76th Annual National Folk Festival: North Carolina Folklife Area, One State, Many Worlds
The National Folk Festival is one of America’s largest, most prestigious, and longest-running celebrations of arts, culture, and heritage. Greensboro, North Carolina was chosen as the festival’s host location for 2015, 2016, and 2017. The producers of the festival recognized our North Carolina’s unique cultural assets and strong community spirit, and wanted to celebrate the great diversity that makes North Carolina so special.
DISCOVER & IDENTIFY NEEDS
Just what is it that makes our great state so diverse? How does one capture this essence without diluting it’s spirit? That’s where NC Folk gets it right. We drove hundreds of miles of backroads to capture voices of immigrant and refugee communities across the state with the sole purpose of illuminating our state and the many worlds within it. We conducted hours of research and interviews documenting NC culture that would enhance the celebration of the amazing cultural traditions brought to North Carolina through our many international communities.
CREATE PROJECT TIMELINE
Starting in March, 2016, NC Folk started its statewide research and outreach discovering the great international cultural gifts NC has to offer. Within six months, NC Folk, interviewed, scheduled, and executed the largest gathering of international artists ever assembled in NC.
IMPLEMENT & ENERGIZE
NC Folk helped produce One State, Many Worlds, which presented over 200 artists from across the state, and across the globe. Festival goers sampled Lao and Haitian Cuisine, learned Panjabi dance, were amazed by Eritrean bards, marveled at Montagnard weaving and were mesmerized by the story of NC’s first predominantly Latino, state champion youth soccer club.
- In 2016, NC Folk featured over 200 performing, craft and food artists for the festival
- In 2016, NC Folk paid out over $50,000 in artist fees and amenities
- In 2016, festival attendance jumped from 103,000 in 2015 to 135,000, a 30% jump!
Photographs by Zoe Van Buren, Anna Keneda and Evan Hatch
EVALUATE & IMPROVE
There was a tremendous amount of logistics, with ten food demonstrations, nearly 100 performing artists, twenty craft demonstrators, eight workshops and a lowrider car show but with a dedicated staff working together and with good communication – and a plethora of talent, any festival can be achieved.
The North Carolina Arts Council partnered with NC Folk on the 2016 National Folk Festival, relying on NC Folk for curation, local arrangements and festival marketing texts. NC Folk exceeded curatorial expectations with creative planning, vigorous exploration of the festival’s themes, intense communication with performers and exhibitors, and excellent organizational skills.”
~ Sally Peterson, North Carolina Arts Council