Press Releases

Nashville To Host National Folk Festival

Press Release from the Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s office, March 10, 2010:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The National Council for the Traditional Arts announced today with Mayor Karl Dean and Compass Records Group that Nashville has been selected as the host city for the National Folk Festival in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The “National” is the oldest and longest-running multi-ethnic traditional arts festival in the nation. This moveable exposition of traditional music and culture will be presented in downtown Nashville for three consecutive years, with the final year in Nashville marking the Festival’s 75th anniversary. Nashville won this honor in a competitive process involving 40 cities across the nation.

“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,” Mayor Dean said.

The National Folk Festival effort in Nashville will involve the entire community and bring together many diverse groups to work toward the common goal of building the festival. An estimated 800 volunteers will work with festival planners, city employees and community leaders, creating an event that will bring the region numerous benefits.

The festival is expected to draw upwards of 80,000 attendees in its first year, increasing to over 150,000 by year three and is expected to have an estimated $10-15 million in economic impact per year. The National’s stay is also intended to lay the groundwork for a new annual festival that will continue in Nashville after the National moves on in 2014.

For over 70 years, the National Folk Festival has provided a way for people to embrace the cultural traditions that define us as Americans. This three-day free, public outdoor event celebrates the roots, richness and variety of American culture through music, dance, traditional craft, storytelling, food and more.

With downtown Nashville as the backdrop, audiences can expect a diverse array of continuous music and dance performances by the finest traditional artists from all parts of the Nation, a Tennessee Folklife Area with craft demonstrations, exhibits and stage presentations focused on the heritage of the region and state, a Family Area, regional and ethnic food courts, and a festival marketplace offering fine handmade regional crafts.

The festival will shine a light not only on the traditional roots of music that has made Middle Tennessee world famous, but also on the musical and cultural traditions of immigrant groups new to Nashville and the region, with the goal of reflecting the increasingly multi-cultural character of the city, state and nation.

Nashville’s National Folk Festival will be operating as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and will be produced in partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville, and the Compass Records Group. A fundraising effort to support the festival is underway and both corporate and private sponsorship are being sought.

For more details, visit,, send an email to or call the Compass Records Group at (615) 320-7672.

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