Digital Heritage Moment: Mountain Dance and Folk Festival

Digital heritage moment

Enka Square Dance Team during early years of the festival. Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

In 1928, Bascom Lamar Lunsford turned his vast knowledge of traditional music and his organizational skills to the creation of a local music festival. The Asheville Chamber of Commerce had long sponsored an annual Rhododendron Festival, highlighting mountain arts and crafts. Lunsford developed music and dance to accompany the celebration and thus gave birth to the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, now the nation’s oldest folk festival.

Held the first weekend in August, the festival has a long tradition of promoting local musicians and dancers. Many credit it with the creation of the popular clog dance teams. In the 1970s, the festival spawned Shindig on the Green, held on Saturday evenings during the summer at Pack Square in Asheville.

Digital Heritage Moments are produced at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. To learn more, visit DigitalHeritage.org. You may also hear Digital Heritage Moments each weekday on radio stations WKSF-FM, WWCU-FM, WMXF-AM, WPEK-AM and WWNC-AM.

Leave a Comment