September 8-10, 2017
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.
The colorful Festival will feature an eclectic lineup of national, regional, and local music acts. Sunday’s gospel lineup showcases local choirs. Along with the music, see and buy from diverse assortment of craft and food vendors.
The festival will also feature an expanded kids area complete with workshops hosted by LEAF Schools & Streets and Asheville Art Museum. There will be dance performances by local dance troupes. This year's event will be pay homage to over 35 years of Goombay Festival's history in Asheville. Bring your camera for the parade that starts in Pritchard Park at 10 AM Saturday, stilt walkers and more!
Friday: 5-10 PM
Saturday: 10 AM-10 PM
Sunday: 1-6 PM
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.
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.