A great festival despite losing two groups!

Folkmoot 2016 is going to be a great festival despite losing two groups!

We are sad to have to report two of our international dance troupes expected for Folkmoot 2016 will not arrive. They were forced to cancel travel plans when, at the last minute, they were denied travel visas to the U.S. Unfortunately, the troupes from Ghana and Romania won’t be joining us for this year’s festival.

We expected our remaining eight international folk dance troupes to put on a spectacular festival!

It’s actually not all that uncommon for some troupes to drop out at the last minute. It’s actually amazing, if one thinks about it, that so many dancers and musicians successfully complete the intense logistics and wade through the bureaucratic red tape to arrive in Western Carolina each summer and thrill audiences with their art, music and dance craft. And although we missed the groups who failed to make it we’ve had outstanding festivals for the past 32 years and we anticipate the 33rd Annual Folkmoot Festival, which formally begins Thursday, to be the best ever! 

Be sure to see the complete schedule and purchase your tickets online here!

The Folkmoot Box Office can be reached by phone during business hours: 828-452-2997 , ext. 207.

Folkmoot Executive Director Angeline Schwab penned this letter to explain the loss this year of the Ghanian and Romanian dance troupes:

Nkrabea Dance Ensemble
Nkrabea Dance Ensemble of Ghana

It’s with disappointment that we announce that our friends from Ghana and Romania will not be participating in the 2016 festival.

This morning, we received an email from group director, Emmanuel Tegney of the Nkrabea Dance Ensemble which stated the United States Embassy in Accra, Ghana was unable to approve the group’s visa request.

We were also sad to learn today, that Vatra de Dor, a Romanian group we’ve been communicating with for almost a year didn’t receive approval of their visa petition, either.

We hope to invite these groups to the 2017 Festival and believe with enough time to navigate the visa process, that Ghanaian and Romanian groups will be approved and will be featured at Folkmoot.

Without Ghana and Romania, Folkmoot has confirmed eight groups for the 2016 festival: China, Japan, Finland, Uganda, France, Poland, Dominican Republic and Peru. We will also host dancers and musicians that represent Appalachian and Cherokee cultures.

The Folkmoot Festival is in its 33rd year and is hosting performances in Asheville, Bryson City, Canton, Franklin, Hendersonville, Hickory, Lake Junaluska, Maggie Valley and Waynesville.

What’s new for 2016?

Folkmoot recruits new countries each year. In Folkmoot’s 33-year history, we’ve hosted almost 8,000 performers from more than 200 countries.

Parade of Nations has become a staple for Haywood County. This year we are changing the date and time to better allow families to attend. This spectacular event features Folkmoot’s international groups and local organizations, giant puppets and stilt walkers. It’s is a chance for Western Carolinians to welcome our international guests as well as see previews of our visiting troupes’ performances. The parade will be on Saturday, July 23 at 10:00 a.m. on Main Street in Downtown Waynesville.

Many Cultures Kid’s Carnival is a new event for Folkmoot, set for Saturday, July 23 from 12:00 pm until 5:00 pm at the field adjacent to the Folkmoot Friendship Center, 112 Virginia Avenue, Waynesville. This event will include a variety of local organizations and clubs hosting booths with cultural themes including games and crafts. Folkmoot’s international performers will also be sharing their own culture through dance lessons for the children. To top off this amazing event the visiting dance troupes will perform three shows – 1 p.m., 2 p.m. & 3 p.m. – in Folkmoot’s newly renovated Sam Love Queen Auditorium! Each performance will include two groups and will cost $10 for adults and $5 for kids with a $30 cap for larger families. Online ticket sales for the three shows are here, on our tickets page.

Global Issues Forum – July 24 is an opportunity for our community to learn more about the differences and similarities among cultures. Folkmoot International groups will also be able to ask Americans their own questions. This event centered on cultural understanding and learning. Lunch starts at 12 in the gym of First United Methodist Church, Waynesville: $10 for adults $5 for kids. Forum begins at 1 pm. Group performance begins at 2 pm, $18.

Ambassadors Day Cherokee – Another new event for Festival 2016, our friends and neighbors, the Cherokee people or Tsalagi, will share with our visiting dance troupes and festival attendees the unique experience and often tragic but ultimately victorious history of the Cherokee people. The Cherokee culture and traditions are among the very richest offerings Western Carolina has to the rest of the world.

Dancing Folkmoot 2016 will be Peru MulticolorDress in your best cultural regalia for Folkmoot performances! Festival goers are encouraged to join the fun by sharing your own cultural heritage at all Folkmoot events in 2016. As an example, individuals with Scottish heritage are invited to wear a kilt to any Folkmoot performances. At each event, the “best dressed” will be chosen and this audience member will win a Folkmoot t-shirt. Folkmoot will also feature a photo of these individuals on our social media channels.

How to get involved? Folkmoot USA is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that relies upon donations, sponsorships, Friends of Folkmoot members, ticket sales and grants to hold the Folkmoot Festival each year. Everyone can celebrate and support Folkmoot USA programs by becoming a member through the Friends of Folkmoot on our website, www.FolkmootUSA.org. Your donations support community-building events for kids and families and support our international guests during their stay in Waynesville at the Folkmoot Friendship Center, located in the Historic Hazelwood School. Pick up a bulletin at your local Visitor Center or go online to FolkmootUSA.org to learn more.

Volunteers Needed – Volunteer groups are still needed to prepare the Folkmoot Center for the Festival and work events. If you, your company, church or civic group would like to help, please fill out and submit this online form or contact Doug Garrett at 828-452-2997 to find out how you can help.

The 33rd Edition of North Carolina’s Official International Folk Festival begins Thursday and runs through July 31, with parades (new parades in Asheville and Franklin), cultural events, festivals within the festival and – of course – those glorious, dramatic and colorful dance performances at venues all over Western North Carolina.

Named a Top 20 Event in 2016 in the Southeastern U.S., according to the Southeast Tourism Society and by USA Today as one of the Top Twenty Festivals in North Carolina, Folkmoot is a ten-day event featuring more than 200 international performers from ten countries with performances in 12 Western North Carolina communities.

Lodging and accommodations can be found here and Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center is for the first time offering weekend hotel packages for Folkmoot visitors.

Folkmoot performers are primarily college students who are acting as cultural ambassadors for their home countries.

For the 2016 Festival groups will travel from China, the Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Ghana, Japan, Peru, Poland, Romania and a special U.S-Mexico collaboration. The 2016 Festival will also include performances by the Eastern Band of Cherokee and other local Appalachian dance groups and bluegrass bands .

You can see them all, featured together and with videos, on our Folkmoot Performers of 2016 page.

Follow our social media posts for the latest updates on  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat (mobile only). Please, always use #Folkmoot2016, the festival’s official hashtag,when sharing Folkmoot information and events or to search for the latest news.

Folkmoot, literally a “meeting of the people,” provides programs based on cultural exchange, designed to build global relationships, foster cultural understanding and develop community prosperity. Folkmoot creates opportunities for individuals and communities across the globe to build a deeper sense of connection, mutual respect and shared purpose.


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A great festival despite losing two groups!