Goombay_ashvegas_2013Tony Kiss of the Asheville Scene reports:

Asheville’s lively Goombay African-Caribbean street party will not be held this year as the sponsoring YMI Cultural Center instead honors its 120th anniversary with a different celebration.

A music and arts festival will return to the Market-Eagle street neighborhood in 2014, but it may not be called Goombay, YMI chair Sharon West said this afternoon.

The YMI’s Founders Celebration will be held Aug. 22-25 in and around the historic YMI, and will include a history program, a block party with DJs, a 5K run with children’s activities and a gospel concert, West said. “Out of respect, we wanted to celebrate the founding of of the YMI,” she said.

The Goombay festival was held on Market and Eagle Streets for 31 summers and last year pulled about 100,000 merrymakers for three days of drumming, dancing, eating and craft shopping. It had a budget of about $10,000 and broke even, she said.

The 2014 festival will have a wider variety of music, she said. “We want to be more inclusive,” she said. “What about jazz? What about hip-hop? And we want to incorporate West African music.”

The Goombay festival had some issues with paying people a couple of years ago, as I recall. And the YMI Cultural has had shaky finances in recent years. I wonder if finances played some role in what sounds like a downsized event.

This is also the last year for a city-funded Bele Chere summer street party, according to an unofficial decision earlier this year by Asheville City Council.


One Comment

  1. There is precisely a zero chance that they broke even last year. Unless a major sponsor comes along, free events like this are done.

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