September 12-14, 2014
Enjoy sights, sounds and tastes of the African-Caribbean at Goombay, a free weekend festival in downtown Asheville. Held this year at Pack Square Park, Goombay brings a variety of entertainment including dancing and the beating of West African drums ringing with the harmonic live music featuring gospel, reggae, funk and soul.
Goombay was not held in 2013. An expanded festival returns this year at a new location at Pack Square Park with an eclectic musical lineup of national and regional acts celebrating African and Caribbean culture; a diverse assortment of craft and food vendors; an expanded kids area with workshops hosted by non-profit organization LEAF in School and Streets; dance performances and competitions; and much more!
Goombay is as a cultural expression of a people, erduring slavery days in Bermuda. Both music and rhythm were brought form Africa and West Indies. The original dancers used a skin-covered drum that was called "Gombey" meaning rhythm. In the Bahamas the word is "Goombay" and in Jamaica, the dance is known as "Gumbay". The Goombay dancers wear colorful costumes and high headdresses topped with feathers. Often times, grotesque masks help to enhance the free and exotic movements.
New this year, Goombay will be part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move health initiative with demonstrations from vegan chef and author Bryant Terry. And don't miss the Goombay Dance Off competition on opening night. The fun Goombay Parade on Saturday morning will run from Pack Square to the Roger McGuire Green at the other end of Pack Square Park. Live music features Lyric, Jonathan Scales, Zansa, Reggaeinfinity from South Carolina and the 101 Runners Mardi Gras Indians band.
Goombay is typcially held on Market Street at the YMI Cultural Center, but it's moving this year due to construction in that area.
What is YMI Cultural Center?
The YMI Cultural Center is located on the corner of Eagle and Market Streets in downtown Asheville. The YMI Cultural Center is an enduring asset in the City of Asheville. Housed in a local landmark building which is on the National Register of Historic Places, the YMICC runs programs in cultural arts, community education and economic development. Commissioned by George Vanderbilt in 1892, this beautiful, multi-level 18,000 square foot, Tudor-style structure was built by and for the several hundred Negro craftsmen who helped construct the Biltmore House. It became known as the Young Men's Institute or YMI.