Cherokee has always been popular with visiting Folkmoot performers!

Cherokee has always been a big day for visiting Folkmoot performers!

Cherokee has always been popular with visiting Folkmoot performers!

The town of Cherokee and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians always draw the particular interest of international dance troupes visiting Western Carolina from around the globe for our annual Folkmoot Festival.

And for good reason, of course.

The story of the Cherokee people is both tragic and triumphant. Tsalagi history, heritage, legends and traditions are Smoky Mountain treasures more valuable than the gems once plentiful in these ancient peaks. It is rare, indeed, for international dancers to arrive without a thirst for more knowledge and understanding about First Nation people of America.

Cherokee has always been a big day for visiting Folkmoot performers!
Cherokee welcomed our performing troupe from Mexico. Our visiting Canadian/Italian/Metis group is pictured in our top photo.

Folkmoot Festival 2018 ended July 29 but activities and programs continue year-round. Be sure to visit our  Videos & Images Page, here on our website for images of Folkmoot Festival 2018. Our Facebook page is a pretty handy way to keeping up with the latest events.

In addition to those appearing on our Video & Images page, we also have links to larger collections by some of the areas best photographers and videographers. Our Instagram is a pretty active place, too!

At least 10 members of our Folkmoot 2018 visiting Le Ragazze Italiane dance troupe of Canada, as it turned out, are also members of the Canadian Métis (pronounced, “maytee”) First Nation people. 

To honor their visit to Cherokee the Métis members of Le Ragazze performed a, “thank you,” for Cherokee Principal Chief Richard Sneed and Vice Chief Alan B. Ensley. The dance, one of the most famous Métis dances is, “La Gigue de la Rivière-Rouge,” or as it is known in Michif, “oayache mannin,” or in English, “The Red River Jig.”

Cherokee has always been a big day for visiting Folkmoot performers!
Cherokee welcomed our visiting performers from the Czech Republic!

Its accompanying fiddle tune is considered an unofficial Métis anthem. The dance is a combination of Plains First Nations footwork with Scottish, Irish and French-Canadian dance forms. The basic jig step is danced in most Métis communities. Dancers often add their own solo dance steps during certain segments of the tune. Some dancers even use solo steps to identify their home community.

The Cherokee people strengthened ties with Folkmoot earlier this year through the award of a grant from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.

The grant, announced May 7th, is part of a long-standing relationship between Folkmoot and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian.

In addition to bringing to Western North Carolina folk dancing troupes and slices of culture from around the world, Folkmoot also strives to promote our own region’s  rich cultural heritage and no regional cultural heritage shines brighter – nor with more history or value – than that of the Cherokee people, the Tsalagi.

“Folkmoot is grateful for Cherokee community partnerships which lead to cultural understanding and for the technical assistance provided by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation which makes Folkmoot a stronger organization,” said Folkmoot Executive Director Angeline Schwab. “Cherokee heritage and history is vitally important in our region. We look forward to many years of partnership.”

Cherokee dancers are an integral and celebrated part of the Folkmoot Festival each July and always among the most popular dance troupes to perform each year. Folkmoot also participates in and hosts events throughout the remainder of the year celebrating Cherokee culture and history.

Step into the circle characterized by diversity

Step into the circle characterized by diversity

Step into the circle characterized by diversity.

“We inhabit a universe that is characterized by diversity,”  said human rights activist and Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

An essay by Nina Dove

(Editor’s Note: the author is a senior at Tuscola High School in Waynesville, NC, and served in the summer of 2018 as a Guide for international dance troupes participating in our Folkmoot Festival 2018. If you read nothing else today, please take the time to read this glorious testimony to the unfailing human spirit.)

Step into the circle characterized by diversity
Nina Dove

As a high school senior, I see increasing diversity everywhere around me.

Just as an example: chapters of the GSA (Gender and Sexuallity Alliance) and Girl Up were established last year at my school. Appreciating diversity has always been very important to me, so when I learned that I would have the opportunity to work specifically with cultural conversations during this year’s Folkmoot Festival, I was beyond excited.

Cultural Conversations is a discussion-based program that brings people together through commonalities while appreciating their differences. This year, Dr. Dana Patterson, Director of Intercultural Affairs at Western Carolina University, lead staff, guides, dancers, and even audiences through several Cultural Conversations workshops.

The guide workshop was more challenging than I thought it would be. I consider myself pretty inclusive, so I was prepared for a simple reiteration of the things I already knew. I was wrong.

One of the things we reviewed is a list of statements from Dr. Maura Cullen’s book, 35 Dumb Things Well Intended People Say.

“If you’re going to live in the country, learn to speak the language,” and, “ that’s so gay,” were easy to condemn as “dumb things well intended people say.” They are so obviously discriminatory the only remaining question should be, “they’re said by well-intentioned people?”

“I know exactly how you feel!” and “We’re all one race: the human race!” seemed more positive, maybe even helpful.

Once we discussed them, however, I started to see problems.

How could I know how someone feels if their experiences are vary different from mine? And if I really believe I know how that person feels am I, then, closed off to learning more about their experiences? 

Similarly, if I say, “we are all one race,” I undermine the past and present experiences of someone of another race or geographic heritage.  

Since that activity, I am more aware of the effect my best-intentioned words might have on others.

But what about the situations where the language was more obviously wrong?

In one of our Cultural Conversations we discussed different types of racism. Someone brought up the concept of “reverse racism.”

“Wow!” I thought “Don’t you know that’s just a way the dominant race excuses their own racism?

“Don’t you know you can’t say that, especially here?”

The discussion leader calmly explained that racism is characterized by laws and rules which uphold racial discrimination and, therefore, “reverse racism” would not actually be considered racism but prejudice based on race. If my fellow workshop participant had not been allowed to ask that question we all wouldn’t have learned about the power dynamics in systemic racism.

I came to understand everyone is on their own journey towards cultural understanding and acceptance and that part of walking down that road means putting ourselves in situations which are not always comfortable. If we don’t ask, how can we learn? I looked around at the other guides, most of us roughly the same age and from the same region, and realized how very different we are. We have a lot to learn from each other. How much more can we learn from the dancers and musicians coming to our region from vastly different part of the world and life experiences?

One of the most meaningful Cultural Conversation exercises was called “Step into the Circle. ”

Participants were directed to step from our larger group circle toward the center and a smaller circle when statements were read aloud which applied to us.

Some of the questions were lighthearted: “step forward if you have a best friend.” Others were more difficult.

At one point, the facilitator said, “step forward if your life has been affected by drug and/or alcohol use.”

That one was tough. I couldn’t explain my family history, so I figured people would assume the worst if I stepped inside the circle. On the other hand, what if someone needed me to step in so they could find the courage to do the same–regardless of their reasons? I stepped forward. I was not alone.

With Folkmoot 2018 behind us (and precious memories to last a lifetime), I vow to continue to step into the circle to share my experiences with others.

Additionally, I will help spread cultural understanding through Cultural Conversations, no matter the assumptions that stem from me doing so. These moments are powerful reminders to throw out my own assumptions about others and make room to learn from their experiences.

Images of Folkmoot 2018 – Intrepid Media

Images of Folkmoot 2018 - Intrepid Media

Oh, most certainly, we have many of those stunning images of Folkmoot 2018!

Folkmoot is a veritable feast for photographers, videographers, artists of all kinds who love to capture colorful, compelling, engaging images and share them with the world.

And each Folkmoot Festival produces so many beautiful images it’s actually very difficult to try to corral them all into a central place where everyone can enjoy them. But we’re going to try.

We have been steadily adding images from Folkmoot 2018 to our  Videos & Images Page, here on our website. Folkmoot 2018 ended July 29 and nearly a week later we continue the task of collecting thousands of photos and videos taken during the 10-day festival.

In addition to those appearing on our Video & Images page, we also have links to larger collections by some of the areas best photographers and videographers.

We’ll also feature some of those images here in a series of pieces we will publish, featuring the work of individual contributors.

Images of Folkmoot 2018 - Intrepid MediaToday’s post features the work of the Intrepid Media Group, who photographed Folkmoot’s show in Hickory and our Candlelight Closing performance at Lake Junaluska.

Intrepid Media can be found on Facebook and the young group’s Folkmoot photos from Hickory are contained in a Dropbox Folder here and the photos from Candlelight Closing can be found in a Dropbox Folder here.

Our first installment in this series featured long-time Folkmoot photographer, volunteer and all-around-good-guy Patrick Parton.

Our second installment this series featured the work of a young, bright and talented home-grown photographic talent, Stephen Wenzel.

Our third piece in the series featured our own videos as they were shot and uploaded to our Folkmoot YouTube channel.

Our fourth piece in the series featured the work of our new Folkmoot friends, Ezekiel and Sheila Coppersmith.

Folkmoot Vision

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.

Images of Folkmoot 2018 - Intrepid MediaBirth 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 Facts

  • Folkmoot USA is a non-profit 501(c)[3] 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.

Images of Folkmoot 2018 – Ezekiel Coppersmith

Images of Folkmoot 2018 - Ezekiel Coppersmith

Oh, to be sure, we have many of those stunning images of Folkmoot 2018!

Folkmoot is a veritable feast for photographers, videographers, artists of all kinds who love to capture colorful, compelling, engaging images and share them with the world.

And each Folkmoot Festival produces so many beautiful images it’s actually very difficult to try to corral them all into a central place where everyone can enjoy them. But we’re going to try.

We have been steadily adding images from Folkmoot 2018 to our  Videos & Images Page, here on our website. Folkmoot 2018 ended July 29 and nearly a week later we continue the task of collecting thousands of photos and videos taken during the 10-day festival.

In addition to those appearing on our Video & Images page, we also have links to larger collections by some of the areas best photographers and videographers.

We’ll also feature some of those images here in a series of pieces we will publish, featuring the work of individual contributors.

Images of Folkmoot 2018 - Ezekiel Coppersmith

Today’s post features the work of our new Folkmoot friends, Ezekiel and Sheila Coppersmith.

Please visit the Google Drive file containing Ezekiel’s Folkmoot 2018 photos, scroll through them to find your favorites!

Ezekiel is a horticulturalist by day and in his free time a self taught hobbiest photographer. Pretty good work, we think for a “hobbiest.”

“I have a real passion for wildlife and nature photography but have built a passion for photographing events recently,” he said. “Most of my work can be found on my social media. ”

And, in fact, you can find Ezekiel’s work on his Facebook page, his Instagram, his Twitter account, his GooglePlus presence and others around the web.

 

Our first installment in this series featured long-time Folkmoot photographer, volunteer and all-around-good-guy Patrick Parton.

Our second installment this series featured the work of a young, bright and talented home-grown photographic talent, Stephen Wenzel.

Our third piece in the series featured our own videos as they were shot and uploaded to our Folkmoot YouTube channel.

Future installments of this series will feature the work of others, including images from the Intrepid Media Group as well and some of the nearly 600 photos and video captures by our own Folkmoot staff.

Folkmoot Vision

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.

Images of Folkmoot 2018 - Ezekiel CoppersmithBirth 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 Facts

  • Folkmoot USA is a non-profit 501(c)[3] 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.

Videos of Folkmoot 2018!

Videos of Folkmoot 2018!

We have compiled as your online souvenir videos of Folkmoot 2018!

Oh, yes, all those stunning images of Folkmoot 2018!

Folkmoot is a veritable feast for photographers, videographers, artists of all kinds who love to capture colorful, compelling, engaging images and share them with the world.

And each Folkmoot Festival produces so many beautiful images it’s actually very difficult to try to corral them all into a central place where everyone can enjoy them. But we’re going to try.

We have been steadily adding images from Folkmoot 2018 to our  Videos & Images Page, here on our website. Folkmoot 2018 ended July 29 and nearly a week later we continue the task of collecting thousands of photos and videos taken during the 10-day festival.

In addition to those appearing on our Video & Images page, we also have links to larger collections by some of the areas best photographers and videographers.

We’ll also feature some of those images here in a series of pieces we will publish, featuring the work of individual contributors.

This – the third piece in the series – features our own videos as they were shot and uploaded to our Folkmoot YouTube channel.

Most of the videos posted there remain unedited. They are unscripted, shot in real time and provide a natural sense of each performance and event. (Edited is progressing but it takes a while).

We though you might enjoy them in their natural state.

Our second installment this series featured the work of a young, bright and talented home-grown photographic talent, Stephen Wenzel.

Our first installment in this series featured long-time Folkmoot photographer, volunteer and all-around-good-guy Patrick Parton.

Future installments of this series will feature the work of others, including new Folkmoot friend Ezekial  & Sheila Coppersmith, images from the Intrepid Media Group as well and some of the nearly 600 photos and video captures by our own Folkmoot staff.

Folkmoot Vision

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 Facts

  • Folkmoot USA is a non-profit 501(c)[3] 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.

Images of Folkmoot 2018 – Stephen Wenzel

Images of Folkmoot 2018 - Stephen Wenzel

Oh, yes, all those stunning images of Folkmoot 2018!

Folkmoot is a veritable feast for photographers, videographers, artists of all kinds who love to capture colorful, compelling, engaging images and share them with the world.

And each Folkmoot Festival produces so many beautiful images it’s actually very difficult to try to corral them all into a central place where everyone can enjoy them. But we’re going to try.

We have been steadily adding images from Folkmoot 2018 to our  Videos & Images Page, here on our website. Folkmoot 2018 ended July 29 and nearly a week later we continue the task of collecting thousands of photos and videos taken during the 10-day festival.

In addition to those appearing on our Video & Images page, we also have links to larger collections by some of the areas best photographers and videographers.

We’ll also feature some of those images here in a series of pieces we will publish, featuring the work of individual contributors.

Images of Folkmoot 2018 - Stephen WenzelThis – the second piece in the series – features the work of a young, bright and talented home-grown photographic talent, Stephen Wenzel.

We have space here to publish only three of Stephen’s outstanding photos. Please visit his special Folkmoot web page, at his photography site, to see all his Folkmoot 2018 images.

Our first installment in this series featured long-time Folkmoot photographer, volunteer and all-around-good-guy Patrick Parton.

Future installments of this series will feature the work of others, including new Folkmoot friend Ezekial Coppersmith, images from the Intrepid Media Group as well and some of the nearly 600 photos and video captures by our own Folkmoot staff.

Stephen Wenzel displays a talent for photographer well above his teen years. A 2018 graduate of Tuscola High School who is headed for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Stephen literally grew up in Folkmoot.

His parents met at Folkmoot over two decades ago when his mother, Georgiana, was a visiting dancer with her troupe from Romania and his father, Chris, was a Folkmoot Guide. Georgiana and Chris found love in Folkmoot, married and have been volunteers ever since, combining their passion for family with their passion for Folkmoot.

Stephen intends to study biology at UNC but, seriously, with his talent for photography the arts can’t be far behind!

Images of Folkmoot 2018 - Stephen WenzelFolkmoot Vision

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 Facts

  • Folkmoot USA is a non-profit 501(c)[3] 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.

The songs & stories of Haywood County as sung by Buddy Melton

The songs & stories of Haywood County as sung by Buddy Melton

The songs & stories of Haywood County as sung by Buddy Melton & Milan Miller is the unforgettable evening awaiting those who attend – September 6 –  the inaugural chapter in our Southern Storytellers Supper Series.

Yes, it’s true. Two of Haywood County’s favorite sons, awarding winning vocalist and musician for the world-renowned Balsam Range band, Buddy Melton, will team 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.

Tickets, $25, for what is sure to be an incomparable 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.

Four 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.   

The songs & stories of Haywood County as sung by Buddy MeltonNominated again for 2018 as male vocalist of the year by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) as male vocalist of the year, Buddy 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. 

Milan 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.

The pair will be performing some of their most indelible “story” songs for us, as well as discussing the art and craft of telling stories through their music. Get your tickets and come out to the Folkmoot Friendship Center Thursday, September the 6th at 6pm and enjoy a special night of great food, great music, and great storytelling!

Music CDs available to check out from the Haywood County Public Library:

Homegrown music Volume: a Haywood County tradition / featuring Haywood County’s traditional musicians compiled by James A. Trantham.

The songs & stories of Haywood County as sung by Buddy Melton
Milan Miller

Marching home / produced by Jerry Salley; executive producers, Mickey Gamble & Chris White. Production coordinators, Jeff Collins & Jerry Salley ; recording engineers: Van Atkins, Jack Mascari, & Eric Willson  

Songs from Haywood County / performed by Buddy Melton, Milan Miller and Mark W. Winchester.

Our second event, Thursday October 4th at 6pm, features Ashley English.

Homesteader, author, and blogger Ashley English has crafted a “homespun” life with her husband and two sons in a small Western North Carolina mountain community.

She is the author of the Homemade Living book series which showcase a variety of topics related to small-scale homesteading, as well as A Year of PiesHandmade Gatherings: Recipes and Crafts for Seasonal Celebrations & Potluck Parties, and Quench: Handcrafted Beverages To Satisfy Every Taste and Occasion and most recently, Southern From Scratch: Pantry Essentials and Down-Home Recipes. This most recent book shows how to build a from-scratch Southern pantry with 50 essential recipes. You will discover the versatility and flexibility of cooking from your larder with 100 more recipes for fresh takes on Southern favorites. Ashley understands how food tells the story of culture and is a charming and engaging storyteller. Dinner will feature recipes from Southern from Scratch so come hungry!

More information about the November and December events coming soon.

Images of Folkmoot 2018 – Patrick Parton

Images of Folkmoot 2018 - Patrick Parton

Oh, yes, all those stunning images of Folkmoot 2018!

Folkmoot is a veritable feast for photographers, videographers, artists of all kinds who love to capture colorful, compelling, engaging images and share them with the world.

And each Folkmoot Festival produces so many beautiful images it’s actually very difficult to try to corral them all into a central place where everyone can enjoy them. But we’re going to try.

We have been steadily adding images from Folkmoot 2018 to our  Videos & Images Page, here on our website. Folkmoot 2018 ended July 29 and nearly a week later we continue the task of collecting thousands of photos and videos taken during the 10-day festival.

In addition to those appearing on our Video & Images page, we also have links to larger collections by some of the areas best photographers and videographers.

We’ll also feature some of those images here in a series of pieces we will publish, featuring the work of individual contributors.

Images of Folkmoot 2018 - Patrick PartonThis – the first piece in the series – features the work of long-time Folkmoot photographer, volunteer and all-around-good-guy Patrick Parton.

Future installments of this series will feature the work of the young but artistically mature photographer Stephen Wenzel and new Folkmoot friend Ezekial Coppersmith, images from the Intrepid Media Group as well and some of the nearly 600 photos and video captures by our own Folkmoot staff.

Patrick Parton has long been considered one of our region’s top amateur photographers. Truth be told (and seen), he’s professional quality.

Patrick is continuing to compile all this Folkmoot 2018 photos but you can see a wonderful selection here in an album on Facebook.

See Patrick’s photos from Folkmoot Festival of the past at his photography website.

A Waynesville native and graduate of Tuscola High School, Patrick has worked at his “real job” for over 31 years while continuing to pursue photographer for the love the the art.

After volunteering with Folkmoot in the early 1990’s with his family and attending various Folkmoot shows and events, Patrick decided to get serious about work as a Folkmoot photographer.

Images of Folkmoot 2018 - Patrick PartonBack then, digital cameras were beginning to hit the market and Patrick found it exciting to apply digital settings and filtering to his hobby.

Not only did he regularly photograph his family, but he began bringing his digital camera to Folkmoot events.

He was so pleased with how many of the photos turned out that he showed them to former Folkmoot Board President, Linda Manes. She enjoyed them so much that she asked Patrick to come to all of the events and take pictures. Not only did he say, “yes,” but he took all of the pictures as a volunteer. Even today, Patrick continues to take pictures for Folkmoot at absolutely no cost as a contribution to the community.

Patrick’s favorite part of the festival is the Gala because it’s the first time all of the groups meet and perform together. He enjoys this, he says, because he really appreciates all of the different cultures and dancers showing up right here at home in Western North Carolina.

Volunteering with Folkmoot has enabled Patrick to make friends across the globe, enjoy cultural diversity, see firsthand that we are all much more alike than different, and share with the Folkmoot community his beautiful photos!

Folkmoot Vision

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 Facts

  • Folkmoot USA is a non-profit 501(c)[3] 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.

Thank you for a magnificent Folkmoot 2018!

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

Thank you for a magnificent Folkmoot 2018!

The music and dancing have faded (for now, briefly), lasting friendships and bonds have been rendered to sweet memories, the banners are down, the flags fly in our collective consciousness and, maybe, our world feels a bit more peaceful.

At least, that’s what we hope each year we draw the world to Main Street Waynesville and spread our joy across Western North Carolina: that through dance and music and cultural sharing we might nudge us all toward our better angels and come to understand we are, as people, more alike than we are different.

Yes, Folkmoot 2018 was spectacular and we’re grateful for everyone who help make it so beautiful.

Angeline Schwab, Folkmoot Executive Director, sums it up in her personal thanks:

“You may not know that Folkmoot grows from a 5 person, mostly part-time, staff to over 74 workers over the month of July. We have cafeteria workers, maintenance people, guides and assistant guides, social media people and bus drivers. We also have 400 volunteers, emcees, board members, ushers, office workers…you name it. We are a volunteer-based organization.

“Managing communication between themselves, their groups and the rest of us is the primary challenge. It’s also being conscious of cultural sensitivities, having an understanding of world politics, self-control, knowledge of Folkmoot sign language; also learning when to be a leader and when to follow. How to manage an emergency situation, being on time, sweeping a stage, phone etiquette, ticketing software…I could keep going.

“This group of workers are primarily local kids – students from Haywood County schools led by a group of caring adults who wanted to have an international experience right here at home. Our students from Tuscola and Pisgah High Schools along with students from Western Carolina University, Lenoir Rhyne, NC State University, Indiana, Tennessee and South Carolina colleges.

“We are having a great festival together. As Director, I’ve felt happier and more relieved and relaxed than I ever have while working with this powerful team. We were like murmurating starlings, a world-class marching band, a Haywood County power-team and a Folkmoot family.

“In the heartfelt words of assistant guide, Gracie Feichter, “These are happy and grateful tears I’m crying because I can’t picture my life without Folkmoot.

“These lovely groups, these guides and this awesome festival team, along with you…the friends of Folkmoot are the ones who’ve made this beautiful experience possible…us.

“Please take a bow, ya’ll!”

Be sure to visit our  Videos & Images Page, here on our website. Folkmoot 2018 ended July 29 and nearly a week later we continue the task of collecting thousands of photos and videos taken during the 10-day festival.

In addition to those appearing on our Video & Images page, we also have links to larger collections by some of the areas best photographers and videographers. Our Instagram is a pretty active place, too!

Here are some of our beautiful highlights from Folkmoot 2018 (among many, many highlights)!!

Big weekend finale for Folkmoot 2018!

Big weekend finale for Folkmoot 2018!

We’re building toward a big weekend finale for Folkmoot 2018!

We’ve had a marvelous festival – stretching from Franklin to Hickory and many points in between. Thousands have attended Folkmoot performances and have been dazzled by our international folk dance troupes and have taken regional pride in our Angl0-Appalachian and Cherokee dance troupes.

Folkmoot 2o18’s Finale Weekend launches from Asheville and lands for the always emotional and powerful closing ceremonies at Lake Junaluska’s Stuart Auditorium.

Friday: Asheville, North Carolina. A 2 p.m. matinee in the Diana Wortham Theatre. A 7 p.m. performance in the Diana Wortham Theatre.

Saturday: International Festival Day – Downtown Waynesville, North Carolina. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Another free and public event, a wonderful day of celebrating international friendships and cultural exchange!

Saturday: Performance of all groups at Haywood Community College, 7 p.m.

Sunday: Candlelight Closing, Stuart Auditorium, Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. A rich, colorful & emotional last festival performance filled with tradition, joys and even a few tears!

Share on the social media!

We look forward to seeing and re-sharing all your Folkmoot experiences. Help us find what you post by using hashtags, #Folkmoot or #Folkmoot2018.  

Our Folkmoot Facebook Page has long had an active and growing community – now over 5,000 friends! Many of you visit and engage with it often – and we’re grateful for that.

The Folkmoot Instagram is always very active, too! (Plenty of visiting performers post photos.)

The Folkmoot Twitter presence has increased exponentially in recent months and we’ve added the Folkmoot face to other popular social channels: GooglePlus and Tumblr. 

The Folkmoot YouTube channel is evolving, getting up-to-speed and timely.

We’re just continuing the grand Folkmoot party online and we invite you to join us on any or all of the social channels with which you engage most!

Again, we invite you share your Folkmoot experience online – on the social channels you use most (or, maybe even, discover new ones). Please use the hashtags, #Folkmoot and #Folkmoot2018, when sharing. We will try our best to keep up and repost, share whatever you post online.

Cultural Activities, Live Music, Dance Instruction & Performances

Since the 2015 festival, Folkmoot has worked to diversify festival activities and shift from an entertainment “audience” model to an educational, “engagement” framework for the festival. What does this mean for our ticket buyers? We will continue to host festival favorites at concert halls and auditoriums across western North Carolina, but we will also offer more activities that allow for your participation.  From community members playing in the international band, dance lessons on Main Street, Camp Folkmoot for kiddos, Cultural Conversations panel discussions, community dinners at local churches, educational partnerships with Rotary International, Western Carolina University faculty and Haywood County Schools music programs, Folkmoot is building new opportunities for our communities and international guests to experience and celebrate culture.

Folkmoot’s Rich History and Exciting Future

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.  

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.

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 neighborhood party on Thursday!

Folkmoot neighborhood party on Thursday!

We’re going to have a Folkmoot neighborhood party of Thursday!

We’re all going to gather on Hazelwood Avenue in West Waynesville with our visiting dancers, with our neighbors and with our Hazelwood neighborhood businesses to celebrate each other and the historic part of Waynesville we all call home.

An afternoon party – noon to 3 p.m. – will offer a chance for Hazelwood neighbors and businesses to mix and mingle with our visiting Folkmoot 2018 dancers and for the general public to get to know both the dancers and our Hazelwood neighboring businesses.

Hazelwood was for much of the mid- to late-20th Century it’s own town, a factory town of working class folks, it’s own central business district and quite apart and separate from the larger Waynesville. But in the 21st Century, long after the factories closed, Hazelwood dissolved its city charter, became part of Waynesville and is now experiencing a re-birth as a commercial center  and trending neighborhood with great restaurants, cute shops and valuable businesses.

Folkmoot Center is housed in the historic Hazelwood School on Virginia Avenue.

The event is just part of Folkmoot’s celebration of our own regional tradition and heritage along with the cultures, dance and art we bring to our community from around the world.

Folkmoot 2018 formally opened Thursday and runs through Sunday and will feature performing dance troupes from Italy, Czech Republic, Mexico, Thailand 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.

Once here for the festival we invited you to stay awhile and enjoy all our beautiful region has to offer.

Here is the rest of our schedule for the week

Thursday: Franklin, North Carolina. A 7 p.m. performance at the Smoky Mountain Performing Arts Center (All groups). 

Friday: Asheville, North Carolina. A 2 p.m. matinee in the Diana Wortham Theatre. A 7 p.m. performance in the Diana Wortham Theatre.

Saturday: International Festival Day – Downtown Waynesville, North Carolina. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Another free and public event, a wonderful day of celebrating international friendships and cultural exchange!

Saturday: Performance of all groups at Haywood Community College, 7 p.m.

Sunday: Candlelight Closing, Stuart Auditorium, Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. A rich, colorful & emotional last festival performance filled with tradition, joys and even a few tears!

Please call 828-452-2997 for more information about Folkmoot 2018!

Share on the social media!

We look forward to seeing and re-sharing all your Folkmoot experiences. Help us find what you post by using hashtags, #Folkmoot or #Folkmoot2018.  

Our Folkmoot Facebook Page has long had an active and growing community – now over 5,000 friends! Many of you visit and engage with it often – and we’re grateful for that.

The Folkmoot Instagram is always very active, too! (Plenty of visiting performers post photos.)

The Folkmoot Twitter presence has increased exponentially in recent months and we’ve added the Folkmoot face to other popular social channels: GooglePlus and Tumblr. 

The Folkmoot YouTube channel is evolving, getting up-to-speed and timely.

We’re just continuing the grand Folkmoot party online and we invite you to join us on any or all of the social channels with which you engage most!

Again, we invite you share your Folkmoot experience online – on the social channels you use most (or, maybe even, discover new ones). Please use the hashtags, #Folkmoot and #Folkmoot2018, when sharing. We will try our best to keep up and repost, share whatever you post online.

A very special guest graces Folkmoot 2018!

A very special guest graces Folkmoot 2018!

A very special guest graces Folkmoot 2018!

One of the world’s leading experts on folk dance festivals, folk art festivals and citizen of the world, Dr. Udomsak Sakmunwong, can be found among working his way through nearly all Folkmoot 2018 events, often encouraging his hometown dance troupe, the Lampang Kalayanee School, one of our visiting dance troupes.

But Dr. Sakmunwong is not just a world authority on folk festivals he is past-president – for eight years – of CIOFF, the International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts. CIOFF is the world-wide governing body of folk festivals, a world partner of UNESCO, and each year certifies Folkmoot Festival as worthy of the world’s attention.

“Folkmoot is one of our best and biggest festivals,” he explained in a quiet moment just as our hectic 10-day festivals was getting underway. “It is your volunteers who give it what it takes to land it among our best and the way the entire community embraces the festival each year.”

Folkmoot 2018 runs through July 29 and will feature performing dance troupes from Italy, Czech Republic, Mexico, Thailand, 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.

Once here for the festival we invited you to stay awhile and enjoy all our beautiful region has to offer.

Dr. Sakmunwong’s visit to the 2018 festival in not his first. He has been to Waynesville and Folkmoot a few times before, not only as president of CIOFF but also as the good and dear friend of Rolf Kaufman, Folkmoot’s most important and senior volunteer and director.

“Rolf and I have been dear friends for many years,” he explained. “From the time Rolf came to CIOFF as the American representative, representative of Folkmoot and to help us with our committee on finances.”

Although Dr. Sakmunwong retired as CIOFF president in 2005 he has remained active in the organization as senior advisor, East Asian representative and representative of the Thailand’s National Cultural Council, which he currently chairs and through it helps support cultural arts and cultural exchange in Thailand’s 77 provinces.

“It’s a labor of love,” he says with a smile.

He also beams with pride at the Lampang Kalayanee School, based in his home town of Amphoe Muang, in the Lampang Province.

“It is one of our biggest and best secondary schools,” he boasts.

It’s dance troupe has certainly been a hit in Folkmoot 2018.

Dr. Sakmunwong was a university professor, teaching political science in Thailand and at Northeastern Illinois University in the U.S.. He was schooled in Japan, London and the University of Chicago.

He is also quite certain his 2018 visit to Waynesville and the Smoky Mountains will not be his last.

“Your’s is a very special region,” he said. “In all the world it’s a very special place.”