The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival is America’s longest running folk festival, now in its 92nd year. The annual festival features three nights of folk entertainment from Thursday, August 1, through Saturday, August 3. Held at Lipinsky Hall on the UNC-Asheville campus, each night offers a different performance from 6:30–9:30 p.m. This year’s lineup includes four-time Grammy Award winner David Holt, Grammy nominee Josh Goforth, The Whitewater Bluegrass Company, Buncombe Turnpike, Laura Boosinger & The Midnight Plowboys, acclaimed dulcimer player Don Pedi and the NC State Fair champion square dance team Cole Mountain Cloggers. “Each group and individual is invited to perform based on their competence and professionalism in traditional mountain music and dance,” says Carol Peterson, vice chair of the Folk Heritage Committee and co-chair of the festival.
The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival was founded in 1928 by Bascom Lamar Lunsford as a way for community members to celebrate the beauty and dignity of Southern Appalachian music, dance and storytelling traditions. The festival is now organized and produced by the Folk Heritage Committee, a group of individuals dedicated to the preservation of Southern Appalachia’s musical heritage. “The Folk Heritage Committee sees this as an opportunity to showcase the outstanding musical and dance groups who are preserving our traditional mountain culture,” says Peterson. Net proceeds from the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival go to support the eight Shindig On The Green evenings held at Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville, which are also organized by the Folk Heritage Committee. The first Shindig on the Green will be held on Saturday, July 6.