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Greensboro lands National Folk Festival from 2015 to 2017


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Great news for Greensboro. The city lands a national cultural event. Its a pretty big deal. The event will take place in downtown Greensboro. By the second year of hosting the event, two new downtown hotels should be open along with the performing arts center and LeBauer City Park. The 3 day event draws 150,000 visitors (more than the furniture market attendance in High Point) The planned Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts is expected to host some events
Edited by cityboi
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When it comes to Greensboro in 2015, The National Folk Festival will be celebrating it's 75th anniversary so the event will likely be larger than normal. Believe it or not the planned performing arts center helped seal the deal. The national arts committee was impressed in how the community came together to raise such a staggering amount of private dollars through donations for a $65 million venue for the performing arts. It showed them how much our community is engaged in performing arts and it really will put the national spotlight on our new performing arts center as it opens.
The event will showcase many different music genres, such as country, bluegrass, cajun, blues, jazz, gospel, and some international genres. And the National Folk Festival isn't just about music. There will be parades, dance pavilion, regional foods, story telling and traditional arts. It should be a very festive fun event in which I will attend. The event will likely be spread through out downtown mainly along the Elm Street corridor. The main areas of performance will likely be around Center-City Park, the future LeBauer City Park and the future Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts. The Greensboro Cultural Arts Center across from Center-City Park has space for some events as well.  On the other end of downtown, the lot next to Ham's Restaurant and the railroad underpass area next to Natty Green's will likely have performing stages. NewBridge Bank Ballpark, the Carolina Theatre and Triad Stage could be a places to host performances.  Just think if the proposed Rail Yard Park were to be open. It would open up a large amount of public space for such an event and hopefully the folk festival will help move that proposal forward for future bids for the event. And to think, this event will be coming to Greensboro three years in a row. Hopefully it will help inspire our community in having a permanent major focus on the cultural arts in our downtown as well as how we look at public spaces and how they are connected throughout center-city.  In fact, every city that has hosted the National Folk Festival has locally-produced festivals and events that continue after the National moves on, many being statewide events. So folking cool!
Edited by cityboi
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Looks like local foundations will need to pony up some $$$ to get this thing going. As reported in the Rhino Times. Why is it that the N&R, the paper of record for Greensboro does not choose to report on such details as outlined in this article?

The National Folk Festival, which announced on Thursday, May 1 that it has picked Greensboro to host the festival from 2015 through 2017, has a recently troubled financial history. The National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), which runs the festival, lost $100,000 on its 2011 festival in Nashville, canceled its 2012 festival, held only a skeleton, one-day event in 2013 and does not plan to hold a festival this year. The festival costs between $1.2 million and $1.4 million to put on. The NCTA provides $230,000 in technical assistance, including technical expertise and a tractor-trailer full of sound equipment that Olin called a “festival in a box.”

But that $230,000 is off-budget, meaning the funding for each festival comes from donations from local business groups and individuals and in-kind services provided by host cities. The NCTA was cited in the Nashville daily paper, The Tennessean, as suggesting after the 2011 festival that the festival would not return to Nashville unless the local business community got its act together.

At the Carolina Theatre, speakers said the festival in the past has drawn 80,000 people in its first year in a city and up to 150,000 by its third year. The plan is to hold the three-day festival in downtown Greensboro at unannounced dates in the fall of each year. Philion said the NCTA plans to hold the festival in the fall because the weather in Greensboro is more predictable then. The Nashville business community must not have produced the donations the NCTA wanted, because the NCTA canceled the 2012 festival. In 2013, the NCTA held a daylong “74th National Folk Festival Showcase” in St. Louis – not the National Folk Festival, but one part of Fair Saint Louis, the city’s annual Independence Day festival.


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  • 3 years later...

With 300 artists and 7 stages spread all through out downtown, The National Folk Festival wraps up its 3 year stint in downtown Greensboro this September. It was the first time the festival has ever been held in North Carolina. Many cities bid for the festival and some thought Asheville would be a shoe in for it. But Greensboro beat out all the cities. Attendance picked up 35% its second year with 135,000 people. It will likely be on target to surpass 150,000 people (the average attendance the final year in a host city) provided we have good weather like we did the past two years. Thats a big reason September was chosen. The weather is too unpredictable in the spring and summer. Like other cities that have hosted the National Folk Festival, it will be replaced with a statewide festival. The North Carolina Folk Festival will begin it's first year in downtown Greensboro in 2018 and will be of the same calibur and still have many of the same acts that the National hosts. I've been to the festival the past two years and plan on going this year. It really is unlike any festival the city has hosted. A lot of fun, food, beer, wine and good music. It really does have the feel of a major big city festival.  The first day kicks off with a parade and they also have a trolley that helps transport people between the stages. People from as far away as California and Washington State have been coming to the folk festival here in Greensboro. While this will be the last year of the National in Greensboro, the new state festival will still be just as big and draw in the same acts from across the country.

If you haven't been to the National Folk Festival I recommend you bring some friends and come. It will also give some of you who live elsewhere in the state a chance to check out downtown Greensboro.



Cool Short video of the National Folk Festival in Greensboro.


Edited by cityboi
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  • 2 months later...

Don't forget, the third and final National Folk Festival in Greensboro begins this weekend Friday through Sunday. The weather is suppose to be nice all weekend. 

After this year,  the statewide folk festival will take its place in downtown Greensboro like in many cities that have hosted the National Folk Festival. Organizers say you wont be able to tell the difference between the national and the state festival so that it stays on par with the National and generate the same excitement. 



Edited by cityboi
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Had a blast at the National Folk Festival in Greensboro the past two days. I've noticed license tags all across the country including as far away as California. Look forward to this tradition continuing in Greensboro after this year as the North Carolina Folk Festival. Tomorrow will wrap up the National Folk Festival.

















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  • 1 year later...

After the success of the National Folk Festival in Greensboro, the North Carolina Folk Festival calls Greensboro home and it has some major bragging rights. Based on attendance, the North Carolina Folk Festival is ranked as one of the world's largest music festivals. This also makes it North Carolina's largest music festival.

The festival brings in big names like Grandmaster Flash.




Video scenes from the National Folk Festival in Greensboro 


Edited by cityboi
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