Note: Quarterly requests for sponsorships are a different process than the annual application process for grants from the Festivals & Cultural Events Support Fund. Scroll down to bottom of page to request sponsorship support.
Background and Goals of the Festivals & Cultural Events Support Fund Grant Program
The Festivals & Cultural Events Support Fund Grant Program was launched in 2016 by the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA) and is designed to provide financial support for events that serve both the residents of Buncombe County and the visitors who travel to the Asheville area for the sense of authenticity and welcoming spirit that the destination exudes.
The primary purposes of this fund are to:
- Support and preserve cultural identity within Buncombe County;
- Stimulate the creation of new or expansion of existing festivals and cultural events; and
- Contribute to the financial viability and long-term sustainability of the area’s festivals and cultural events.
Source of Funding
The BCTDA’s sales and marketing programs are funded by the occupancy tax, which is governed by North Carolina law. The law does not provide for funding the operations of individual festivals or cultural events.
Revenue earned through advertising sales and lodging reservations booked on ExploreAsheville.com is dedicated to the Festivals and Cultural Events Support Fund. Occupancy tax revenue is not used in this program.
Available grants for Festivals & Cultural Events range from $1,000 to $5,000, not to exceed 50% of the total event budget. The number of grants awarded is limited by available funds.
Annual Festivals & Cultural Events Grant Program Timeline
The following dates apply for events taking place in 2023:
- August 29, 2022 | 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.: Informational Webinar via Zoom – register here>>
- August 29, 2022 | 5:00 p.m.: Online application portal opens for events taking place in 2023
- September 27, 2022 | 5:00 p.m.: Deadline for application submissions; online portal closes.
- October 26, 2022 | 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.: Meeting of the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, where grant awards will be approved and announced.
- Calendar Year 2023: Funds will be disbursed to individual grantee organizations following the successful completion of their events.
Downloads & Online Portal
- Festival & Cultural Events Support Fund Program Guide for 2023 Events – to come
- Sample Grant Application for 2023 Festivals & Cultural Events Support for 2023 Events – to come
- Online Portal to Apply for Grant Support for 2023 Festivals & Cultural Events- to open at 5 p.m. on August 29
Past Festivals & Cultural Events Fund Awards
- 2021 Festivals and Cultural Events Support Fund Awards
- 2020 Festivals and Cultural Events Support Fund Awards
- 2019 Festivals and Cultural Events Support Fund Awards
- 2018 Festivals and Cultural Events Support Fund Awards
- 2017 Festivals and Cultural Events Support Fund Awards
In addition to funding Festivals & Cultural Events through earned revenue, the BCTDA offers sponsorship funding to Buncombe County-based nonprofits providing professional and community development opportunities that serve the local community including tourism partners. Opportunities must be in alignment with at least one of the BCTDA’s Strategic Imperatives to be eligible for and receive funding. The Strategic Imperatives are included in the application below.
Applications may be submitted at any time; however, requests are reviewed on a quarterly basis as follows: February 15, May 15, August 15, November 15. Funding decisions will be determined, and notifications sent to applicants within two weeks of quarterly review dates.