By Gwyneth Navey
Downtown Greensboro hosted the National Folk Festival for its third con-
secutive year nearly two weeks ago, September 8-10. This is the last year Greensboro will host the national event, as the festival travels every three years to a new city. Next year, the festival will take place in Salisbury, Md.
The three-day-long free event boasted over 300 artists across seven stages performing both modern and traditional music and crafts. The music explored the diverse sounds of America, ranging from traditional jazz of New Orleans and country music of the Deep South to lesser known musical styles such as Egyptian and Sri Lankan dance. The National Folk Festival aimed to represent the diversity and variety of the Greensboro community, which it accomplished by not only including performers from all cultures and walks of life, but also including many different types of art such as dance, pottery, weaving and other crafts.
The music does not stop in Greensboro, though. The North Carolina Folk Festival will replace the national event in Greensboro in 2018. Hosted by the city and ArtsGreensboro, the event will begin on September 7, 2018. According to the News & Record’s Dawn Kane, the North Carolina Folk Festival will aim to attract people to the city and attract national media coverage, while showcasing Greensboro as an active, diverse community with deep roots in music and a great appreciation for the arts.
Tom Philion, the president and chief executive officer of ArtsGreensboro, expects the same size event in terms of artists and attendants as the national event, which is estimated to have generated $15 million in economic impact. Philion even adds that the economic impact of the local festival may grow, since the city is building two new hotels downtown before the event, which will allow for more guests. Additionally, unlike the National Folk Festival, the local festival may attract more attendants by bringing back popular artists that have previously performed in the city. It will be a year before we can truly understand the magnitude of this ongoing event, but so far it is set to blow North Carolina away.