Continuing the Tradition: the National Folk Festival Family
During its three-year stay in various host cities around the nation, the National Folk Festival endeavors not only to present three exciting, culturally rich events but also strives to help each host community create a new traditional arts festival of its own.
The NCTA is proud of its work in fostering new traditional arts festivals that contribute significantly to both cultural and economic life in host communities. It is heartening to see how deeply affected festival audiences are by their encounters with great traditional artists and culture. The enduring appeal of these arts coupled with strong community spirit and sense of local ownership that develops during the National’s tenure, has led to the birth of a remarkable string of new festivals that have grown from the National’s stay in cities across America.
In some locations, the NCTA continues to partner in the planning and production of local successor events. Currently, these include the following annual festivals:
The Lowell Folk Festival is an outgrowth of the National’s stay in the City of Lowell between 1987-1989. Now entering its 30th year, this festival attracts an estimated 175,000+ people annually, and is a highlight of the New England summer festival season. www.lowellfolkfestival.org
Bangor, Maine, the National Folk Festival host city from 2002-2004, has a population of 35,000. In 2002, 80,000 people attended the 64th National Folk Festival in Bangor. Its successor, the American Folk Festival, has become the most popular cultural event in the state, and draws an average of 130,000 visitors annually. www.americanfolkfestival.com
The Richmond Folk Festival debuted in 2008 following a record-breaking attendance of 175,000 at the 69th National Folk Festival in 2007. This highly popular event now attracts 200,000 festivalgoers annually. www.richmondfolkfestival.org
In 2010 in Butte, Montana, 165,000 people attended the 72nd National Folk Festival. Launched in 2011, the new Montana Folk Festival has continued to grow in popularity. In 2014, attendance was 175,000. The festival annually contributes $25-30 million to the regional economy. www.montanafolkfestival.com
Other Festivals in the Family
Other former host cities have continued the National Folk Festival tradition with excellent annual festivals that are now entirely locally produced including:
Flood City Music Festival– Johnstown, PA – 51st, 52nd, 53rd Nationals, 1990-1992
Great Lakes Folk Festival – East Lansing, MI – 61, 62nd, 63rd Nationals, 1999-2001