Hello readers! My name is Myah Baird.

Hello readers! My name is Myah Baird.

Hello readers!

My name is Myah Baird. I would like to formally introduce myself as the newest member of Folkmoot USA in Waynesville, North Carolina.

I am joining Folkmoot as an intern writer and blogger through Western Carolina University, where I attend school. 

I am nineteen years old and working on my major in political science with a minor in international studies and journalism. I am in my second semester of school and so excited to be learning in these beautiful mountains.

Hello readers! My name is Myah Baird.

My hobbies include writing, hiking, snowboarding, reading, singing, playing my guitar and ukulele, spending time with my friends, and traveling.

A quote I choose to live by comes from the great Albert Einstein: “The only source of knowledge is experience”.

This resonates with me as I think about my future with Folkmoot. If there’s anything I want from life, it is experience. My goal is to truly learn about our world and the way we all function in order to work together despite all of the barriers we face; cultural, linguistic, political, religious and others.

I began writing at an early age in my hometown Franklin, winning state awards as a young author. Of course I have always written in my journal; writing about people and how we think, what makes us different and the unique aspects of our lifestyles. These are all subjects about which I hope to write pieces for Folkmoot.

I will be conducting interviews with local people, spending time with this year’s Folkmoot Festival international visitors, as well as blogging online to keep everyone updated. Words cannot describe how thankful I am for this opportunity and I hope you all can enjoy this experience with me as I learn more about our world’s beautiful diversity.  

Folkmoot 2018 is set for July 19-29 at performance venues in Haywood County, North Carolina and across the Western Carolina region. Tickets for some performances are already available online. Others will be added soon.

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 is a Top 20 Event in 2016

Folkmoot is a Top 20 Event in 2016

Folkmoot is a Top 20 Event in 2016, according to the Southeast Tourism Society.

The Atlanta-based tourism promotion organization named our Folkmoot Festival 2016 – set for July 21-31 – as one of its Top 20 Events in a special announcement last week.  The STS Top 20 Festival and Event Awards have highlighted programs around the Southeast since 1985. The Folkmoot Festival 2016 will be the 33rd annual festival of folk dance and culture in our storied history.

Travel industry experts select 20 events per month, and STS publicizes them throughout the United States. The complete list is published on two websites: EscapeToTheSoutheast.com and Travel Media Press Room.

Folkmoot Festival 2016 PeruFor 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 groups.

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

Ticket packages and tickets for individual performance are available here as they are added. Keep checking back for updated individual performances.  In the meantime, please explore our year-round events. The Folkmoot Box Office can be reached by phone during business hours: 828-452-2997 , ext. 207.

“The Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Festival and Event list is an excellent guide for the Southeast’s visitors and residents.  Events selected represent the best, and often most unique, activities in our region,” said Bill Hardman, president and CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society.

Events considered for the STS Top 20 recognition must be at least three years old and have attendance of at least 1,000. Nomination forms and deadlines are available at SoutheastTourism.org or by calling 770-542-1523.

STS, founded in 1983, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting tourism to and within 12 states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Please always check our Calendar for upcoming Folkmoot events, showcases and classes.

If you really want to keep up with the latest Folkmoot news, visit our social media channels, connect and engage with us here: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat (mobile only).

The Sam Love Queen Auditorium at Folkmoot!

The Same Love Queen Auditorium at Folkmoot!

It was a stellar night of music March 19 as Folkmoot formally recognized its renovated performance venue in the historic Hazelwood School as The Sam Love Queen Auditorium at Folkmoot!

Sam Love Queen was among the most famous and most beloved figures in Haywood County history, known around the world as the premier mountain dance caller and ambassador of mountain culture and heritage. Known as, “Sam Love Queen, the square dance king – the dancin’-est man in the land,” Queen presided over the mainstay of Haywood County social events, the frequent dances at Moody Farm in Maggie Valley beginning in the 1930s.

“You danced in the front yard, in the barn or in the middle of the parlor floor,” said Joe Sam Queen, a grandson of Sam Love and current civic leader and Haywood representative to the North Carolina General Assembly. “It was the genuine folk dance. It was a social institution of the day. It’s where you courted, socialized with your neighbors. It was an art form.”

Sara Queen Brown
Sara Queen Brown

Sam Love was also among those early supporters and organizers of the Folkmoot Festival of traditional folk dance and was immortalized in song by Buddy Melton, Milan Miller and Mark W. Winchester.

At the request of President Franklin Roosevelt, Sam Love took his Soco Gap Dance Team to Washington in 1939 to display the unique Haywood County style of dance and perform before King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of England.

Sara Queen Brown, daughter of Sam Love and herself a revered and venerable Haywood County figure, was part of that 1939 Soco Gap Dance Team and together with her nephew, Joe Sam, made possible the endowment for the restoration of the old Hazelwood School auditorium and its transformation into the Folkmoot performance venue, the Sam Love Queen Auditorium.

“Tonight we take the opportunity to honor a woman and a family who has made a contribution that will have a meaningful, positive impact on Haywood County,” explained Folkmoot Executive Director Angie Schwab at the March 19th event. “Over 90 years of positive influence from this person, Sara Queen Brown, and now she has insured at least 90 more years because she has contributed the money to improve this space in which you are sitting right now.

“Sara Queen Brown has been a teacher in Clyde, has directed Mountain Projects, has been on the board of the Haywood Community College and is the only surviving member of the Soco Gap Dance Team. Clogging is important here. Sara’s father, Sam Love Queen was very passionate about folk dance. He believed, and surely passed on to his children and grandchildren that when you holding hands, in one big circle, there is no reason to fight. Dance contributes to peace and harmony in the world. Sara Queen Brown and the Queen family have helped to define Haywood County and Waynesville as a folk dance hot spot, the center of Appalachian dance in the US. What better way to recognize the Queen family than to dedicate this space as the Queen Auditorium in the name of her father, Sam Love Queen.

“The programs in the space, from here on out will be in his name.”

Folkmoot’s founding director, Jackie Bolden, introduced Sara and Joe Sam to the crowd and here is a video of her presentation and remarks from Joe Sam Queen and Sara Queen Brown:

And with the Queen Family gift the circle will remain unbroken: (video by Patrick Parton)

Other performances from March 19…

The Darren Nicholson Band:

Whitewater Bluegrass Company with special guest, Dr. Marc Pruett:

Come find us at WinterFest Smoky Style!

Come find us at WinterFest Smoky Style!

Oh yes, we’ll be there this weekend, Feb. 26-28 – along with nearly everyone else – so, please, come find us at WinterFest Smoky Style! We will have a special Folkmoot booth, will have Folkmoot Festival 2016 information and we’ll hold a raffle for two tickets ($150 value) for the 2016 Friends of Folkmoot Gala: … Read more

CPR classes are set for February

Folkmoot offers January CPR classes

CPR classes are set for February at Folkmoot.   The two-night course, now set for Tuesday, Feb. 2, and Wednesday, Feb. 3, will cost $40. Both sessions will be held at the Folkmoot Friendship Center, 112 Virginia Avenue in Waynesville. Kristen Curtis of the Haywood County Chapter of the American Red Cross will be teach … Read more

Calling writers to Folkmoot!

Calling writers to Folkmoot! Become part of our crew! Scribes, authors, correspondents, journalistas, stringers, ghostwriters, scripters and all you esteemed people of letters, we are looking for a few good wordsmiths (with imagination and literary punch) to help us publish timely and compelling pieces to our website publishing effort. Our online audience is local and global … Read more

A great 2016 for Folkmoot!

Folkmoot 2016 - Colonial Theater - Canton

We are looking forward to a great 2016 for Folkmoot! Dear Friends,  It’s a new year and I wanted to be sure to thank you for all that you contribute to Folkmoot’s mission of building cultural understanding. This note is to remind you of a few highlights of our year: We hosted a 10-day dance … Read more

The history of Christmas is special, too!

Sure it’s the favorite time of year for many – as it should be – and the history of Christmas is special, too! Every special event has a history, no matter how big or small.   (Editor’s Note: Folkmoot will be closed from December 23 to January 4. We wish you a safe, peaceful and … Read more

Give the gift of Folkmoot this year!

Give the gift of Folkmoot this year!

Give the gift of Folkmoot this year! Maybe give the gift of a new auditorium seat in our renovated concert hall. Maybe the gift of an international flag in your loved one’s honor. Maybe a brick emblazoned with your loved one’s name in our entrance or courtyard. Maybe think bigger and give a Friends of … Read more

Get your coconut cream pie tonight!

Coconut cream pie tonight at Folkmoot Family Fa-La-La!

Get your coconut cream pie tonight at Folkmoot Family Fa-La-La! I am lover of all things coconut. It instantly transports me to a lovely warm place.  I love the texture of the little shavings and that odd almost crunch sound they make as you bit them; not to mention the delicious cream that carries them … Read more

The holiday music of Folkmoot Family Fa-La-La!

The holiday music of Folkmoot Family Fa-La-La!

The holiday music of Folkmoot Family Fa-La-La – Friday, 7 p.m., Folkmoot Friendship Center – will include spirited children’s a capella choral singing, “wassail” saxophones, a lovely harpist and, of course, a little holiday bluegrass! The evening promises a beautiful holiday kick-off, the opening of our remodeled Friendship Center auditorium and, you bet, lots of … Read more

Good ol’ cherry pie! Folkmoot Fa-La-La!

Good ol’ cherry pie!  Yes, at Folkmoot Family Fa-La-La! The second most ‘American’ favorite out there.  Tart and sweet; that delicious sweet syrup; the burst of the zest when you bite into one of the cherries.  It just makes me think of summer. But you will find plenty of cherry pie – along with all … Read more