Folkmoot USA International Festival Waynesville NC

Folkmoot USA International Dance & Music

July 20-30, 2017
Folkmoot USA, North Carolina's Official International Folklore Festival, is a 10-day celebration of the world's cultural heritage through folk music and dance. The festival is headquartered at the Folkmoot Friendship Center in Waynesville, about 25 miles west of Asheville, but performances can be seen in several cities, including Asheville, Cherokee, Franklin, Lake Junaluska, Maggie Valley and Hendersonville.

Folkmoot USA International Festival

Two free events to see all the groups in downtown Waynesville on Main Street are the Parade of Nations (July 22, 2017 at 10 AM) and International Day (July 29, 2017 from 10-5).

For the 2017 Festival, watch talented groups from India, Netherlands, Slovenia, Argentina, Russia, Israel, Taiwan and Wales. The Festival will also include performances by the Eastern Band of Cherokee and other local Appalachian groups. 

Folkmoot means “Meeting of the People” in old English and they certainly provide opportunities for cultural exchange. Audiences are invited to meet the performers before and after performances and during other Festival events. It is their intent to share cultural traditions with the broadest audiences, partly to ensure these traditions are not lost in our fast-paced modern world.

Folkmoot International Day

Our favorite Folkmoot event is International Day in downtown Waynesville, a street festival with performances, international crafts and much more. See our feature.

Performers demonstrate cultural heritage through colorful, authentic and original reproduction costumes, lively dance and beautiful music. During its 22-year history, over 200 folk groups from more than 100 countries have shared their heritage and culture at Folkmoot USA.

2017 Festival Event Schedule
This schedule is subject to change. Please visit for additions or cancellations or call the ticket office, 828-452-2997.

Thursday, July 20

  • 7 PM - Gala on the Green, Friends of Folkmoot Gala, (All Groups). Held on the grounds of the Folkmoot Friendship Center, this kickoff celebration includes multi-cultural cuisine prepared by local chefs to complement performances from ten performing groups. $150/couple

Friday, July 21

  • 9 AM-3 PM - Camp Folkmoot (3 - 4 groups). Dancers of all abilities who are inspired by folk dance and live music can learn international folk dance with ambassador performers from around the globe. Folkmoot Greenspace, $40.
  • 2 PM - Cultural Wear Exhibition and Performance Matinee, HART Theatre, Waynesville. (4 groups). Adult Seating: $21; Children $10.
  • 6:30 PM - Folkmoot Group Guest Appearance at Mountain Street Dance, Main Street, Waynesville. (1 group). Free event.
  • 7 PM - Folkmoot Grand Opening, Stuart Auditorium, Lake Junaluska. (All groups). Adult Seating: $31-$21.

Saturday, July 22

  • 10 AM - Folkmoot Parade of Nations, Waynesville. Beginning on North Main St. and finishing at Historic Waynesville Court House. (All groups). Free Event.
  • 11 AM-4 PM - Many Cultures Kids Day, Folkmoot Friendship Center, Waynesville. (All groups): $5, free for ages 5 and under.
  • 7 PM - Haywood Community College, Clyde. (All Groups). Adult Seating: $31-$21; Students & Children $5.

Sunday, July 23

  • 12 PM - First United Methodist Church, Waynesville. Cultural Conversations Forum Luncheon (6 panel participants, and performance by one group). Adults: $25; Children $5.
  • 2 PM - Drendel Auditorium, Hickory. (4 groups). Hickory International Council, 828-326-0256. Adult Seating: $16; Children (12 & under): half price.
  • 5 PM - Drendel Auditorium, Hickory. (4 groups). Hickory International Council, 828-326-0256. Adult Seating: $16; Children (12 & under): half price.
  • 7 PM - Sunday Soiree Concert Series, Folkmoot Greenspace, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and Empire Strikes Brass. Adult tickets: $10, ages 5 and under are free.

Tuesday, July 25

  • 10 AM-4 PM - Cherokee Ambassadors Day, Cherokee. (All groups). The day includes visiting the Oconaluftee Indian Village, Qualla Arts & Crafts and the Museum of the Cherokee Indians, catered lunch at the Fairgrounds and culminating in an all group performance and cultural exchange at Cherokee Central High School, the Chief Joyce Dugan Arts & Cultural Center. General Admission $65 - $35
  • 5 PM - Cherokee, Cherokee High School. (All groups). General Admission: $20 / $5 children.
  • 7 PM - Colonial Theatre, Canton. (5 groups). Adult Seating: $20; Children $5.
  • 8 PM - Bearwaters Brewing After Party, Canton (5 groups).

Wednesday, July 26

  • 2 PM - Blue Ridge Community College, Flat Rock - Hendersonville. (All groups). General Admission: $31; Children 12 & under: half price.
  • 7 PM - Civic Pavilion, Maggie Valley. (2 groups) General Admission: $15 adult; $5 children.
  • 7 PM - Center Stage, Greenville, SC. (5 groups) Adults Seating: $31; Children: $15.

Thursday, July 27

  • 4 PM - Parade, Franklin. Free
  • 7 PM - Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts, Franklin, 828-524-1597 (All groups) Adult Seating: $31-$21.

Friday, July 28

  • 2 PM - Cultural Wear Exhibition and Performance Matinee, HART Theatre, Waynesville. (5 groups). Adult Seating: $21-$10; Students & children are 50% off adult tickets.
  • 7 PM - Diana Wortham Theatre, Asheville, 828-257-4530. (All Groups). Adults Seating: $31; Children 50% off.

Saturday, July 29

  • 10 AM-5 PM - International Festival Day, Meet the World on Main Street, Waynesville. (All groups). Free event.
  • 1 & 3 PM - The Strand at 38 Main, Main Street, Waynesville. Storytellers, $10, ages 5 and under are free.
  • 7 PM - Haywood Community College, Clyde. (All Groups). Adult Seating: $31-$21; Students & Children $5.

Sunday, July 30

  • 7 PM - Candlelight Closing, Stuart Auditorium, Lake Junaluska. (All Groups). Adult Seating: $31-$21.

Tickets go on sale to general public in May. Tickets may be purchased online on the Folkmoot Web site, by calling the Folkmoot ticket office at 828.452.2997 or by contacting the specific venue.

See our Folkmoot Video

Folkmoot History
In 1973, Dr. Clinton Border, a Waynesville surgeon, accompanied a local square dance team to a folk festival in Sidmouth, England. There began the dream that would, 11 years later, become Folkmoot USA. Border was convinced that Western North Carolina, which was already steeped in tradition and dedicated to the preservation of its own heritage, was the perfect location for an international folk festival in the United States.

Despite language barriers and the inherent scheduling difficulties involved in getting foreign performers from their homes to Haywood County, Border believed something invaluable occurs when cultures so rich in tradition come together to share their lives. One month after Border's presentation to community leaders, a proposed board of directors met to launch Folkmoot USA, the North Carolina International Folk Festival. The first festival was held in 1984, a date coinciding with North Carolina's 400th birthday celebration.

Folkmoot does not provide payment to the groups for their performances. Instead, all expenses are covered by the Festival, from the group’s arrival at a nearby international airport to their departure from the same airport two weeks later. Folkmoot staff will prepare 20,000 meals for our guests and the familiar white “Activity Buses” will travel more than 10,000 miles transporting groups to performances.

While there are over 300 international festivals like Folkmoot USA across the globe, Folkmoot is one of only two similar international festivals in the United States. Folkmoot was designated North Carolina’s Official International Festival and has been “One of the Top Twenty Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society for 20+ years.

June 23-August 6, 2017
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