Your Chamber at Work…The Dirty Dancing Festival is not cancelled – but has changed its name – explanation and what to expect

By Laura Doster

The intent of this article to alleviate any rumors floating around about the Dirty Dancing Festival at Lake Lure, share the history of the festival, provide a high-level explanation of why – this year – it is not called the Dirty Dancing Festival at Lake Lure, and the exciting news moving forward.

While there was a brief social media post stating the Dirty Dancing Festival at Lake Lure had been cancelled, it did not include the fact we were still holding a Dance Festival, the dates, and what to expect. We apologize, that was an error, and it was quickly taken down. We then wrote a press release to tell the whole story, share when the Dance Festival would take place, what to expect and encourage the fans and new dance genre fans to attend (salsa). Unfortunately, many did not continue to keep up with the “Festival” news, and thought it was completely dropped. Not the case!

Back in 2009, when Patrick Swayze passed, roughly 1,200 fans showed up in Lake Lure to honor him. After all, many scenes in the Dirty Dancing movie were filmed in Lake Lure. While the stairs are in a private, gated community, and have deteriorated, and the main dance hall has burned down, the historic 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa is still here. And so is Patrick’s spirit and the love for this movie and what it represents to many generations. Because of the fans, they inspired the Dirty Dancing Festival at Lake Lure into a reality. Through the years it has grown, improved, and has excited many from all over the world and the USA. During the first several years, our Chamber and Lionsgate entertainment, the production company for the movie and trademark owners of “Dirty Dancing”, worked collaboratively, and in a relaxed manner. However, back in 2018, contact was lost with Lionsgate entertainment and the Chamber obtained a trademark attorney for guidance. Changes were made with naming, logos and branding and the festival moved forward. After 2019, Lionsgate entertainment reached out requiring us to establish contact and a contract if we were to continue using “Dirty Dancing” in our naming convention. Since they have intellectual rights, and after consulting with our attorney, we agreed we need to work together. After a couple of months of negotiations, a contract was executed which was amenable to both parties. Nonetheless, what most do not realize, and without going into great detail, the Lionsgate entertainment team, in alignment with the contract, controlled every single aspect of the festival in 2022. While Lionsgate entertainment was always professional, the controls were painful and burdensome. This year they offered the same contract, however, they were unwilling to relinquish or relax any of their controls. Lastly, with the new sequel being released in February 2024, there were no guarantees what 2024 year’s festival would look like. People have asked, why the change now – what happened? It was the inability, without huge effort and expense, to make and execute decisions without Lionsgate entertainment approval. It has not always been that way and looked to only get more intense once the sequel is released.

Moving forward, it has always been the goal of the Festival Committee to transition the Dirty Dancing Festival at Lake Lure into a huge “dance” festival. To include many genres, different types of music and include several dances like ballroom, Salsa, Shag, etc. We have been asked why we do not have the “dances in the streets at Chimney Rock Village”, like in days past. Short answer, the DOT owns the road and we cannot shut down a major thoroughfare into Chimney Rock Village and Lake Lure. But, it shows us how much people in our area and surrounding areas love dance. Consequently, the board of directors, made the decision to not contract with Lionsgate entertainment and bring forth a bigger, better, more inclusive dance festival than ever before.

Here is what has not changed, we will always honor the fans of Patrick Swayze, the filming of Dirty Dancing here in Lake Lure and Swayze himself. The festival will continue financially supporting PANCAN. The Asheville Ballet loves performing dances from the movie’s genre as well as teaching those special moves. They are a part of the festival’s “family” and are excited to add new dance opportunities each year. This year they will be teaching salsa in addition to their historical dance moves. You not only get to dance, and take lessons, we will have headliner bands playing all day for your enjoyment, including a Latin Salsa Band. Add in the artisans, delicious food vendors and the alcohol garden! Top off the evening with one of the oldest lifts in ballet, the lake lift competition and end the night watching The Dirty Dancing movie.
As Franke Previte says, “Come Have the Time of Your Life”! He and Lisa will be here to serenade you!
Tickets available at

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