National Folk Festival to Be Held in Nashville for 3 Years

National Folk Festival 2011

The 73rd, 74th and 75th National Folk Festivals will be putting down roots at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park in Nashville (Tennessee, USA) for its free-to-the-public three-day event Labor Day weekend 2011, 2012 and 2013. The 2011 edition will take place September 2-4, 2011

Located in the shadow of the State Capitol in downtown Nashville, the 19-acre Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park was built in 1996 and is a lasting monument to the state’s bicentennial celebration. A living historical feature, the park serves as a tourist destination and education center for all ages.

Just as the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park preserves and highlights the remaining, unobstructed view of Tennessee’s State Capitol, the National Folk Festival preserves and celebrates the roots and variety of American culture we have here in our state,” Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said.

The traveling National Folk Festival is the oldest and longest-running celebration of traditional arts in the nation. Created by the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) in 1934, it celebrates American culture through traditional music, dance, craft, storytelling and food.

Nashville is proud to host the National Folk Festival, which will feature over 250 of the United State’s finest traditional performers and craftspeople, with simultaneous performances on six stages throughout the park. Attendees can dance, engage with master crafts people, shop the festival marketplace and enjoy regional and ethnic food.

Celebrating the arts is a Nashville tradition, and Bicentennial Mall—located in the heart of our city—is a perfect place for a celebration of the traditional arts. I’m proud that the music industry, the business sector, and the nonprofit community came together to bring the Folk Festival to town, and I look forward to enjoying some great performances this Labor Day Weekend.” Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said.

The National Folk Festival also announced another round of musicians and performers that will be on stage in Nashville Labor Day weekend:

Massive Monkees – Breakdance, Seattle, Washington

Rapid-fire headspins, twirling windmills, and breathtaking backspins are the hallmark of breakdance, the exciting, athletic urban dance tradition central to hip hop culture. These young West Coast champions are taking this newer tradition from the American streets to a new level artistry.

Genticorum – Québécois, Montreal, Québec

Bursting with infectious energy and humor, this young French Canadian trio is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant musical heritage and culture of Québec Province through music and song: fiddles, flutes, guitar, mouth harp, bass, high-energy foot-tapping and beautiful three-part harmony singing.

Phil Wiggins & Reverend John Wilkins – Country Blues and Gospel, Takoma Park, Maryland and Memphis, Tennessee

Two country blues masters join forces in a multi-generational exploration that spans the geographical and musical roots of the genre. Rev. John Wilkins continues the blues-based gospel guitar tradition of his father, pre-war blues legend Rev. Robert Wilkins, and harmonica wizard Phil Wiggins is rooted in the Piedmont blues tradition.

Lloyd Arneach – Cherokee storyteller, Cherokee, North Carolina

Master storyteller Lloyd Arneach is a tradition-bearer of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Children of all ages will be enthralled by his traditional stories learned from family and other tribal elders, as well as those he has written himself.

The Shams Ensemble with Özden Öztoprak – Kurdish, Iran and California

This acclaimed ensemble is noted for its powerful music rooted in Iranian Kurdish tradition that features the Kurdish lute, the tanbur. At the festival, the group will be joined by one of the finest Kurdish singers in the U.S., originally from Turkey and now calling the Bay Area home.

Oyama & Nitta – Tsugaru Shamisen, Aomori and Hokkaido, Japan

The modern sensibilities of these masterful young performers propel a 500-year-old Japanese instrument, the three-stringed banjo-like shamisen, into the 21st century, employing flashy finger work, percussive effects and fiery improvisation to create new and startling sounds.

The 73rd, 74th and 75th National Folk Festival in Nashville will be produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts and Nashville Folk and Roots, in partnership with the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, the Arts and Business Council of Greater Nashville, the Nashville Downtown Partnership and the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, in collaboration with the state of Tennessee and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

The National Folk Festival is a celebration of traditional music and cultures from all over the United States. The event is projected to draw 60-80,000 attendees and is estimated to have a $10-$15 million economic impact on Nashville per year.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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