Many folks know Folkmoot as an international folk festival. We’re proud that the mountains of Western North Carolina welcome the world to our region every July.
But we’re more than the festival.
We’re an educational facility that welcomes diversity and advocates for understanding.
We’re hosts to regularly scheduled “friendship dinners” that bring the world to our table.
We’re a staging ground for “cultural conversations.”
We’re a performance center that hosts all sorts of concerts, all year long.
We’re a special events place that is kid-friendly and lots of fun.
Oh, yeah. We’re a festival, and then some. Lots and lots of “then some.”
Folkmoot is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that fosters the vibrancy of many cultures into one community. Folkmoot programs are based on cultural exchange and designed to build global relationships, foster cultural understanding and develop community prosperity.
- Folkmoot finds strength in diversity and embraces differences.
- Folkmoot recognizes the importance of cultural exchange to create peace, prosperity, and understanding.
- Folkmoot is inclusive and does not represent any one political or religious perspective.
- Folkmoot honors and celebrates creative expression.
- Folkmoot preserves cultural heritage and cultivates opportunities for community education and prosperity.
- Folkmoot recognizes that a community’s arts and cultural assets are a strong tool for economic development and an essential element of sustaining and improving quality of life.
Our vision is to repurpose the historic Hazelwood School, the “Folkmoot Friendship Center” into a multi-stakeholder, year-round resource for arts and cultural engagement, educational enrichment, creative entrepreneurship and community development. We envision a community that welcomes diversity, celebrates multiculturalism, embraces creativity and participates wholeheartedly in the activities that connect us.
Birth of Folkmoot: an Old English word meaning “meeting of the people”
In 1973, Dr. Clinton Border, a Waynesville surgeon, accompanied a local square dance team to a folk festival in Sidmouth, England. There began the dream that would, 11 years later, become Folkmoot USA.
Border was convinced that Western North Carolina, which was already steeped in tradition and dedicated to the preservation of its own heritage, was the perfect location for an international folk festival in the United States. During the next few years, Border traveled to other festivals in Poland and France and began gathering information and developing contacts. He also started contacting local government and community leaders back home.
By 1983, Border was ready to present his vision to Haywood County’s community leaders. Despite language barriers and the inherent scheduling difficulties involved in getting foreign performers from their homes to Haywood County, Border believed something invaluable occurs when cultures so rich in tradition come together to share their lives.
One month after Border’s presentation to community leaders, a board of directors met to launch Folkmoot USA, the North Carolina International Folk Festival.
- Folkmoot USA is a non-profit 501(c) organization that relies upon donations, sponsorships, memberships and grants to provide year-round programming at the Folkmoot Friendship Center and to produce Folkmoot USA, an annual 2-week celebration of global culture.
- In 2003, with Senate Bill 840, the North Carolina General Assembly declared the Folkmoot Festival, the International Festival of North Carolina.
- Folkmoot USA is held annually during the last two weeks of July and brings international folk dancers and musicians from around the world to perform throughout Western North Carolina.
- Approximately 100,000 people attend Folkmoot performances each year.
- Based on a study by Syneva Economics, the Folkmoot Festival attendees create a 9.2 million dollar economic impact in Western North Carolina. This economic activity support 110.7 jobs of Western North Carolina residents and generates 1.27 million dollar in tax revenue related to consumer-driven commerce.
- Folkmoot USA is a member of CIOFF – International Council of Organization of Folklore Festivals and Folk Art, in partnership with UNESCO. There are approximately 9-member countries who meet each year at the World Congress.
- In 2014, Folkmoot was named a Top Ten Festival by USA Today. For 22 years, the Southeast Tourism Society named the Festival, “One of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast” and the Southeast Tourism Society names Folkmoot as a “Top 100 Event in America”.
- Each year, hundreds of groups apply to perform, but only 8 to 10 are chosen. Each year, Folkmoot invites new and different performers.
Are Donations to Folkmoot USA Tax-Deductible?
Folkmoot USA is a 501(c) nonprofit organization. Donations are generally deductible minus the face value of tickets and cost of advertising. Please consult your attorney or accountant on how to maximize the deductibility of your specific gift.