Salisbury to Host National Folk Festival, 2018 Through 2020 - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury to Host National Folk Festival, 2018 Through 2020

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Monday's press conference announced the City of Salisbury will host the National Folk Festival from 2018-2020. (Photo: WBOC) Monday's press conference announced the City of Salisbury will host the National Folk Festival from 2018-2020. (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.-  Salisbury Mayor Jake Day announced Monday that the city has been named the official 2018 – 2020 National Folk Festival Host City.

According to city officials, Salisbury was among 34 cities nationwide that competed for the honor of hosting the nation’s preeminent traveling celebration of traditional arts and culture for a three-year stay in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The City of Salisbury and the National Council for the Traditional Arts made the joint announcement at a Monday press event in Downtown Salisbury. The Festival will begin its three-year stay in Salisbury in September of 2018.

The 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 and culture, which historically draws upwards of 150,000 attendees, along with an economic impact of approximately $30 million a year, officials said.  

Produced by the non-profit National Council for the Traditional Arts, the National Folk Festival has been presented in 28 cities across the country, from Chattanooga to Nashville, Richmond and Greensboro, since its inception in 1934.  The NCTA partners with communities across the nation to present the Festival, which is free to the public, for three years with the understanding that the local host community intends to continue its own festival once the National moves on to its next site.

During the month of February, representatives of the NCTA visited Salisbury to evaluate the city and determine its suitability for the multiple-stage event.  

“We were so impressed with the dynamic energy evident in Salisbury, a collective will that is propelling the community in exciting new directions,” said NCTA Executive Director Julia Olin. “Clearly, if you want to be where the real action is – and we do – it is in a city like Salisbury with a creative, holistic vision for its future. We look forward to a great partnership and successful festivals that celebrate the richness and variety of American culture writ large, and the vibrant regional culture of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, right here in the heart of the historic Delmarva Peninsula.”

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 Downtown Salisbury. Officials said that with well over 100,000 in attendance each year, the National Folk Festival will become a major new arts destination event unprecedented in the city’s history.

“For a decade now, with 3rd Friday and events like the River City Arts Jam and the Shore Craft Beer Fest, we have thrown our arms wide and embraced the arts community in the heart of our City,”  Day said.  “With this announcement, the City of Salisbury redoubles its commitment to being the cultural heart and soul of Delmarva and—for the three years from 2018 to 2020—the entire country. Salisbury has long been eager to, and is now proud to step into the national spotlight.“

Day said the National Folk Festival’s residency will strengthen the city's partnerships with its cornerstone arts and cultural organizations such as Salisbury University’s Music, Dance and Cultural Affairs departments, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Salisbury-Wicomico Arts Council, Community Players, the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra, the multiple local dance studios and the Academy of Music Performance.

"All of these organizations will benefit from having this festival right here at home, and they will all benefit from the community outreach which the NCTA has built into the National Folk Festival," Day said.  “This isn’t just a one-time event – it is a series of events which has the potential to bring 150,000 or more people to the heart of the city, and pump tens of millions of dollars into our economy.  It is a cultural experience that will enrich our children, and leave a new, annual event in its wake, continuing that enrichment for years to come. 

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