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.
When most people think about Folkmoot, they doubtlessly think about the huge 10-day international folk dance festival that has taken over Western North Carolina each July for more than three decades.
Over the course of the six Cultural Conversations sessions I participated in at Folkmoot, our diverse little group — sitting in one big circle — learned a lot about ourselves, and each other.
It’s as timeless as the soundtrack of our lives, regardless of age.
When you listen to big band music, you either remember where you were when these melodies first hit the airwaves or you remember hearing them as a kid at your grandparents’ house. The sounds of a full orchestra — led by the likes of Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey or Benny Goodman — conjure immediate memories. It’s well-earned emotions of love, heartbreak, happiness and sadness, all wrapped together in the musical notes and songbird vocals of the singular force that is big band.
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.
Just prior to the 2016 Folkmoot Wanderlust Gala, Folkmoot staff, sound technicians, photographers and performers scurried about behind the stage.