2020 Folkmoot International Festival cancelled

The 37th annual Folkmoot International Festival, scheduled for July 18-26, has been cancelled, due to uncertainty created by the spread of COVID-19.

The Folkmoot Board of Directors made the decision at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 25, after considering the costs, complications and growing consequences of the public health crisis.

“There are a lot of logistics involved in planning and orchestrating a 10-day festival with numerous performances, a variety of venues and artists coming from around the world,” said Folkmoot Executive Director Angie Schwab. “Due to the uncertainty of limitations on public gatherings, travel restrictions and the general health and well being of our community, we have decided to cancel this year’s festival.”

Folkmoot, a year-round arts and cultural center based at the Historic Hazelwood School in Waynesville, has cancelled or postponed over 30 other events in 2020 because of the crisis, ranging from concerts and festivals to lectures and dinners. Folkmoot hopes to reschedule many of the events later in the year, circumstances permitting.

The summer international festival, launched in 1983, is the organization’s signature event. Teams of musicians and dancers from across the globe make their home base in Waynesville and perform at venues from Cherokee to Hickory. More than 8,000 international performers from 200 countries have participated through the decades.

COVID-19: A request for contributions from Folkmoot

Everything about this moment is surreal, isn’t it? 

We write this on a gray afternoon at the unusually quiet Folkmoot Center, and, like you, we’re worrying about friends, family and what the next weeks will bring.

Just one month ago at Folkmoot we celebrated the launch of our 2020 program schedule – our broadest ever – and looked forward to a fine-tuned international festival in July. Now, over the last three weeks, since we’ve come to understand the potential impacts of COVID-19, we’ve cancelled 25 events and laid off most of our employees. 

We count ourselves fortunate that our staff and their families are healthy, for now, and hope you and your loved ones are safe, too, but we ache at the distress this crisis will cause within the community we love. We worry also that Folkmoot, founded in Haywood County 40 years ago and located at Historic Hazelwood School for 20 years, is in danger of folding.

Since 2015, we’ve made bold steps in new programming, from concerts to lecture series, and from literary arts to friendship dinners; we’ve even added three new signature festivals, Cherokee World Games, Mootenanny and Folkmalt. We’ve staffed up to do this work and invested almost one million dollars of your community donations into the renovation of the Center. You have supported this transformation through contributions of time, talent and tickets, and now the ticket revenue has disappeared. 

To survive, we’re using our spring newsletter to the Friends of Folkmoot – normally a celebration of the year’s promise – to ask for a lifeline. We know we must make adaptations to navigate this situation, including transforming or perhaps rescheduling the 37th annual summer festival, a mountain tourism staple since 1983.

Fortunately, we know how to operate on a tight budget, and we believe sponsors will re-commit when the virus subsides. But the fact remains that once the crisis passes, the ramp-up and re-staging of events will be costly, and we can’t reasonably operate during intervening months with little or no revenue.

We hope that those of you who appreciate our long history and who want Folkmoot to survive will lend a helping hand. It’s a stressful time for many, but if you’re able to make a contribution, please consider Folkmoot. Now is the time.

We are grateful for your support. 

Angie Schwab
Executive Director

David Francis
Board President

COVID-19 Information from Folkmoot

Folkmoot reschedules events through mid-May amid COVID-19 concerns

After input from local public health officials and with state and federal guidelines and restrictions in mind, the Folkmoot Board of Directors has postponed events planned for the remainder of March, all of April and the first part of May. An event list is included below.

Many of these events will be rescheduled for later in the year, as circumstances allow.

Late May events and all June events remain on schedule, but should be considered “tentative”. 

Folkmoot’s signature international festival, set for July 18-26, remains on schedule, although alternate plans could be developed. We will release more information as it becomes available.

All events through July, including the 37th annual International Festival, have been cancelled or postponed. Click here for more.

“As anyone can well imagine, there are a lot of logistics involved in planning and orchestrating a 10-day festival with numerous performances, a variety of venues and artists coming from around the world. Due to the uncertainty of limitations on public gatherings, travel restrictions and the general health and well being of our community, we have decided to cautiously move forward with planning this event and all events we have through the summer. It’s possible that we will need to transform or reschedule the Folkmoot Festival.”

Angie Schwab, Executive Director

Folkmoot will provide periodic updates on our planning efforts and remain hopeful that the festival will provide all of us with an opportunity to celebrate the importance of cross cultural community gatherings in a safe environment.

As always, Folkmoot strives to make decisions with these factors in mind: community health, the organization’s economic impact on the community and our performers, and the safety and security of our staff and volunteers.

Postponed events:

Great Balsam Songwriters in the Round Series
April 4: Irene Kelley, Scott Miller and Tim Stafford
May 16: Malcolm Holcombe, RB Morris, and Ed Snodderly

Cultural Crash Courses
March 18: Chris Cooper: “Election 2020”
April 15: Ingrid Bego: “Let me hear you say #MeToo: Victories and Challenges”
May 20: Mark Holliday: “Artificial Intelligence, Past, Present and Future”

Friendship Dinners
March 27: Hawaii – Puerto Rican Friendship Dinner
April 9: German Friendship Dinner
May 22: Affrilachian Friendship Dinner

Panel Discussion
April 17: “Hey Ranger!” Protecting Mountain Resources: Safeguarding Natural Beauty, Supporting Regional Tourism

Festivals
May 9,10: Mootenanny: Mountain Heritage and Music at Maggie Valley Fairgrounds (Rescheduled for Oct. 10, 11)

Concerts
April 11: Country Soul Entertainment 
May 3: Katie Deal: Real Deal Country
May 23: Country Soul Entertainment 

Special Events
March 26: Shining Rock Academy School Dance
March 26: Climate Change Coalition Meeting
May 8-10: Carolina Readiness Heritage Life Skills 
May 15-18: International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts

Folkmoot’s expanded programming initiatives have been made possible by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation and Evergreen Packaging. 

Folkmoot is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating many cultures in one community.  The Folkmoot Friendship Center is located in the Historic Hazelwood School at 112 Virginia Avenue in Waynesville. Staff can be reached by phone at (828) 452-2997 or by email at info@folkmoot.org.

Cultural Crash Course: Dr. Ingrid Bego, “Let me hear you say #MeToo: Victories and Challenges”

Join local experts for Folkmoot’s popular series, Cultural Crash Courses, featuring lectures on a variety of current cultural issues, including global politics, race, immigration, gender, climate change, technology and multiculturalism. Content will be presented as a 45-minute community lecture followed by questions, answers and discussion. Doors open at 5:30pm, lecture begins at 6pm. Participants are welcome to bring a “picnic” dinner. Beverages will be available.
Tickets are $10 in advance.

The #MeToo movement has been hailed as the next wave of global feminism. As stories of abuse and sexual harassment became public starting in October of 2017, a sense of optimism and progress was in the air. More than two years later, we examine the progress and the backlash, as well as the long-term implications of the movement for gender equality.

Cultural Crash Courses are sponsored by VisitNCSmokies.comThe MountaineerVicinitus Haywood, and Town of Waynesville. Tickets are $10. Doors open at 5:30pm and the lecture begins at 6:00pm.

Folkmoot welcomes Viking Stained Glass

Folkmoot Center Viking Stained Glass John Nelson

In the fall, Folkmoot welcomed John Nelson and his company Viking Stained Glass to one of our leased studio spaces at the Folkmoot Center. John, who splits his business between Waynesville and Charlotte, does restoration of historic stained glass and new designs. He’s shown here with a historic window from Hemphill Baptist Church, along with two of his new pieces.

You can contact John at vikingstainedglass (at) gmail.com.

Interested in a space? Reach out to us here at the Folkmoot Center.

 

Apply Now to be a 2020 Festival Guide or Intern

Folkmoot is in Search of Friendly, Culturally Inquisitive Festival Guides and Interns for Folkmoot 2020

Folkmoot is seeking approximately 20 guides and five interns for our Folkmoot 2020 festival scheduled for July 18 – 26, 2020. 

Guides are cultural ambassadors for Folkmoot’s visiting international performance groups. Guides will assist throughout the festival by helping with language challenges, daily schedules, navigation of American culture while also ensuring a positive experience for Folkmoot festival performers. Additionally, guides assist with festival operations by supporting seamless performances, transportation transitions, and meal coordination while also ensuring our guests’ compliance with Folkmoot guidelines and NC laws.  

Students interested in international studies, language, music, political science, folk arts, communications, and world travel are encouraged to apply. Full guides must be 18 – 25 years of age and reside at the Folkmoot Friendship Center during the festival, accompanying their groups 24-hours a day. Guides are provided with lodging and transportation, four meals each day, and are paid a stipend. Extensive training precedes guide duty beginning Tuesday, July 14; the festival begins on July 18 and services are completed on July 26. 

Folkmoot internships are also available for graduating seniors and regional college students in festival operations, event, sound and stage production, and marketing. Interns are stipended positions and students 18 years and over have the opportunity to reside at the Folkmoot Friendship Center beginning July 1, 2020, through the end of the festival. Interested students should email their resume, a professional recommendation and cover letter to
angie@folkmoot.org.

All Folkmoot Festival workers are required to attend training on cultural sensitivity, cross-cultural communications, leadership, teamwork and festival operations. 

Applications are available at
https://folkmoot.org/2020-guide-application/ and are due by February 28, 2020. For more information please contact Austin Helms, by phone, 828-452-2997 or by email, austin@folkmoot.org 

Folkmoot is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating many cultures in one community.  The Folkmoot Friendship Center is located in the Historic Hazelwood School at 112 Virginia Avenue in Waynesville. 

Cultural Crash Course: Dr. Yiqing Yang speaks on Elder Abuse from a Multicultural Perspective

Join local experts for Folkmoot’s popular new series, Cultural Crash Courses, featuring lectures on a variety of current cultural issues, including global politics, race, immigration, gender, climate change, technology and multiculturalism. Content is presented as a 45-minute community lecture followed by questions, answers and discussion. Crash Courses began in 2019 and continue on a monthly basis, with a full schedule of topics and speakers available online at Folkmoot.org 

On Wednesday, February 12, Dr. Yiqing Yang from Western Carolina University speaks on the topic “Elder Abuse from a Multicultural Perspective.”

In the United States, older adults from different racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds define, experience, and seek to remedy elder abuse differently. Internationally, we see similar variations across countries. Dr. Yang will discuss these issues from a multicultural perspective.

Dr. Yang is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Western, where she’s taught since 2017. Prior to WCU, she Associate Professor at the University of Utah, where she earned her Ph.D. She earned an M.B.A. from the University of Liverpool and a Bachelor’s Degree from Nanjing University.

Cultural Crash Courses are sponsored by VisitNCSmokies.com, The Mountaineer, Vicinitus Haywood, Town of Waynesville. Tickets are $10 ($3 for students). Doors open at 5:30pm and the lecture begins at 6:00pm.

Folkmoot is a year-round cultural organization located in the historic Hazelwood School, 112 Virginia Avenue in Waynesville, NC. Parking is available along Virginia Ave., in front of the Center, or by circling to the rear of the building.

Meet Austin Helms, Folkmoot’s newest staff member

Austin Helms

Austin Helms, of Lenoir, is Folkmoot’s newest staff member, joining us as Marketing and Programs Assistant.

A senior at Western Carolina University, Austin studies Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Business Administration. She’s Treasurer for Western’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, and will graduate in May. 

Previously, Austin completed an internship with the City of Lenoir, NC, where she worked with the Public Relations Information Officer and provided updates to the citizens of Lenoir about upcoming events and new business openings. 

One of Austin’s passions has been to work for a non-profit organization, and she’ll work with our Folkmoot team, volunteers, and guides we prepare for our annual Folkmoot festival this summer! 

Detail-oriented and outgoing, Austin enjoys spending time with her labrador, family, and friends, being outdoors, and traveling. 

Join Austin for a trip to Harrah’s Cherokee bowling alley on January 31, 2020 at 6:30p.m. 

Send all RSVP’s to austin@folkmoot.org.

Cultural Crash Course: The Philosophy of Love and Sex

Join local experts for Folkmoot’s new series, Cultural Crash Courses, featuring lectures on a variety of current cultural issues, including global politics, race, immigration, gender, climate change, technology and multiculturalism. Content will be presented as a 45-minute community lecture followed by questions, answers and discussion.

This Crash Course: Dr. Hoyt says: “How do love and sex fit into a good life? Philosophers have offered many different answers. In this talk, we’ll look at a few of the most famous and helpful of them.”

Doors open at 5:30pm, lecture begins at 6pm. Participants are welcome to bring a “picnic” dinner. Beverages will be available. Tickets are $10 in advance.

Ticket information here.

Darren Nicholson’s Uptown Downhome New Years Eve!

Join Folkmoot for a New Year’s Eve to remember, Tuesday, December 31st! It’ll be an evening designed for music lovers and sweethearts, featuring Balsam Range’s Darren Nicholson, Jennifer Nicholson, Waynesville’s own Bohemian Jean and percussionist Richard Foulk sharing an eclectic mix of jazz standards, R&B, country, bluegrass, blues and more. Tickets are $50 per person.
 
Folkmoot will serve festive hors d’oeuvres and celebratory beverages throughout the evening. Craft beer and champagne cocktails will be available for purchase and revelers will receive a complimentary champagne toast to ring in the New Year. All activities will be held in the Queen Auditorium.
 
Tickets: https://www.showclix.com/event/darren-nicholson-new-year-s-eve-celebration or 828-452-2997
 
Darren Nicholson is a Grammy Award Nominee and a recipient of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s – Album of the Year award, and has appeared countless times on WSM’s Grand Ole Opry, at the Ryman Auditorium, and many of the world’s most famous venues. In addition to his work with Balsam Range, Nicholson is a tireless solo performer, and recently released a new solo acoustic recording “Fret a Spell”. He’ll be joined on New Years by his wife Jennifer, whose extraordinary vocal range lends itself to a variety of tunes, including wonderful standards.
 
Bohemian Jean is a husband and wife duo made up of Waynesville residents Matthew Welborn and Jessi Stone. The two have been performing Matthew’s originals and Jessi’s favorite covers together for more than 15 years. Jessi chooses songs that suit her soulful alto voice — including hits from Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks, Patsy Cline and Bonnie Raitt — while Matthew plays acoustic guitar, provides rich harmonies and shares his original songs as well. Matt and Jessi are also members of local band Stone Crazy.
 
Asheville-based percussionist Richard Foulk is known across the region for his live and studio music, including work with the popular band Sons of Ralph, Balsam Range and the Honeycutters.
 
Onsite babysitting services will be available for youth, $20 per child between 4 and 12 years old. Each additional child is $10.
 
Menu
Items served on each table
Mountain Blackeyed Pea Caviar with Chips
Charcuterie Tray of assorted meats, cheeses, spanish tortilla, olives and bread
Spinach Artichoke Dip with assorted fresh vegetables
 
Served on trays by Servers during music breaks
Chicken Sate with Peanut Sauce
Shrimp and grit with a tomato and bacon jam
Philly beef sliders
 
Sweet Treats
Served on each table
Shortbread cookies
Raspberry Cheesecake
Chocolate truffles
 
Served on a Round Table for self serve
Chocolate Fondue with oranges, strawberries, pineapple, pretzels and sponge cake

Fall Newsletter, 2019

2019 Folkmoot Gala Under the Stars
Two excerpts from our Fall Newsletter are immediately below. Scroll down to view the print version!

Letter from the Director and the President

As a member of the Friends of Folkmoot, and as a ticket buyer to Folkmoot events, you know how arts and culture makes our community more vibrant. We have an extraordinary quality of life in these mountains, and you have contributed to this richness with your ticket purchases and donations. Thank you!

With the help of Folkmoot supporters, we have grown from a two-week international folk festival to a year-round arts and cultural center, hosting close to fifty events each year. We now feature a variety of cultural arts – music, crafts, storytelling, literary arts, food and beverage – and none of it would have happened if you hadn’t helped to make it so.

This fall we have a meaningful opportunity to move the organization to yet another level, and we hope you will consider it an opportunity to contribute. We’re installing heat and air throughout the entire 40,000 square-foot Folkmoot Center, and have begun to host artists’ studios in several classrooms, adding another dimension to what we do, and to what you support. Another important step in this direction in 2019 was a long-term lease agreement with Project SOAR, a boarding school, for ten-month-a-year use of Building B.

Consistent, year-around, multi-faceted use of all areas of the Folkmoot Campus will continue our push toward financial sustainability.

The cost of the HVAC project is $305,000, and we’re approaching that goal, with only about $125,000 needed to complete the project this fall. Every little bit helps! If you’re inclined to contribute, you’ll be part of the transformation that makes Folkmoot financially sustainable.

In addition, we’re seeking sponsors for the artists fees and staffing of programs we’re presenting, including the new Mountain Memories Variety Show, Great Balsam Songwriters in the Round, Southern Storytellers Series, Cultural Crash Courses and Friendship Dinners. We’re seeking $5,000 in sponsorship for each of these programs.

Now that you know our aim, we’d like to frame the value of your investment in Folkmoot: our programs help communicate that cultural differences form our identities, and that sharing and embracing the diversity of many cultures in one community makes life more vibrant, interesting and beautiful. In a time of unfortunate division, Folkmoot does its small part to make the world a warmer and more creative place. We hope you’ll continue to find value in our mission and support us!

Thanks in advance for remembering Folkmoot in your holiday giving. We will make good use of your investment and our community will have even more to enjoy.

Sincerely,

Angeline Schwab, Executive Director | angie@folkmoot.org

David B. Francis, Board President | david@folkmoot.org

A Note about our 2019 Festival

Each Folkmoot Festival is the culmination of two years of careful planning, with travel arrangements in place well in advance. It’s something we’re used to.

Still, international travel is complicated, especially for large groups from many countries, and in today’s travel climate. We expect the loss of a performance group here and there. It’s impossible, however, to anticipate the loss of three performance groups, at the last minute, in a single year. That’s what happened in 2019, and we’re still recovering! We lost groups from Colombia, Nepal and a much larger group from the Bahamas at well past the time we could’ve replaced them.

It was a disappointment for all of us, for our audiences, and even for the other performers. Some of our friends let us know by email and phone how disappointed they were, while others didn’t make their customary ticket purchases after the parade. It’s been a tough year, festival-wise.

As a result, we’ve made some changes to the way we approach things, and will add further measures to prevent a recurrence. We understand fully that our audiences want variety, and we’re on track for eight international groups this year.

Our apologies for disappointing some of you, and hope you’ll get excited about the 2020 lineup, which we’ll begin announcing in the spring!