History

The festival has been held annually in Downtown Tucson, Arizona since 1974. It was founded by University of Arizona folklorist and anthropologist Dr. James “Big Jim” Griffith, who in 2011 was honored by the National Endowment for the Arts with a prestigious recognition as a “National Heritage” treasure.

TMY is the signature annual event of the Southwest Folklife Alliance (SFA), an affiliate non-profit organization of the University of Arizona, housed within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the designated Folk Arts Partner of the Arizona Commission on the Arts with the support of the National Endowment of the Arts. SFA’s mission is to build more equitable and vibrant communities by celebrating the everyday expressions of culture, heritage and diversity in the Greater Southwest. Its work helps support, honor, and promote the traditional arts and heritage practices of the region and that compliment the festival year-round.

TMY is building a community that respects traditions, culture, diversity and honors the land and environment (“sense of place”) unique to the desert borderlands. We have several ongoing partnerships with other organizations in our region dedicated to fostering compassion, integrity, and stewardship of the land and our Southwestern cultural ways. TMY has had a long history of partnership and shared goals with the University of Arizona.

Want to remember the festivals of the past? Click here to view festival programs from the past decade or so.

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