Holiday Newsletter 2020

Folkmoot supporters on our standard mailing list have recently received our holiday newsletter. The piece announces our new Executive Director and discusses our hopes for an abbreviated festival during the summer of 2021.

As with all ticket-selling entertainment organizations, Folkmoot has been hit hard by the pandemic, and we are carefully charting a path forward.

Please click the button below to read about ways to support us financially, and view the newsletter below as well.

Click for ways to support Folkmoot


Cultural Crash Courses return in an online format

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, returns in August in online format while we weather our current health crisis.

Upcoming presentations, presented on Zoom and Facebook Live, include Dr. Cyndy Caravelis discussing Black Lives Matter (August 6), Dr. Ingrid Bego discussing #MeToo (August 20), and Dr. Chris Cooper discussing Election 2020 (September 3).

Full calendar here

Folkmoot people: Gary Justice, social media star

Folkmoot’s staff and volunteers are among the kindest and most generous our community has to offer, and we appreciate their efforts more than we can say.

Gary Justice has worked with us in various capacities for 25 years, driving buses and helping maintain our facility. He’s putting in the extra mile these days, quite literally. He rolls out of bed in the wee hours and leaves Waynesville at 5:30am, driving his school bus along a winding, remote 95-mile route up Mount Sterling and to the head of Fines Creek, delivering meals from Haywood County Schools to children staying at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

There are some 7,500 school kids in Haywood County, and over half qualify for meal assistance. Many rely on school meals during the academic year to maintain a proper diet.

Thank you Gary!

The social media version of this post, shared across several platforms, produced many hundreds of likes and shares. We’ve included our Facebook version below. We’re proud to know you Gary!

CANCELLED – Songwriters Returns! Malcolm Holcombe, RB Morris & Ed Snodderly, Sept. 12

The Great Balsam Songwriters in the Round Series begins its delayed 2020 season with Scott Miller, RB Morris and Ed Snodderly live at Queen Auditorium on the Folkmoot Center campus.

Our usual In The Round setting might not be possible for this show, in order to meet Coronavirus distancing needs. In this case, the performers will perform onstage, with proper spacing guidelines for the audience. More information to come.

Performers in our Songwriters series trade songs and stories about the songwriting trade. The style, in which the performers sit in a circle in the middle of the room with the audience all around, was popularized by the legendary Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. Most of our performers have played that venue many times.

Now almost 25 years old, the Great Balsam series is in its second year at Queen Auditorium, and launches its delayed 2020 series with a stellar performance featuring Black Mountain’s Malcolm HolcombeRB Morris, poet, songwriter, band leader and sometimes playwright from Knoxville and Ed Snodderly, a ten-year member of the Brother Boys and co-founder of the Down Home Pickin’ Parlor in Johnson City.

The 2020 Great Balsam Songwriters in the Round Series at Folkmoot is sponsored by Suzanne and Alan Klimek.

All music at the Folkmoot Center | Queen Auditorium is sponsored in part by the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.

Jay Partridge spruces up the light show!

The coronavirus has left us a few silver linings here and there. Also magenta linings, green linings and various other laser-lit linings! The long stretch without performances in Queen Auditorium has given our fabulous light and sound technician Jay Partridge some time to configure lighting and other gear in the venue. Perhaps one day before too long we’ll get to show it off!

Folkmoot remembers past President Joan Enloe

Folkmoot Rolf Kaufman Joan Enloe

With incredible sadness, we report that past President, Joan Enloe has passed away.

Since the birth of the Folkmoot organization, Joan has pitched-in as a volunteer in every capacity, including traveling to far reaches of the globe to recruit cultural groups, serving as a host family, managing the cafeteria during the festival, designing and delivering food for the Friends of Folkmoot Gala and serving on the festival committee. Any time we needed Joan, she helped and we are a better organization because of her participation. The Folkmoot family will miss her deeply.

Heartfelt condolences to Joan’s daughters, Melissa, Trudy and Jennifer. Photo: Dear friends, Rolf Kaufman & Joan Enloe before the Candlelight Closing in 2019.

Joan’s Obituary, from The Mountaineer:

WAYNESVILLE — Joan Wolfenbarger Enloe, 77, passed away on Tuesday, April 28, 2020.

She was born in New Tazewell, Tennessee, on June 26, 1942, to the late Henry Clyde and Gertrude Welch Wolfenbarger. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Frank R. Enloe, DVM and her brother Sidney Wolfenbarger.

After graduating from Lincoln Memorial University of Harrogate, Tennessee, Joan settled in Waynesville, Dr. Enloe’s hometown, to raise her family as a beloved mother, own and operate her own retail business, and become a cherished member of the Haywood County community.

Over a 35-year span, she served in the capacities of a dedicated volunteer, president and board member of Folkmoot USA. She also enjoyed reading, traveling, painting and contributing to the arts.

She is survived by her three daughters, Melissa Enloe, Jennifer Enloe, Trudy Enloe, and her grandson, Lucas Chike, all of Waynesville.

A celebration of her life will be honored at a later date.

Her loving presence and interests may be honored by memorial donations to Folkmoot USA, PO Box 658, Waynesville, NC 28786 and to the Haywood County Public Library, 678 Haywood St., Waynesville, NC, 28786.

The care of Mrs. Enloe has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Homes and an online memorial register is available at “Obituaries” at

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

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

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

Camp Folkmoot 2020 set for July (Postponed)

Camp Folkmoot 2020

The Folkmoot Festival provides communities throughout western North Carolina the opportunity to build a deeper sense of connection and respect with people from around the world while celebrating cultural arts.  

An important aspect of the Festival is its engagement of youth and families in the Folkmoot experience. One such opportunity Camp Folkmoot, is designed to bring regional students, groups, and families together with local and international performance troupes. Camp Folkmoot is a one-day dance camp for kids and teens between 4thand 12th grades. At Camp Folkmoot, participants have opportunities to share their own cultural heritage, learn the history of the traditional dance and what makes each participating culture unique. Further, Camp Folkmoot offers storytelling instruction, “make and take” for students to provide opportunities to create cultural crafts. Students will also make lanterns for the Hazelwood Lantern Parade. 

The camp is open to youth of all abilities who are inspired by folklore and cultural arts. Participants will learn basic concepts and movements, gain an appreciation for the similarities and differences between cultures and hear captivating stories behind the dances of each international cultural group. 

The 2019 Camp Folkmoot takes place on Friday, July 24 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Folkmoot Friendship Center. The cost is $30.00 for students and $10 for any accompanying adult. All camp participants are invited to attend the Queen Auditorium Matinee performance of all festival groups, starting at 2 pm at no additional costs. Families and youth groups are encouraged to register soon to save a space for your child. Snacks, lunch, and drinks will be provided. Discounts are available to groups of four or more if registered together. 

For more information, contact Caroline Brown Williamson at Register at or by calling 828-452-2997.

Folkmoot is a 9-day celebration of world’s cultural heritage through folk music and dance. Held each summer across the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina, Folkmoot features performances, special events, parades and workshops with over 200 dancers and musicians from 7 countries alongside Cherokee and Appalachian performers. Performers demonstrate cultural heritage through colorful, authentic and original reproduction costumes, lively dance and traditional music.

Sponsored by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation

Luck O’ the Irish Party at BearWaters, featuring Aubrey Eisenman & The Clydes, Raffle Drawing

Aubrey Eisenman and the Clydes

Join Folkmoot and BearWaters Brewing Company for a Saint Patricks Day-themed party with Aubrey Eisenman & The Clydes on Saturday, March 14, at Bearwaters Brewery in Canton! Festivities begin at 7pm, with raffle drawing is at 9. (Ticket holders need not be present to win).

Between now and the event, Folkmoot friends will sell 500 tickets at $20 each for a chance to win $1,000. Proceeds benefit Folkmoot’s year-round programming initiatives including the Southern Storytellers Series, Songwriters in the Round, Friendship Dinners and production of community-wide events at the Folkmoot Center.

Do you have the luck of the Irish? Call Folkmoot, 828-452-2997 to learn more or purchase your Luck O’ the Irish ticket through the link below. Paper tickets can be mailed or picked up at the Friendship Center in Waynesville.

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.