9/5/2012 - Mountain music has financial impact around Asheville
by Asheville Citizen Times
ASHEVILLE -- Good old mountain music is sounding sweeter than ever, with a just released study showing a $20.7 million financial impact from 26 local traditional music events.
The study, by the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership and N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, also shows traditional music venues and events are big tourist attractions and strike quite a bond with their fans.
The news comes just as Asheville's Shindig on the Green completed its 2012 free outdoor series of shows on Pack Square Park on Saturday. Shindig and its ticketed sister event, the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, pull thousands of fans each summer.
Grammy-winning traditional musician and storyteller David Holt said he was surprised at how much monetary impact mountain music has.
"There are a number of us making a living (playing) it," he said.
Holt, who has been performing since 1972, said there's been steady support for mountain music and interest is spreading beyond its longtime base in the Southeast.
"Music is a big part of cultural tourism, as it should be," he said. "Events like Shindig and the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival keep it vibrant."
The study also showed that nearly 40 percent of respondents said the primary reason for their visit was to attend the music event where they were serveyed.
Nearly 70 percent were full-time residents of the state and 60 percent were from Western North Carolina.
Outside visitors were spending an average of 2.9 nights in the area while attending events where they were surveyed.
Overall, 99 percent of those surveyed planned to return to the same event next year; 65 percent said if these events weren't held here, they would have traveled somewhere else to attend a different event.