• May 23, 2024
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – For the first time ever, you’ll be able to see the National Folk Festival in Jackson, but also for the first time in the state of Mississippi.

Out of 42 cities across the country, Jackson was chosen by the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) to host the festival for the next three years.

The event will last for three days each of the three years it will be hosted, and Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba says it’s expected to bring tens of thousands of people to the capital city.

“We truly believe that this event, which is estimated to bring 60,000 people in its first year… and estimated 100,000 people each year subsequent to that. So, this is not only an opportunity for us to celebrate [and] enjoy one another and America’s music, this is economic development for our city,” he said.

The mayor’s wife, Ebony Lumumba, serves as a co-chair on the city’s festival committee, alongside the First Lady of Mississippi, Elee Reeves, who serves as the second co-chair.

Ebony Lumumba says the festival will be free, inclusive, family-friendly, and more.

“During the three-year residency here in Jackson, everyone will see something of themselves represented in the festival performances,” she said. “It’s a festival that celebrates the roots, richness, and variety of American culture.”

While many at Tuesday’s press conference were excited about the event itself, Ebony Lumumba reinforced how much of an economic impact the festival will have for Jackson.

“This is a little bit of what Jackson can expect over our three-year residency… over 330,000 visitors to the downtown area during our three years… over $60 million in long-term economic impact,” she said.

Blaine Waide, who’s the Executive Director of NCTA, also shared what it means to bring the 82nd, 83rd, and 84th National Folk Festival to Jackson.

“If it wasn’t for their hard work, dedication, and belief in this effort, we would not be here today,” he said.

Waide praised the festival for the amount of cultural involvement it will bring to those looking to attend.

“This is how we need to be thinking about American culture,” he said. “That all of these people make up the wonderful fabric and quilt that we have. So, we like to say that each festival is a snapshot of American culture at any given point in time.”

He says the festival will feature plenty of things for you and your family to explore.

“There’ll be up to six stages downtown, and there’s going to be something for everyone,” he said. “There’s going to be parades and participatory dance, a family activities area, regional and culturally diverse foods, crafts marketplace, and there’ll be a dedicated area of the Mississippi folklife area to the culture of Mississippi.”

The National Folk Festival is scheduled to begin in November 2025.

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