With Folkmoot’s online efforts lauded in The Mountaineer, Haywood County’s oldest newspaper, the traditional and the new blend in harmony – just like Folkmoot itself!
“The international dance teams are long gone, but this year’s festival may well be a legacy one for the 31-year-old Folkmoot USA,” writes Mountaineer Editor Vicki Hyatt.
“It marks a year when the festival actually broke even financially, something that hasn’t happened in a number of years. It also marked the start of the long-range changes the organization began last year when a long-term strategy was developed.
“’We had a sweet festival,’ said Folkmoot Director Angie Schwab, who came on board just five months before the July event. ‘We sold 5,000 tickets and gave away another 1,000 to sponsors, complementary gifts and promotions, so we exceeded attendance from last year.’
“This year also sets a new baseline for promoting both Folkmoot USA and its events on social media in a way that hasn’t happened before.
“’We did a lot to build our online presence,’ Schwab said. ‘We had a wonderful level of sponsorship through (Haywood County Tourist Development Authority) and they made it possible for us to build our presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Our sponsorship through Relevanza gave us full-time staffing for the online platform.’
“The change is a significant one, she explained, because most of the dance groups are under 30 and are avid social media users. The relationships made during the festival are being maintained, she added.
“’We got (almost) 1,000 (Instagram photos with the #Folkmoot hashtag) and we had great video. It’s helped us realize our potential with reaching international audiences,’ she said. ‘What’s happening now is we’re getting a lot of requests from international groups to come here because of our social media. It feels like we’re at the beginning of a wonderful transformation.”
And it’s only the beginning…