Dates set for Asheville HATCHfest

Organizers of Asheville’s first, and likely first annual, HATCHfest have settled on dates for the event, which will take place from April 15 to 19, 2009.

The multifaceted festival, modeled on one held in Bozeman, Mont., since 2003, will bring dozens of notable artists and experts to town to work with emerging talents here in Western North Carolina. Programming will cover eight separate “disciplines”: architecture, design, fashion, film, journalism, music, photography and technology.

The Bozeman festival will continue to be held each fall, while the Asheville counterpart will be in spring, for as many as the next 10 years and perhaps more, organizers say.

Over the course of four days and nights, attendees will network, take classes and visit film screenings, fashion shows and concerts. Some events will be ticketed, others will be free to the public. The overall goal, the organizers said in a previous release announcing the festival, is to “foster the growth of creative minds and spur economic development” in the Asheville area.

The HATCHfest board has been working to secure seed funding for the venture, and has obtained donations or pledges from the nonprofit Media Arts Project, AdvantageWest, local music-marketing company Music Allies, Echo Mountain Studios and the Grove Park Inn, among other entities.

According to Alison Watson, a board member who is executive director of the Media Arts Project, HATCHfest has firmed up not only the dates of the first festival but also most of the event venues. The next step, she says, will be to hire an executive director and a development director. Also in the works: the formation of local committees to help decide which national and international luminaries to invite to Asheville to serve as mentors.

Visit the HATCHfest Web site for more information, and look for additional updates from Xpress in the coming year.

— Jon Elliston, managing editor

In the photo, by Jason Sandford, Asheville designer Brooke Priddy fashions a dress on a live model during a recent HATCHfest introductory event at the Grove Park Inn Country Club.

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About Jon Elliston
An Asheville-based mountain journalist: Former Mountain Xpress managing editor. Investigations and open government editor at Carolina Public Press. Senior contributing editor at WNC magazine.

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