all events is free to the public. To learn more about Folklife Festival 2024, visit TSK’s Facebook page at

Written by Anquanette Gaspard