Musicians perform for a late night crowd at the North Carolina Folk Fest Blue Cross Blue Shield City Stage.
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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Confirmed as 2019 CityStage Sponsor

The North Carolina Folk Festival began four years ago as the National Folk Festival, a FREE three-day event that was in residence  in downtown Greensboro from 2015 to 2017. Picking up where the National left off, and now celebrating its second year, the North Carolina Folk Festival remains completely FREE to attend thanks to many different kinds of donations: of money, of time, and of items. This is especially impressive because each festival weekend generates about $15 million worth of economic impact for Greensboro’s community.

Unlike other music festivals that rely on the sale of admission tickets, the NC Folk Festival provides a weekend of diverse, high-quality, multicultural performances at no cost to its audience. The festival must raise the dollars needed to produce the event through grants, sponsorships, volunteers, donated supplies, fundraising events, and individual donations (including a $10 per day suggested donation during the event). 

One of the sponsors that has supported the NC Folk Festival since its beginnings in 2015 is Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), which will again sponsor the CityStage for this year’s festival weekend from September 6th–8th. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield NC CityStage is a festival focal point, and will host many performers throughout the three-day festival weekend.

On hand at CityStage and throughout the festival site, the volunteer-staffed Blue Bucket Brigade will offer attendees a convenient way to support the festival by dropping cash donations into their blue buckets. A new donation method will be added during this year’s festival as well: the DipJar. DipJars are small devices into which festival attendees can dip their credit cards in to make a donation—no PIN number or signature required. In addition, online donations are open for anyone interested in supporting the festival instantly. 

The Blue Bucket Brigade is a piece of an even larger group of donors to the festival: volunteers. The festival’s 1,000+ corps of volunteers donate their time to ensure the festival runs smoothly, doing everything from transporting performers to helping festival attendees navigate around the festival’s many stages. The North Carolina Folk Festival’s volunteer sign up is open, inviting everyone to come and be a part of the behind-the-scenes experience. In particular, the operations crew is looking for volunteers to help build the festival’s infrastructure (tents, signs, etc.) in the weeks leading up to the festival.

One of the most integral aspects of the N.C. Folk Festival is the operation crew’s stage build-out and break-down. This job is no easy task. However, there’s another way to donate that can help the support crew: wishlist donation. The N.C. Folk Festival has an Amazon Wishlist that is easy to use. Simply purchasing items from the wishlist will send them straight to the festival’s headquarters. This is an opportunity to clean out your garage as well, because the N.C. Folk Festival is also accepting gently used tools and supplies. Drop off items you no longer need to help keep the festival free for years to come.

In addition to volunteering time to donating money, sponsorships are another way that the festival is supported. They come in two tiered packages, with many perks and opportunities available for sponsors at each price point. They are a great way to support the N.C. Folk Festival’s FREE program and the Greensboro community, while also receiving acknowledgement and brand visibility during the festival. Sponsors have the opportunity to bring even more to the festival through their partnership, such as Blue Bucket Brigade Match Challenges, interactive booths on site, and unique giveaways. Sponsors help make this three-day event possible, and enliven the festival experience each year. This year, the festival is excited to bring two new fundraising events to the festival community: the N.C. Folk A’Fare and The Lounge at NAI Piedmont Triad.

The N.C. Folk A’Fare is a culinary extravaganza that brings the multicultural flavors of local Greensboro restaurants and caterers to one place for an evening of food and fun. Tickets have limited availability and are $100 each. The Lounge at NAI Piedmont Triad will offer its members access to an exclusive indoor lounge during the three-day festival that is full of hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine, and spirits, but also perfectly positioned to enjoy the sounds and sights of the Lee Wrangler Stage. There is a limited amount of weekend passes available for this event as well, with one weekend pass being $125, and two weekend passes being $200. Both of these events are ticketed so that all ticket sale proceeds can go directly to supporting the North Carolina Folk Festival. These fundraising opportunities are an example of one of the many ways that the festival gives back to its supporters—with unique events that showcase the global culture of Greensboro.