The 2011 Folkmoot Festival will take place July 21 – 31 throughout 12 counties in Western North Carolina with new performances in Hickory, and Jonesborough, Tenn. (Home of the National Storytelling Festival).
Festival director Karen Babcock explains, “It has long been a Folkmoot organization goal to expand performances into as many communities as possible, although most occur in Haywood County.” Folkmoot performances can be seen in 16 cities, including Asheville, Hendersonville, Franklin, Burnsville, Maggie Valley and Waynesville.
In this 28th year of Folkmoot Festivals, the diversity of invited countries is especially notable. Dancers and musicians in colorful traditional costumes from the 10 countries of Trinidad, Croatia, Finland, Burundi, Puerto Rico, China, Guadeloupe, Turkey, Italy and the USA are expected to appear in over 70 performances during the two-week event. Babcock explains, “It’s also important to share our unique American culture with the world. That is why we have included a group from the USA who will live and perform with the nine international groups for the entire Festival.”
These world ambassadors travel to North Carolina for two weeks of entertainment, cultural exchange and education--It is their intent to share cultural traditions with the broadest audiences, partly to ensure these traditions are not lost in our fast-paced modern world. Festivals like Folkmoot do not provide payment to the groups for their performances. Instead, all expenses are covered by the Festival, from the group’s arrival at a nearby international airport to their departure from the same airport two weeks later. Folkmoot staff will prepare 20,000 meals for guests and the familiar white “Activity Buses” will travel more than 10,000 miles transporting groups to performances.
While there are over 300 international festivals like Folkmoot USA across the globe, Folkmoot is one of only two similar international festivals in the United States. Folkmoot was designated North Carolina’s Official International Festival by Senate Bill #840 and has been “One of the Top Twenty Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society for 21 years. Folkmoot USA attracts 100,000 visitors to Western North Carolina, helping local communities receive more than four million tourism dollars each year.
Folkmoot in Franklin will be Thursday, July 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. For ticket information, visit greatmountainmusic.com or call (866)273-4615. In addition to 21 ticketed public performances, Folkmoot dancers and musicians are featured at many other private and charitable performances during the twoweek Folkmoot Festival.
For more information, to purchase tickets or to see a schedule of 2011 performances and sponsors, go to http://www.folkmootusa.org/ or call 877-FolkUSA (877-365-5872).
Folkmoot USA is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that relies upon donations, sponsorships, memberships, ticket sales and grants to hold the Folkmoot Festival each year and is based in Waynesville.