By Jerica Rossi • Folkmoot Guide
When asked which country I wanted to be a guide for during the 2017 Folkmoot Festival, it was a no brainer: India.
It was while I was studying and traveling through the states of Gujarat and Kerala that I fell in love with the vibrant colors and aromatic cuisine that India boasts of. It was then that I also had my first taste of being completely intoxicated by the up-tempo drum beat and the tenacity of the synchronized dancers — a kind of high that hits your stomach and demands you to be completely present and in tune with your senses.
Home to some of the most important and sacred Judeo-Christian sites in the world, what should be a place of peace has instead seen almost ceaseless conflict since its incorporation in 1948.
I kept glancing over at the signs.
Strolling the long and busy corridors of the Folkmoot Friendship Center (Waynesville) this past Sunday evening, I couldn’t help looking at the signs posted on the walls next to the doors. “Argentina.” “Israel.” “Russia.” “India.” “Taiwan.” All of these foreign countries, these ambassadors from every corner of the world, each with their own set of social and economic issues, many mirroring our own.
The Folkmoot Friendship Center on Virginia Avenue in Hazelwood is central to the festival’s operation.
The 34th annual Folkmoot International Festival will return to Waynesville this weekend for 10 days worth of folk dance performances across the region. This year’s lineup features 10 performance groups from around the world coming to Western North Carolina to share their culture through music and dance.
Amidst all of last year’s romping, stomping, clogging and dancing during Folkmoot USA, one event may have slipped off the radar of festival attendees.
The 34th annual Folkmoot Festival in Waynesville kicks off Thursday, July 20 and will again feature close to 300 performers from 10 countries eager to introduce Americans to their native clothing, culture, dance and music during almost 30 appearances across Haywood County and the surrounding region through July 30.
Peru: We travel to different countries. It’s our fifth festival this year, already two in France. We like a lot of the people, so friendly. The people is really friendly, the place is really beautiful. We think you have a different city not like other festivals and different in this part of the country, and we love it so much.
After talking with staff, volunteers and last year’s groups, Folkmoot Executive Director Angie Schwab decided that this year, she wanted to give performers more of a chance to experience contemporary American culture.
In May, the auditorium in the Folkmoot Friendship Center was dedicated to a man instrumental in establishing Waynesville and its environs as one of the most important centers of folk culture in the nation.