The Folkmoot staff is preparing for Thursday’s festival opening!
Oh, to be sure, the Folkmoot staff works hard all year long to produce North Carolina’s official international folk festival. But with the festival’s 2018 grand opening the staff often sees all 24 hours in each day – and will through the festivals 10 days.
Folkmoot 2018 opens – THURSDAY – July 19 and runs through July 29 and will feature performing dance troupes from Ghana, Italy, Czech Republic, Mexico, Thailland and Northern Cyprus and Venezuela as well as Anglo Appalachian and, as always, Cherokee dancers and musicians.
You will no doubt see the Folkmoot staff scurrying about during each event and performance, making sure the magic all comes off to perfection. If you get a chance, tell the, “thanks,” for all all the hard work they do and all the long hours they give:
Folkmoot’s director is Angeline Schwab. Angie has a background in arts, culture & community and economic development. Since 2015, Angie has grown Folkmoot to a year-round cultural organization and believes that diversifying the festival, maximizing the use of the building, building strong partnerships and new cultural programming are the way to the future. Angie grew up in Buncombe County and went to college at UNC-Wilmington. Since that time, Angie went to graduate school at the University of Oregon where she earned a Masters in Public Affairs and then moved to Humboldt County, California, one of the most beautiful places on the planet to start her career. Angie, her husband Brandon, their two sons, Avery & Harper and three dogs moved to Waynesville in 2014 to be closer to family. Angie says, “Never before Folkmoot did I understand that folkdance was an opportunity for experiencing diversity and cultural understanding. What a gift to experience the world right here at home and to make so many people happy with a community festival.”
This is Laura Shepherd’s fourth year planning for and executing Folkmoot’s special events. As Folkmoot’s Event and Ticket Coordinator, Laura’s favorite part of her job is the interaction with ticket buyers and eventually meeting them at performances. Laura’s background is in catering, hotel and attraction sales which prepared her for the ever-changing needs of working for a non-profit. Laura has traveled the world and lived all over the United States. She has been volunteering and working in Haywood County for over 18 years and lives in Waynesville with her husband, Scott. Being the mother of two, Tessa and Shaw, and stepmom to three daughters, Shantel, Tina, and Monique has been her greatest joy. Laura is enthusiastic about food, gardening, and organizing, all of which makes her perfect for Folkmoot.
Folkmoot’s Programming and Group Relations Coordinator Elizabeth Burson is a lifelong Folkmoot enthusiast. As a Waynesville native, Folkmoot has inspired Elizabeth to foster friendships from all over the world and to travel to global destinations in the name of cultural adventure. With six years experience as a Folkmoot guide and now three years as Folkmoot’s programs coordinator, Elizabeth’s primary responsibilities are her favorite, managing the details of group selection, assisting with marketing and working with guides during the festival. Elizabeth is a UNC Greensboro graduate with a bachelors in Communication Studies and is currently working on acquiring a Nonprofit Management Certificate from Duke University. Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her family and friends, watching movies and cooking new recipes.
Catherine McCallum has served as the Operations & Volunteer Coordinator for Folkmoot for the past year and a half. Residing in Sylva with her college sweetheart, Brandon, the couple will celebrate five years of marriage this fall. Catherine is a graduate of Western Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism and minor in Leadership. Catherine is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Project Management at WCU and will graduate this December. In her spare time, Catherine loves to kayak down the Tuckasegee River and travel with her husband. Folkmoot has played a big role in Catherine’s experience of diversity in our community which has, in turn, encouraged her to travel the world.
Lisa Wilnoty is the Cherokee Community Coordinator for Folkmoot, representing all cultural activities related to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Lisa is in her third year working with the Folkmoot organization, starting as a cultural performer in 2015. Lisa resides in the Wolfetown community with her husband Frederick Wilnoty II. After working with Cherokee cultural organizations for several years, Lisa is learning the Cherokee language and sharing Cherokee history and culture with the Folkmoot family. Lisa says, “We are working to build bridges between people of different cultures and it’s my honor to encourage understanding of Cherokee.” Lisa also serves as a board member of Maverick’s Tsalagi Sunshine.
Aaron Owenby has been working with Folkmoot since 2003 and continues to devote his time to us as he loves taking the opportunity to meet a wide range of different peoples from around the globe. Currently, he serves as the year-round maintenance guy and drives a bus for groups during the festival.