Festivals & Cultural Events Support Fund

Background and Goals of the Festivals & Cultural Events Support Fund Grant Program

The Festivals & Cultural Events Support Fund 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.

The Festivals & Cultural Events Support Fund uses a competitive application process. The number of grant awards is limited by available funds, which will vary from year to year and does not have to be fully appropriated. Available grants awards 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.

Source of Funding

A bill filed in June 2022, by Senators Chuck Edwards, Warren Daniel, and Julie Mayfield and passed as HB1057 (effective July 2022) changed the occupancy tax split from 75% to be invested in travel promotion and 25% for community capital projects, to a split of two-thirds/one-third, increasing the percentage for community capital projects. This legislation also expanded the use of the travel promotion portion of occupancy tax revenue to be used to further the development of events in Buncombe County. Prior to FY24, the Festival & Cultural Event Support Fund was funded through advertising sales and reservations booked on ExploreAsheville.com.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility:

  • Must be a federally recognized non-profit organization based in Buncombe County (If the applying organization is not a non-profit organization, the applicant may use a fiscal agent for their application. The fiscal agent must meet all applicant eligibility criteria.)
  • Organizational mission must be to conduct programs that benefit Buncombe County residents and visitors and have the potential to enhance the culture and vitality of Buncombe County

Event Eligibility:

  • Event must take place within Buncombe County
  • Event must occur between January 1, 2024, and December 31, 2024
  • Monday, September 25, 2023: Online application portal opens for events taking place in 2024
  • Friday, October 27, 2023 | 5:00 p.m.: Deadline for application submissions; online portal closes
  • Wednesday, November 29, 2023 | 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.: Meeting of the BCTDA, where grant awards were approved and announced
Festivals & Cultural Events Support Fund Grant Awards