by Tracy Moore
You may have heard that today Mayor Karl Dean was going to announce "a new, free music and arts event starting summer 2011 that will highlight and celebrate Nashville's unique mix of musical talent and genres." Well, he did. It's the National Folk Festival, an outdoor, location-jumping festival -- currently being held in Butte -- that claims it's the longest-running such event in the country. The festival also boasts providing the first national stage for the blues, Cajun music, a polka band, and more. Nashville competed against roughly 40 cities and won. We will play host for three years, the last of which culminates in the festival's 75th anniversary. The event will be free and held downtown over six stages. Fun fact: Apparently, the festival came here once before in the '50s. Any Cream readers remember that? Heh. Press release excerpts after the jumperino.
The National Folk Festival effort in Nashville will involve the entire community and bring together many diverse groups to work toward the common goal of building the festival. An estimated 800 volunteers will work with festival planners, city employees and community leaders, creating an event that will bring the region numerous benefits
The festival is expected to draw upwards of 80,000 attendees in its first year, increasing to over 150,000 by year three and is expected to have an estimated $10-15 million in economic impact per year. The National's stay is also intended to lay the groundwork for a new annual festival that will continue in Nashville after the National moves on in 2014.
With downtown Nashville as the backdrop, audiences can expect a diverse array of continuous music and dance performances by the finest traditional artists from all parts of the Nation, a Tennessee Folklife Area with craft demonstrations, exhibits and stage presentations focused on the heritage of the region and state, a Family Area, regional and ethnic food courts, and a festival marketplace offering fine handmade regional crafts.