It’s a concert hall, a commercial kitchen and cafeteria, a dormitory, an event space – it’s the Folkmoot Center.

It's a concert hall, a commercial kitchen and cafeteria, a dormitory, an event space - it's the Folkmoot Center.

It’s a concert hall, a commercial kitchen and cafeteria, a dormitory, an event space – it’s the Folkmoot Center.

And it’s open for business – your event business

The Folkmoot Center is literally – or was for many years – a school house and today as Folkmoot Center it’s reborn as a 40,000-square-foot multi-faceted facility providing space for conferences, group retreats, weddings, educational seminars, concerts, banquets, holiday parties – just about any event one can imagine.

And, oh yea, it also serves as headquarters and home for 10 days each summer to North Carolina’s official international folk dance festival.

And be sure to attend our next Folkmoot event, our October 4 Southern Storyteller Suppers featuring the homespun mountain life of Ashley English and homesteading, living well off our mountain land, Appalachian nourishment of body and soul.

With 22 classrooms, a commercial kitchen, showers, laundry room, the Queen auditorium and a multipurpose room, Folkmoot has ample space for conferences, special event rentals and overnight accommodations for groups. Accommodations begin at $25/night. Minimum 10 overnight guests per group. Maximum 250 overnight guests.

Conference and event rentals are generally $50 – $70 an hour, but discount rates apply for full days and multi-day events.

Folkmoot can provide cafeteria services, entertainment, and transportation by request. To schedule a tour or to inquire about the availability of the Friendship Center, please call Laura Shepherd at 828-452-2997 ext 101.

For concert bookings in Queen Auditorium, please contact Angeline Schwab, 828-452-2997, ext 100.

See more details here!

 

In 2002, the Folkmoot Friendship Center leased the former Hazelwood Elementary School, thus giving it a home to expand its programming and activities.  In 2014, the Haywood County school system donated the school to the organization.  Now, this multi-faceted space has created an expanded opportunity for Folkmoot to move from a two week festival to a year-round cultural center, focusing on programs and events that celebrate diversity and differences, encourage cultural conversation and inclusion, and preserve and honor worldwide cultural heritages, especially using dance as a tool to achieve world peace.

When Waynesville surgeon, Dr. Clinton Border, returned home after seeing a dance team at an English folk festival, he thought such a festival would be perfect for Western North Carolina, which had its own rich history of preserving its traditional culture.  It took from 1973, when Border made his trip, to 1984 before the first Folkmoot USA event took place.  That year, symbolic as it was also the year that North Carolina celebrated its 400th birthday, welcomed performers from England, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Turkey, Mexico, Puerto Rico and India.

Since these humble yet visionary beginnings in 1984, more than 8,000 international performers from 200 countries have entertained and thrilled residents and guests of Western North Carolina.

Folkmoot travels to Russia for CIOFF World Congress

Folkmoot travels to Russia for CIOFF World Congress

Folkmoot travels to Russia for CIOFF World Congress later this week and will join hundreds of others from many of the world’s folklore, folkdance and folk arts festivals.

CIOFF – the International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts – is the global governing body for festivals like Folkmoot and provides incalculable assistance for ours and other affiliated festivals. Folkmoot has been a member of CIOFF for over three decades.

The CIOFF World Congress will allow the management and members of the CIOFF to get acquainted with Bashkortostan in Russia and partially test the infrastructure planned to be used in 2020 at the 6th World Folkloriada in Ufa, Bashkortostan.

The World Congress will last 11 days, from September 15 to September 25 and will bring together 200 representatives of the Executive Committee and national sections of the CIOFF from 60 countries — Azerbaijan, Switzerland, Croatia, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Canada, India, Finland, Costa Rica, France, Japan, Romania, Italy , USA, Slovenia, China, Hungary, Germany, Macedonia, Spain, Cameroon, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mexico and other countries will take part in it.

“This is an amazing opportunity to meet, get to know, share ideas with and learn new ideas from festival leaders the world over,” said Folkmoot Executive Director Angeline Schwab, who will be Folkmoot’s representative at the world congress.

“And it’s always thrilling and reassuring at CIOFF gatherings like this to realize just how much Folkmoot is well-regarded, held in high esteem by CIOFF and its members,” she said.

The world gathering will be held at several venues in city of Ufa: the State Assembly — the Kurultay RB, the Congress Hall, and the Sheraton Hotel.

Ufa is on the Belaya River in central Russia, just over 840 miles east of Moscow and northwest of the Kazakstan border.

As part of the cultural program, the guests will visit the M.V. Nesterov Bashkir State Art Museum, concerts of the F. Gaskarov State Academic Folk Dance Ensemble, the National Orchestra of Folk Instruments and the “Argymak” ethnic-rock band, the press service of the Congress Bureau RB informs.

It was a beautiful, sublime & golden evening

It was a beautiful, sublime & golden evening

It was a beautiful, sublime & golden evening with legendary Haywood County artists Buddy Melton & Milan Miller.

Two of Haywood County’s favorite sons, awarding winning vocalist and musician for the world-renowned Balsam Range band, Buddy Melton, teamed up with his favorite writing partner, award-winning and world-renown singer and writer, Milan Miller, to entertain and educate with stories and songs unique to our treasured valleys and mountains.

Renowned writer and educator Chris Cox, contributor to the Smoky Mountain News, served as moderator for the evening.

And, yes, the singing, song-writing duo also sang for us some of their magical tunes.

It was the first in our series of Southern Storyteller Suppers. We have videos below and more videos at our Folkmoot YouTube Channel.

Our next installment of Southern Storyteller Suppers, set for October 4, will feature the homespun mountain life of Ashley English and her Small Measure. Tickets are available here.

Southern Suppers continue on November 3  with Affrilachian author and artist, Ann Miller Woodford who will share her research, photographs and writings that lead to the book, When All God’s Children Get Together: A Celebration of the Lives and Music of African American People in Far Western North Carolina.

Folkmoot has teamed up with Blue Ridge Books and the Haywood County Public Library to create The Southern Storytellers Supper Series, which will bring southern culture and our region’s authors and musicians together with the community for wonderful and educational nights of food, fun, and discussion.

Nominated again for 2018 as male vocalist of the year by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) as male vocalist of the year, Melton sings and plays fiddle in Balsam Range, one of the most acclaimed bluegrass bands in the world. He won the IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year in 2014. Balsam Range and its individual members have won more IBMA awards than we have space to list here. 

Miller is not only an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and recording artist, but an incomparable songwriter whose list of achievements includes thirteen number one songs on the bluegrass charts, including songs he wrote for Balsam Range.

Buddy and Milan have been friends for many years and have collaborated on many projects and records, including Songs from Haywood County and Secrets, Dreams and Pretty Things in 2016.

Popular songs from Miller’s pen include, “Pretty Little Girl from Galax,” by Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, “Carolina Any Day,” and “What’ll I Do,” by Terry Baucom. A long list of popular favorites from the Balsam Range catalog, including, “Caney Fork River,” “Papertown,” “Chasing Someone Else’s Dreams,” “Eldorado Blue,” and “Something ‘Bout That Suitcase.”

Miller wrote or co-wrote the top three most played songs of 2016 according to the year-end compilation of airplay data by Bluegrass Today: “Around the Corner,” by Terry Baucom’s Dukes of Drive, “Carolina Wind,” by Irene Kelley and “Adeline,” which he co-wrote with Melton to honor Melton’s daughter.

Southern Storyteller Suppers: the homespun mountain life of Ashley English

Southern Storyteller Suppers: the homespun mountain life of Ashley English

Southern Storyteller Suppers: the homespun mountain life of Ashley English is set for October 4 and will feature homesteading, living well off our mountain land and Appalachian nourishment of body and soul.

English’s presentation will be the second in our series of Southern Storyteller Suppers. Our premier event, set for Sept. 6 with music legends Buddy Melton and Milan Miller, is sold out.

Tickets, $15, for what is sure to be a lovely October evening are available here.

Folkmoot has teamed up with Blue Ridge Books and the Haywood County Public Library to create The Southern Storytellers Supper Series, which will bring southern culture and our region’s authors and musicians together with the community for wonderful and educational nights of food, fun, and discussion.

Southern Storyteller Suppers: the homespun mountain life of Ashley EnglishFour special evenings have been planned for this coming fall, come to one or come to all!

Each installment of the series will be held at the Folkmoot Friendship Center. Blue Ridge Books will be at all events to offer book sales.   

Ashley English is a homesteader, author and blogger who has crafted a “homespun” life with her husband and two sons near Candler in eastern Haywood County.

She is the author of the Homemade Living book series which showcases a variety of topics related to small-scale homesteading. A sampling of titles include: A Year of Pies: A Seasonal Tour of Homebaked Pies; A Year of Picnics: Recipes for Dining Well in the Great OutdoorsSouthern from Scratch: Pantry Essentials and Down-Home RecipesQuench: Handcrafted Beverages to Satisfy Every Taste and Occasion; and The Essential Book of Homesteading: The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable Living.

English holds degrees in holistic nutrition and sociology. She has worked over the years with a number of nonprofit organizations committed to social and agricultural issues, writes frequently at Small Measures with Ashley, is an ongoing contributor to the quarterly publication, Taproot, and regularly contributes to a number of regional publications, including Southern Living, FoodLife Magazine and others. She understands how food tells the story of culture and is a charming and engaging storyteller.

“Making an attempt to craft a good life with my husband and young son in a small Western North Carolina mountain community,” she says. “I find pleasure in the light at dusk, atlases, hard cider, cat antics, dog breath, baby giggles, homemade ice cream and snorty laughter. ”

The evening’s supper will feature recipes from Southern from Scratch so come hungry!

Ashley’s Books are also available at the Haywood County Library. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media channels.

Southern Suppers continue on November 3 with Affrilachian author and artist, Ann Miller Woodford who will share her research, photographs and writings that lead to the book, When All God’s Children Get Together: A Celebration of the Lives and Music of African American People in Far Western North Carolina.

In her book, Woodford tears down walls which divide people in our region and build up relationships between the racial groups, religions and youth with our regional elders.

“There are so many people who have played a role in developing our region, including many people who are not represented well in our history. This work is intended to make the invisible, visible,”  she explains.

The Affrilachian Southern Supper is co-sponsored by Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center, whose exhibit will be on display at the Folkmoot Friendship Center Friday, October 5 – Friday November 16, 2018, weekdays, from 10am until 5pm. The exhibit focuses on the history and musical traditions of African-American communities in far western North Carolina as manifested in their churches, schools, and workplaces.

Folkmoot runs on volunteers!

Folkmoot runs on volunteers!

Folkmoot runs on volunteers!

That is true of any non-profit organization, of course, but volunteers are essential, indispensable, crucial, critical, cannot-exist-without when the non-profit organizations produces an annual 10-day international folk dance festival as well as year-round programs and events.

Oh yes, Folkmoot runs on volunteers!

The good news is Folkmoot is blessed with some of our glorious mountain region’s best volunteers and they were feted and appreciated earlier this week with our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner.

Virginia Wall was named, “Volunteer of the Year,” for her undying loyalty and her contribution to the Folkmoot Festival of well over 100 hours.

Folkmoot runs on volunteers!
Volunteer of the Year,Virginia Wall (right) accepts her award from Volunteer Coordinator Catherine McCollum

Vivian Poppas, another volunteer who contributes well over 100 hours every year was also honored for all her hard works.

During the festival itself an invaluable and integral corps of volunteers are our Folkmoot Guides, high school and college students who serve our visiting international dance troupes as chief assistants, tour managers, house mom & dads and many other functions. It’s an extraordinary opportunities for our region’s young people and often grow deep bonds of friendship which last a lifetimes.

Tuscola High School student Andrea Castillo was named, “Folkmoot Guide of the Year,” and was given a nice gift package from Mast General Store, including a new backpack!

Many of our outstanding volunteers were given gift packages from Mast General Store and we very much appreciate its generosity.

Other outstanding volunteers singled out for significant contributions during the 2018 festival included long-time Folkmoot leader and inspiration, Rolf Kaufman, the entire Yazan family led by mom and dad, Christie and Murat, Michelle Romberger, Sandra Hermida, Alex Still, Jamie Gardner, Anne Melton, Barbara McNary, Jo Wooten and, most especially, Bill and Jane Cole. Bill is Folkmoot board president and Jane volunteers countless hours to Folkmoot as well.

It’s the best seat in the house when you get inside Folkmoot as a volunteer or guide!

We’re always applications now for Folkmoot volunteers and guides and if you’ve ever wanted to see the inner-Folkmoot: behind the scenes, backstage, traveling with the dance troupes, intense cultural education – this is the way!

To apply as a volunteer or a guide (small stipends are paid to guides), submit an application, which you can find here.

Volunteers all year long!

Many Folkmoot volunteers have come and gone over the years, each one valuable and each one treasured. The key volunteers – and volunteer leaders – who work all year long include:

Mayo Ferguson is one of Folkmoot’s longest standing volunteers.  He first began working with us in 1986, took a small break somewhere along the way to get a family going, came back and picked up where he left off.  Of all the things he enjoys about working with Folkmoot he most enjoys the interactions and conversations he can have with people from around the world.  The music, dance, art, and performances are enjoyable but it is what he can learn from someone with a different perspective that he values the most.

 

 

Vivian Poppas is another one of Folkmoot’s longest standing volunteers.  She has been actively working with us for over 29 years and her duties and positions have included a little bit of everything but her favorite position so far has been working as a Guide during the festival.  She also thoroughly enjoys the opportunity to make friends with people from all corners of the globe and to learn about their different cultures.

 

 

Natalie Ballard is studying Business Administration and Law at Western Carolina University with a minor in Political Science. She was captain of the color guard in high school and assistant choir director for the children’s choir at the church she attends. Natalie loves learning about different cultures and getting to experience new ideas. She hopes to one day live in another country.

 

 

 

Michelle Romberger is a another veteran volunteer for Folkmoot. She has volunteered countless hours cooking for friendship dinners, creating the menu for the upcoming festival and providing upkeep to the kitchen. Since her first connection with Folkmoot, Michelle fell in love with the mission of the organization. She calls it an opportunity of a lifetime.

 

 

 

Our Volunteer Spotlight shines on David BortleFolkmoot means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To David Bortle, Folkmoot is a non-profit that establishes a platform for community building. He appreciates how the Folkmoot festival encourages diverse groups to put their differences aside for the universal love of dance and music. “(Folkmoot is) different people coming together to transcend the American existence,” he said. In the two years of working at Folkmoot, David undoubtedly enjoyed most working with last year’s Israeli performance group. He describes the Israeli group as incredible, hard-working, and cultured.

 

Our Volunteer Spotlight shines on David Bortle

Our Volunteer Spotlight shines on David Bortle

Our Volunteer Spotlight shines on David Bortle, one of our invaluable sound crew members.

In addition to working with Folkmoot, David works with a diverse array of arts and cultural groups including rock n’ roll bands, corporate theatres, a ballet and ballroom and other performance styles and organizations.

He will serve as one of the sound engineers for Folkmoot 2018. He and his crew will work around the clock during the festival to ensure that all sound equipment is in full operation for ten days of international dance and music performances.

Folkmoot 2018 opens July 19 and runs through July 29 and will feature performing dance troupes from Ghana, Italy, Czech Republic, Mexico, Thailland and Northern Cyprus and Venezuela as well as Anglo Appalachian and, as always, Cherokee dancers and musicians. 

Ticket packages and tickets for individual performances are available here.

Our Volunteer Spotlight shines on David Bortle
David Bortle

Moving to Western  North Carolina in 2008 with his wife, Starr Hogan, David went to work as tech director at the Bardo Arts Center on the WCU campus. 

While not in the field working behind the scenes, David loves to spend his time at home with his family and pets while enjoying a nice glass of wine or going out with his wife to swing dance.

After settling into Western North Carolina, David noticed Folkmoot’s involvement in the community. Years ago, he had the opportunity to support Folkmoot through his work at the Bardo Arts Center and has been a volunteer with us ever since.

He has helped with many projects for our facilities committee, helping on volunteer Saturdays with facility maintenance and managing sound for year-round events.

Since he began volunteering for us, David has made wonderful improvements in our sound systems and sound presentations. 

Folkmoot means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To David, Folkmoot is a non-profit that establishes a platform for community building.

He appreciates how the Folkmoot festival encourages diverse groups to put their differences aside for the universal love of dance and music.

“(Folkmoot is) different people coming together to transcend the American existence,” he said.

In the two years of working at Folkmoot, David undoubtedly enjoyed most working with last year’s Israeli performance group.

He describes the Israeli group as incredible, hard-working, and cultured.

He noted some of the performances were mesmerizing. Watching how delicate some of the dances are and seeing the groups experience emotions through their music and the art of their dance is magical for him.

He describes his experience volunteering with the festival as “an engaging performance that makes you forget everything going on around you.”

David commits his time to Folkmoot for the simple love of what the organization does in the community and encourages everyone to volunteer throughout the year and during the festival.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, contact Catherine MacCallum, Operations and Volunteer Coordinator, 828-452-2997, x105, or fill out this online form

Folkmoot Volunteers of the Year

Folkmoot Volunteers of the Year

Of all the many Folkmoot volunteers a few stand out each year for contributing over and above the call of duty and we try to recognize them each year as the Outstanding Folkmoot Volunteers of the Year. And 2015 was no exception to that rule, particularly given the changing faces and changing and expanding mission … Read moreFolkmoot Volunteers of the Year

Clean Up Day at Folkmoot Friendship Center!

Folkmoot Friendship Center

Gather with your friends and fellow volunteers on Saturday, April 25, to help spruce up the Friendship Center in advance of our big May Day @ Folkmoot Celebration on May 2! Work begins at 9 a.m. and lasts until 1 p.m. and – you’ll get a free lunch! Please bring your own yard tools. The … Read moreClean Up Day at Folkmoot Friendship Center!