Meet the 2021 Summerfest Performers

Did you make it to the Summerfest? If not, no worries! Take a moment to view our performers this year. Then, keep track of our social media so you never miss out on any memories and moments captured! We are so excited to have had the opportunity to host a festival this year. It is only forward from here; with your support, Folkmoot can return to sharing this level of talent year round. 

 

Interested in a particular ethnicity in our American Cultural Diversity series? Let us know who captivated you! Message us on Facebook or Instagram or contact us

 

 

Trinity Irish Dance Ensemble

Folkmoot proudly welcomes the Trinity Irish Dance Ensemble from Illinois and Wisconsin for Summerfest to bring the traditional dance and music of Ireland. Trinity Ensemble is the Trinity Academy’s top tier junior performing arts troupe.
From leading Trinity’s local performances, to performing around the world at international festivals, these dancers act as ambassadors bringing Trinity’s mission to “elevate children, the community and the world through the power and grace of Irish dance” alive.

For nearly 40 years, the Trinity Irish Dancers have been the most widely recognized Irish dance program in the world. Founded by Mark Howard in 1982, Trinity has thrilled audiences worldwide with its innovative approach and attention to detail, winning the first world title for the United States in 1987. Trinity has appeared in both feature films and on national television programs including the Tonight Show, CONAN, The Today Show, and Good Morning America. Trinity has the unrivaled distinction of winning more world titles than any other American Irish dance school, and elevating the traditional form of Irish Dance through a performing arts lens. Learn more about Trinity Dance Ensemble online www.trinityirishdance.com

 

Los Texmaniacs

The Texmaniacs specialize in Tejano music, a word that translates to ‘Texan’, a popular music style that rose from centuries of cultural fusing of Mexican and US influences, indigenous to Texas, USA. What is a conjunto? The term conjunto literally means group or ensemble that includes elements from Mexican-Spanish vocal traditions, Czech and German button accordion, dance tunes and rhythms that migrants brought to Texas in the mid19th century. Mexican migrants and farm worker who came to the US over the last century made conjunto music a centerpiece of social gatherings and an important force of social unity, bringing Mexican influences with them. The genre combines the storytelling and vocals of Mexico with the distinct Texas rhythm and music.

Los Texmaniacs was created by Max Baca in 1997, following his father’s footprint in the genre with two thoughts in mind: to base the group’s sound on a rock-solid foundation of Texas Mexican conjunto music, and to infuse new sounds that are part of the contemporary Mexican American soundscape in the Southwest into the group’s style and repertoire. The music that results is built on the classic conjunto instrumentation of a threerow button accordion, a bajo sexto guitar with 12 strings in six courses playing bass melodies and chords, an electric or acoustic bass, and a drum set. The result reflects the expansive musical background of its members, with occasional tints of, and excursions into, blues, rock, country, and jazz. Band members are Max Baca on bajo sexto, Josh Baca on accordion, Noel Hernandez on electric bass, and Lorenzo Martínez on the drums.

Over the years, Los Texmaniacs have collaborated with various well known artists from both Tejano and other genres, including Rick Trevino, Flaco Jimenez, and Los Lobos. In 2010, Los Texmaniacs won a Grammy Award for Tejano Album of The Year, Borders y Bailes. And renowned country singer Lyle Lovett sang Deportee, a song penned by Woody Guthrie, for their album, Cruzando Borders. Experience TexMex at Folkmoot’s SummerFest and read more about Los Texmaniacs online at lostexmaniacs.com.

 

Nathan Bugh and Rachel Pitner

Stephen Wenzel Photography

Throughout the 20th century, dance in the USA has evolved with a variety of music genres, reflecting the Zeitgeist of each era. Tap dance has its roots in several ethnic percussive dances, including Scottish step dancing, Gioube Juba dance, English clog dancing and Irish jigs. Lindy Hop originated by the African-American community of the Savoy Ballroom, in Harlem, New York, circa 1928 and is the most significant, swing-jazz, partnered dance. Tap and Lindy Hop were two popular dance forms that contributed to both swing and jazz dance that we know today.

Folkmoot is proud to present Tap & Lindy Hop dancers Rachel Pitner and Nathan Bugh, a duo who have each made their impact in American Dance, both in their home towns and nationally.

Nathan Bugh is known worldwide for his intimately rhythmic style of Lindy Hop and vernacular jazz. He “rocked the stage” at Carnegie Hall, dancing Lindy Hop with the New York Pops Orchestra; he performed in Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater in Swingin’ Frankie’s Way; and he danced in the CT&Co’s More Forever, at Jacob’s Pillow. His on-film appearances are many and as a national jazz-dance competitor, Nathan has taken 1st place in Lindy, Slow Dancing, Solo Charleston, Team, Jill&Jack, and Cabaret divisions. He is one of the most eminent solo-jazz contestants in the world, having won both the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown (2012) and International Lindy Hop Championships (2014), as well as achieving 3rd place in the ILHC invitational (2018). He was also the director and choreographer of “Yeah Man,” the 2015 ILHC Team champions.

Nathan is based in New York City, where he performs regularly and teaches social-dance classes. Learn more about Nathan at nathanbugh.blogspot.com

The Bailey Mountain Cloggers

Stephen Wenzel Photography

Folkmoot welcomes The Bailey Mountain Cloggers (BMC), an American Folk Dance Ensemble from Mars Hill NC who are not only a performance and competition team that travels, competes and performs, they are also one of a few college based performing clog teams in the nation, with art performance grants and college credit courses. The Bailey Mountain Cloggers serve as ambassadors of goodwill for the college and the folk dance traditions of the Southern Mountains. The Bailey Mountain Cloggers were organized in 1974 by students at Mars Hill College, now Mars Hill University, in the mountains of North Carolina, near Asheville. The Bailey Mountain name is derived from the mountain adjacent to the college campus. This college clog team carries influence from an older championship team in Mars Hill called Bailey Mountain “Square” Dance Team.

Comprised of young adults from the college and town, these dancers in the spring of 1950 toured the Southwest with Bascom Lamar Lunsford, who is credited for giving the name Bailey Mountain to the team. By the late 50’s, precision clogging entered the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in Asheville with James Kesterson and the Blue Ridge Mountain Dancers. Until then, only Smooth Big Circle Dance, called Mountain “Square” Dance, and freestyle clog dancing were part of the folk festival. One such precision clog team influenced the Bailey Mountain Cloggers in their early years; the Green Grass Cloggers. During the 1980’s Bailey Mountain began competition clogging and expanded its clog repertoire to include more than precision clog routines: Big Circle Smooth, Freestyle, Country Hoedown, Kentucky Running Set, Line Dance, Show, and Percussive dance routines Today, the students who comprise the dance company come from various dance traditions, representing a number of ethnic and religious backgrounds. Each student clogger becomes a unique part of the Bailey Mountain tradition, blending the old with the new into a larger mosaic for the future. During their 45-year history, the  Bailey Mountain Cloggers have performed through out the United States and internationally in Canada, Mexico, England, Scotland, Austria, and Ireland. The Bailey Mountain Cloggers Folk Dance Company has established a national and international reputation for American clog dance excellence.

Cherokee Performances

Stephen Wenzel Photography

AniKituhwa Warriors The Warriors of AniKituhwa are cultural ambassadors for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, who a have revived traditional dances and shared Cherokee dances, history, and culture throughout the US and beyond, but their favorite place to dance is in Cherokee, for Cherokee children and elders. The Warriors of AniKituhwa pass on their dances to the next generation, so that the dances—and perhaps the Cherokee world—will survive.

Eddie Swimmer is an accomplished Hoop dancer, storyteller, and public speaker who was raised in the Big Cove Community on the Qualla Boundary. He first learned Cherokee dance steps from his family and by watching traditional
dancers. After attending Western Carolina University and Brigham Young University, he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he studied with Tony Whitecloud, founder of the modem Native American Hoop dance. For several years, Eddie Swimmer held the title of the World Champion Hoop dancer, and toured the world with Native American dance groups, performing throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia as well as performing in the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, at the 1994 World Cup Soccer Tournament in Dallas, and in the 1993 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. In New York he choreographed a hoop dance number in the Broadway production of “Annie Get Your Gun” and is the founder of the native dance group Native Movements. Hoop Dancing Native American Hoop Dance is an individual dance, performed by an individual as a show dance or featuring a solo dancer with a dozen or more hoops and using them to form a variety of  both static and dynamic shapes (poses and moves).

Jarrett Wildcatt in an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, who resides in the Wolftown Community. He works for the Museum of the Cherokee Indian as an Atsila Anotasgi Cultural Specialist (Fire Builder). In the group he performs traditional dances, as well as involved in storytelling, lectures, exhibit tours, twine weaving and wood carving.

Big Cove Stickball Team “Kolanvyi” is a group of Cherokee men and boys practicing a traditional contact game of stickball (Indian Ball). Knowledge of Cherokee stickball is passed from generation to generation. Each player is a respected member of the brotherhood and chosen to compete against other communities based on speed, strength, experience, and heart. KoLaNvYi kids are learning the traditions and values of being a Cherokee warrior while learning how to play the game.

Deeksha School of Performing Arts

Anupa Thakurta is a dancer, choreographer, teacher and an artist at Deeksha School of Performing Arts (DSPA) in Atlanta, GA. The school provides lifelong classical training in Bharatanayam, a South Indian form of Classical dance. Anupa completed her Arangetram (like a Bachelor’s degree for dance form) in 1998. Since then she has mentored and studied the dance form with the revered and top Bharatanatyam exponents of this generation worldwide. Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest dance forms of India. It was nurtured in the temples and courts of Southern India since ancient times. Later it was codified and documented as a performing art in the 19th century by the 4 brothers known as the “Tanjore Quartet” whose musical compositions for the dance form the bulk of the Bharatanatyam repertoire even today.

The art was handed down as a living tradition from generation to generation under the Devadasi system under which women were dedicated to temples to serve the deity as dancers ad musicians forming part of the elaborate rituals. These highly talented artists and the male Gurus were the sole repository of the art until the early 20th century when a renewal of interest in India’s cultural heritage prompted the educated elite to discover its beauty. The revival of Bharatanatyam by pioneers such as E. Krishna Lyer and Rukmini Devi Arundale brought the dance out of the temple precincts and onto the proscenium stage though it retained its essentially devotional character.

Today Bharatanatyam is one of the most popular and widely performed dance styles and is practiced by both male and female dancers all over India. Due to its wide range of movements and postures and the balanced melange of the rhythmic and mimetic aspects lends itself well to experimental and fusion choreography. Bharatanatyam has its origin in the Natya Sastra, an ancient treatise on the performing arts, and is said to have been written 2000 years ago by Bharata Muni. It was the first book which explained the origin of the art and gave the details about the technique and intricacies of this dance form. The Natya Shastra was created by Lord Brahma on the request of Lord Indra and other Devas as an object of diversion for the lower castes (Shudras) that were not entitled to listen to the 4 Vedas (Sama, Yajur, Rig and Atharva). Brahma created Natya Shastra as the 5th veda which was open to all, irrespective of caste and creed.

SUAH African Dance

Stephen Wenzel Photography

 

Africa is a big continent with a variety of traditions in music, dance and culture. Folkmoot is proud to bring SUAH African Dance Theatre to perform in Western North Carolina. The name Suah is from the Gio ethnic group from Liberia, West Africa, meaning “A new beginning or one with new ideas in a new era”. SUAH African Dance Theatre is the creation of Wesley Lee Williams, JR, who serves as CEO & Artistic Director. Williams is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher of West African Music & Dance and African contemporary dance styles and has performed with the Jan Van Dyke Dance Company, Ballethnic Dance Company of Atlanta, GA, and the NC Black Repertory Company. He has been invited to choreograph new works on several universities, such as, Radford, Lincoln University, Stephens College, and University of North Carolina School of the Arts to name a few and travels all over the country sharing his gift to create dance works with all arts lovers. In Mr. Williams words, ‘Live Life and Love Dance’.

Serving as associate Artistic Director, Gabrielle T. Yvette Bull-Williams, “Yvette” Bull Williams who first fell in love with dance at the tender age of 3 years old. Born to Liberian parents, Yvette always had a passion for West African music, dance, song, and culture. In 2002 she was formally introduced to West African Dance and Contemporary African Dance and promptly joined the Wesley Williams Urban Dance Theatre, now known as SUAH African Dance Theatre (SADT). Yvette attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) where she became a member of the John Gamble Dance Theater. Later, performing works choreographed by artists, such as, Robin Gee and Sherone Price. In 2004, Yvette became a member of the NC Black Repertory Company and performed in “Black Nativity” for 6 years, as well as, the opening production “Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope” for the 2009 NC Black Theater Festival. In 2016 Yvette and Wesley opened “SUAH School of Music & Dance” in Atlanta, GA to inspire and educate youth, 4 and older, through the arts and share with all art lovers Learn more about SUAH online at www. suahadt.com

The Revelers

Stephen Wenzel Photography

Chas Justus from Memphis, Tennessee, was born to play guitar, seamlessly mastering country jazz and the Southwest Louisiana guitar styles. Not only has his guitar playing been featured on numerous albums to come out of the Louisiana music scene but also his songs have been on quite a few albums. Daniel Coolik Daniel, originally from Atlanta, Georgia, swept into the Lafayette scene in 2009 and quickly added his name to many respectable rosters, loaning his talents to such groups as Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole, The Red Stick Ramblers, Les Malfecteurs, and The Yvette Landry Band. Daniel has focused on jazz mandolin as well as old time Appalachian traditional music. His abilities have taken him all over the globe, including Haiti, Thailand, most countries in Western Europe, and Canada. Glenn Fields is a Baton Rouge native and the quintessential Louisiana drummer. It’s no wonder that his skills have taken him all over the world including the Far East. He is also responsible for the creation of The Blackpot Festival, an event representing Louisiana’s cultural renaissance and vitality that he so embodies. Trey Boudreaux grew up in Lafayette, LA, surrounded by the sounds of French music and inspired by the constant flow of music his parents played in the house. Boudreaux developed skills in a wide range of musical styles that made him an in-demand bass player. Trey has brought his commanding and energetic groove to countless artists in South Louisiana, having also carved out a place in the New Orleans music community for a decade. The Chris Miller, TCM, grew up listening to bluegrass music in Florida but found his voice in the saxophone and has quickly developed a reputation as an in-demand soloist. It’s been said that his fiery tone and homage to the swamp pop masters is the “glue” in the Revelers unstoppable sound.
Visit revelersband.com for more information.

El Alma De Luna

From Charlotte NC, Folkmoot welcomes the El Alma De Luna Dancers who bring with them a variety of traditional dances from various Latin Countries. A highly qualified professional dance academy, they are experienced in various types of dancing, mixing in Contemporary Dancing, Modern Dance, Hip Hop Dancing, Folkloric Performances and Quinceañeras, they are known for distinctive perspectives. Their goal is to capture the unique quality and personality of every type of dance they perform, this year featuring traditional dances from Peru, Columbia and Puerto Rico.

A Celebration of American Cultural Diversity

America, the mosaic of world culture. What does American Cultural Diversity mean to you?

Folkmoot’s celebration of American Cultural Diversity recognizes the generations of tradition passed down to be spread and learned from. Diversity in its essence highlights the many ways people view the world, and the respect one gives diversity opens their world up to so much. 

The cultures that compose the cultural phenomena we see everyday effect us more than you may realize. From architecture to food and from dance to music, all of the flavors that makes one an American are attributed to cultural exchange.

The 2021 Summerfest distinguished ten artistic expressions easily found around the United States. For example, the Deeksha School of Performing Arts, showcased classical Indian dancing and educated their audience about authentic Indian perspectives about the mind, body, and soul.

Folkmoot finds it important to appreciate the 4 million Indian-Americans that contribute to the diversity that feed our perspectives, advance our culture,  and foster a beautiful mix of people in one place. 

Our slogan, “Many Cultures, One Community” is so meaningful when the many cultures that join us in Haywood County to build a bridge between our ways of life. 

Alongside Classical Indian Dance, Folkmoot presented the following artistic expressions:

  • Irish Dance
  • Tejana Conjunto Music
  • Tap and Lindy
  • Cherokee Stories and Dance
  • Cajun Swamp Rock Music 
  • Latin Dance
  • African Music, Dance, and Song
  • Clogging

This list can be seen as a list of gifts from around the world. Each performance has their own story and own origin. Folkmoot, as an organization, is eternally thankful to take part in this journey and to be able to share it with its community. 

For 37 years, Folkmoot has been celebrating diversity and each year we find a new way to do so. Thank you for joining us as we spread mutual respect and understanding. 

 

 

 

FOLKMOOT SUMMERFEST: Need to Knows

FOLKMOOT SUMMERFEST 2021 JULY 22ND-JULY 25TH

WHO: Check out this post introducing each group!

Eddie Swimmer- From the Qualla Boundry, NC

Trinity Irish Dance Ensemble- From Chicago, IL

Los Texmaniacs- From San Antonio, TX

Nathan Bugh and Rachel Pitner- From New York & Atlanta

The Warriors of Anikituhwa- From the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

The Revelers- From Louisiana 

El Alma De La Luna- From Charlotte, NC

SUAH African Dance- From Greensboro, NC

Deeksha School of Performing Arts- From Atlanta

Bailey Mountain Cloggers- From Mars Hill University

 

WHAT- Check out our interpretation of American Cultural Diversity!

The 37th Folkmoot festival named The Summerfest. A celebration of American Cultural Diversity. 

WHEN – Thursday, July 22 – Sunday, July 25 

WHERE- The Opening Night Gala (Thursday) will be held at the Folkmoot Friendship Center. International Day will be held on N Main Street. The evening shows will be held at Lake Junaluska.

WHY – Our mission is to foster the vibrancy of many cultures into one community. Our way to reconnect with our beloved Folkmoot Community after a trying time.

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What else? Tickets are available on our website or ate the gate. The rest we will take care of, enjoy your Summerfest! Bring you and yours to Waynesville for a weekend that you wont want to miss. 

 

 

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

fkmt_holiday_2020_friends

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 www.wellsfuneralhome.com.

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