An Appalachian Summer Festival began in 1984 as a chamber music festival and has developed over the years to become one of the nation's largest regional multi-arts festivals with over 26,000 people in attendance each year. Presented by the Appalachian State University Office of Arts & Cultural Programs, the annual arts celebration is held every July on and around the university campus, and features an eclectic, diverse mix of music, dance, theatre, visual arts and film. For nearly a decade, the festival has been named one of the "Top Twenty Events in the Southeast" by the Southeast Tourism Society.
In keeping with its status as a university-based arts program, the festival continually seeks to enlighten and educate—a focus reflected in such initiatives as the festival's discounts for children's tickets and community outreach programs, in which young people are exposed to performances, demonstrations and presentations by artists in partnership with area schools.
Festival Vision: Artistic Excellence, Innovation and Engagement
These three concepts speak to the artistic vision at the heart of An Appalachian Summer Festival. Presenting accomplished and respected performing and visual artists who are regionally, nationally and internationally recognized while providing opportunities for emerging artists has been the key to developing a long history of artistic excellence. While building on this rich history, a commitment to innovation makes the festival fresh and relevant each year. Programming that encompasses interdisciplinary approaches, experimental research, revisiting classics and presenting contemporary works, exploring alternative venues, creating opportunities for interaction with the university community, and commissioning new works in all disciplines makes every season and the Appalachian community a destination for lovers of the arts. A range of educational opportunities including performances, exhibitions, lectures, tours, workshops, student internships and employment provides meaningful engagement for the university and seasoned arts patrons while building new audiences for the future. The festival holds central the belief that access to a strong and dynamic program of artistic excellence in the performing and visual arts is an important component of a vital and healthy community.