The 36th annual Folkmoot International Festival will take place from Thursday, July 18, through Sunday, July 28. There will be 24 separate events held across the WNC region during the eleven-day festival, including international folk dance performances, live music, parades, and events celebrating food trucks, craft beer and artisans. “Folkmoot is about bridging cultures, fostering understanding and discovering that we are all different, while we are actually all the same,” says Angeline Schwab, executive director of Folkmoot.
Folkmoot is part of an international organization called CIOFF, an affiliate of UNESCO that aligns cultural organizations around the globe. “Over the last several years, Folkmoot has moved from a singular international folk festival to a year-round cultural organization,” says Schwab. Folkmoot goes through a year-long vetting process to choose the international groups that will be featured in the annual festival. “Folkmoot sends a representative to a CIOFF World Congress each year and we become familiar with about 150 cultures that have traveling folklore groups,” says Schwab. This year’s festival will feature folk dance troupes and live music from the Bahamas, China, Colombia, Egypt, Hungary, Nepal and Romania, as well as local Appalachian and Cherokee dancers and musicians.
New to the festival this year are an Appalachian folkways gathering and community picnic, an international beer and food truck fair, a cultural sports event, a lantern parade and a late-night variety show. “Our new programming takes a broader approach to cultural arts than it has in the past by exploring food, societal norms, history, art, clothing, accents and leisure activities,” says Schwab. “Many of us define ourselves by our cultures or niche interests and it’s fascinating to take that in and understand how we became who we are.”