National Folk Festival
Greensboro has been chosen from a field of 32 American cities to host the National Folk Festival for a three-year stay in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The announcement was made at a press conference by ArtsGreensboro and the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), who will co-produce the free event in cooperation with the City of Greensboro, the Greensboro Convention & Visitors’ Bureau, Action Greensboro, DGI and other local groups.
The prestigious National Folk Festival is the nation’s longest-running traditional arts event, a three-day free outdoor multicultural celebration of music, dance and traditional arts which historically draws as many as 150,000 attendees by the third year of its residency, along with an economic impact of $15 to $30 million a year. The Festival’s three-year stay will lay the groundwork for a locally produced festival that continues after the “National” moves on.
The National Folk Festival will be celebrating its 76th anniversary in Greensboro September 9-11, 2016.
“On behalf of the City of Greensboro, I want to express how excited and honored we are to host the National Folk Festival,” said Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan. “Greensboro is making a name for itself hosting national events, and people recognize our city’s outstanding hospitality.”
“While the benefits of hosting the Festival are huge for the city and its citizens, “ noted ArtsGreensboro President & CEO Tom Philion, “the benefits to artists and arts groups both here and across the state will be tremendous, making this a true statewide celebration with Greensboro at the center of it.”
Philion added that this will be the first time the National Folk Festival has been presented in North Carolina since its founding in 1934.
Greensboro was chosen in a nationwide competitive process that began last December with a an RFP, and a proposal put together in a team effort led by ArtsGreensboro in cooperation with City officials, the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, Action Greensboro, DGI, and other supporters. Chosen as a finalist in January, NCTA representatives visited Greensboro mid- February to tour the city and meet with City officials and organizers, and hear from a variety of supporters, including surprise performances from Grammy winning singers Laurelyn Dossett and Rhiannon Giddens, among others.
“Greensboro was quite impressive,” said NCTA Executive Director Julia Olin. “There is an amazing community spirit, the kind of energy and enthusiasm that makes for a great partnership and successful event.”
The Festival will bring with it as many as six stages of continuous music, a dance pavilion, traditional crafts, regional food, storytelling, parades and folklife demonstrations to center city Greensboro for this free, three-day celebration, to be presented beginning in 2015 on dates to be announced. With many thousands in attendance each year, the National Folk Festival will become a major new arts destination event unprecedented in the city’s history, at a time when new arts initiatives – including the new Tanger Center – will blossom in front of a national audience.
The Festival is expected to have an annual budget of more than $1 million, which will be financed through a combination of sponsorships, Festival revenue opportunities, and fundraising.
About the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA)
The National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) is one of the nation’s premier non-profit cultural organizations dedicated to the presentation and documentation of folk, tribal and ethnic arts in the United States. Founded in 1933, it is the nation’s oldest producing and presenting organization with such a focus. Its programs celebrate and honor deeply rooted cultural expressions – music, crafts, stories and dance passed on through time by families, communities, tribal, ethnic and occupational groups. The NCTA stresses excellence and traditionality in presenting artists to the public in festivals, tours, concerts, media programs, exhibitions, recordings and other activities, and works in partnership with communities across American to establish new, sustainable traditional arts events that bring lasting social, cultural and economic benefits. www.ncta-usa.org
About the National Folk Festival
Since it was first presented in St. Louis in 1934, the National Folk Festival has celebrated the roots, richness and variety of American culture. Championed in its early years by Eleanor Roosevelt, it was the first event of national stature to present the arts of many nations, races, and languages on equal footing. It was also the first to present to the public musical forms such as the blues, Cajun music, a polka band, Tex-Mex conjunto, Peking Opera, and many others. Today, the National is an exuberant traveling festival, produced by the NCTA in partnership with communities around the country, that embraces the diverse cultural expressions that define us as a people in the 21st century.