National Folk Festival Report Card: Better Than Expected - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

National Folk Festival Report Card: Better Than Expected

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SALISBURY, Md.- The National Folk Festival's inaugural year in Salisbury hosted 60,000 people, about 40-percent of which were from out of state.

BEACON (The Business Economic and Community Outreach Network), an affiliate with Salisbury University, conducted a study on the first year of the folk festival to see what was successful and what should be improved upon for years two and three. 

"In general terms the event did much better than we expected, even with the rain," said Dr. Memo Diriker, executive director of BEACON.

With more than 3 million social media views, Diriker says it proved to be the most impactive way to attract out of state visitors.  And out of state visitors will bring more economic impact to Salisbury. 

"The most impaction outreach is through earned media and social media and we started doing that a little bit late this time because we didn't know what the yield would be," Diriker said. 

Those social media views are worth about $200,000 in traditional advertisement spending.  Local Director Caroline O'Hara said for the 2019 National Folk Festival, online outreach will start even earlier.

Salisbury City Mayor Jake Day said parking and traffic also took impact on the first year.  Unanticipated accidents and traffic caused delays for visitors venturing to downtown Salisbury.

"It certainly makes us cognoscente of some of the outside influencers of traffic beyond people simply arriving to town. So we'll be cognoscente of planning alternate routes and being prepared for dealing with that sort of thing next year," Day said. 

Day said with further developments heading downtown within the next year, the blueprint of the festival will have to be altered for 2019.  Diriker says BEACON will continue its studies for year two and three as a part of SU's sponsorship of the festival.

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