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Music City just got a little more diverse.
No longer just the country music capital of the world, Nashville has been chosen to host next year’s National Folk Festival. The longest running multi-ethnic music festival in the United States—which boasts Native American, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and East Asian music among its offerings—will begin a three-year engagement with the city starting in 2011.
Mayor Karl Dean was pleased with the announcement, saying, ““No city in the United States can match the raw talent, creativity, and long history of making music like we have here in Nashville. You combine that with our growing international diversity and growing recognition and appreciation for the arts, and you have a city that is well primed to host the National Folk Festival and to create an event of a caliber worthy of serving as the celebration of its 75th anniversary.”
Another reason for Dean’s excitement may be the economic benefits of hosting the Festival, which some are predicting will attract upwards of 150,000 attendees and stimulate the local economy to the tune of 15 million dollars.
The three-day festival is free to the public and combines the folk traditions of its host city with larger world traditions, exploring not only different types of music but also of dance, storytelling and most deliciously, food.
This year, the National Folk Festival is in Butte, Montana, from July 9th-11th, and features well-known zydeco, bluegrass and salsa groups. There may be some competition in booking such bands in the future, as Nashville already has started plans to create its own version once the National Folk Festival moves to a new location in 2014.