June 21st, 2024

National Folk Festival to be held in Mississippi’s capital from 2025 through 2027

By The Associated Press on May 22, 2024.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi’s capital city has been tapped to host the National Folk Festival from 2025 through 2027.

The free, three-day festival is set to be held in downtown Jackson during the second week of November in each of those years and will feature music, art, dance and food from cultures throughout the nation and around the world, The Clarion Ledger reported.

“As we were aiming to be the selected city for the National Folk Festival, part of our charge and part of our effort to entice the selection of the City of Jackson was to make it clear where we have roots in the creation of blues and jazz and genres like gospel music, that this is the opportunity for America’s music to come home to Mississippi,” Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said at a news conference Tuesday. “We want to make it clear that this National Folk Festival is Mississippi’s National Folk Festival, not just the City of Jackson.”

Jackson beat 42 other cities vying to host the event. It is estimated the festival will bring 60,000 attendees in its first year and 100,000 each year after that, Lumumba said. It is also estimated to have a $60 million impact during the festival’s three-year residency, officials said.

The National Council for the Traditional Arts, which created the festival, said t he event first started in 1934 and “is the oldest multicultural festival of traditional arts in the nation, and has been produced from its inception by the NCTA.”

The city did not provide specifics on where in downtown Jackson the outdoor event will be held.

After the three years the National Folk Festival is in Jackson, the plan is to start hosting a locally produced Jackson festival to take its place in subsequent years.

“We’ve seen how the festival can be a drive for long-term economic impacts, downtown revitalization and really a sense of community building,” said Blaine Waide, the executive director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts.

The traveling festival is produced in partnership with communities around the country, according to the NCTA website. To date, it has been presented in nearly 30 cities, with some cities, such as St. Louis, hosting it several times, the site said. The last festival was the 81st and held in Salisbury, Maryland, in 2022, according to the website.

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