Goombay Asheville is the YMI Cultural Center’s annual celebration of African and Caribbean culture in Western North Carolina. The festival returns this weekend, Sept. 20-22, to downtown Asheville’s South Market Street with a new format.
That new format is the Goombay Celebration, which is a partnership between the YMI Cultural Center and the Just Folks Organization, and it will be held in place of the YMI’s annual Goombay Festival, which will return for its 40th anniversary in 2020. The theme of “Bringing it Back to the Block” refers to the fact that Goombay Celebration will be held in the festival’s original location.
The festival will feature an outstanding lineup of local music acts, as well as a wide assortment of local craft and food vendors. The festival hours are Friday, September 20, from 5 pm to 10 pm; Saturday, September 21, from 10 am to 10 pm; and Sunday, September 22, from 10 am to 5 pm. The three-day event is free to attend!
As one of the oldest (if not the oldest) African American cultural centers in the country, the YMI Cultural Center holds the history of Asheville’s Black community, while also supporting and illuminating Black contributions being made today. “The Goombay Celebration will be community-centered,” says YMI Executive Director Dewana Little, “and will highlight the immense amount of Black talent we have here in the city.”
Goombay Celebration partners are LEAF Community Arts, Garnet Prose + Projects, Asheville FM, and Bhramari Brewing Company. Bhramari recently released “Umquombothi,” a traditional African beer, in anticipation of Goombay Celebration. The beer was created with Rayburn Farms, a Black-owned farm, and Riverbend Malt.
Please visit the Asheville Goombay Facebook page for additional information.