September 1-3, 2023
Enjoy sights, sounds, and tastes of the African Caribbean at Goombay, a free weekend festival in downtown Asheville. Held this year at The Block on South Market Street in the historic district, 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.
Friday: 6-10 PM
Saturday: 10 AM-10 PM
Sunday: 12-5 PM
The colorful festival features an eclectic lineup of national, regional, and local music acts, market, and dance troupes.
Along with the music, see and buy from diverse assortment of craft vendors at the Ethnic Market.
Savor some Jamaican favorites like jerk chicken, ox trail, curry goat and more! Also find food trucks and festival favorites.
Goombay is a cultural expression of a people, enduring slavery days in Bermuda. Both music and rhythm were brought from 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. Oftentimes, grotesque masks help to enhance the free and exotic movements.
Just a few blocks away is the weekly Drum Circle on Friday night.
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 that 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 African-American craftsmen who helped construct the Biltmore House. It became known as the Young Men's Institute or YMI.
Spend a day exploring downtown, with hundreds of locally-owned shops and galleries, museums, restaurants, breweries, and pubs. Visit Pack Square Park, dance at the Drum Circle, go to a festival or… read more
Spend a day exploring downtown, with hundreds of locally-owned shops and galleries, museums, restaurants, breweries, and pubs. Visit Pack Square Park, dance at the Drum Circle, go to a festival or enjoy street performers. See our favorite things to do!