Over 138,000 people are estimated to have attended the 76th National Folk Festival in downtown Greensboro from September 9 through 11, 2016, the second year of the Festival’s three-year residency in Greensboro. Attendance for the 75th National Folk Festival in 2015 was estimated at 102,000.
Approximately 300 artists—musicians, dancers, storytellers, and craftspeople—participated in the National Folk Festival, with 122 separate performances by more than 40 different artists at eight outdoor performance venues.
Because the National Folk Festival is a free and un-ticketed event, co-producers ArtsGreensboro and the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) collated figures from the City of Greensboro; Downtown Greensboro; Festival merchandise and beverage sales; and aerial photographs to arrive at the attendance estimate.
“Given the great turnout and enthusiasm for the National Folk Festival’s launch in Greensboro in 2015, we expected attendance to rise this year,” stated NCTA Executive Director Julia Olin. “And did it ever – nearly 40 per cent! It’s a beautiful thing to see the Festival take root in North Carolina. This is just the beginning.”
“What’s not to love about the National Folk Festival? It’s an incredible celebration of both our regional and national heritage in the beautiful setting of downtown Greensboro,” said ArtsGreensboro President & CEO Tom Philion. “Those who discovered the Festival in 2015 clearly spread the word and brought friends and family this year. In its second year, the Festival also drew more attention from across the Southeast, including Charlotte, Atlanta, and beyond. We expect that our growing attendance figures will be particularly helpful in attracting more sponsorship and support to keep the Festival free as we look ahead to September 8-10, 2017!”