Folkmoot USA International Festival Waynesville NC

Folkmoot USA International Dance & Music Festival

July 21-31, 2016
Folkmoot USA, North Carolina's Official International Folklore Festival, is a two-week 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, Maggie Valley and Bryson City.

Folkmoot USA International Festival

For the 2016 Festival, talented groups will visit from China, the Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Ghana, Japan, Peru, Poland, Romania and a special U.S-Mexico collaboration. The 2016 Festival will also include performances by the Eastern Band of Cherokee and other local Appalachian groups. A new event for Folkmoot 2016, the Many Cultures Carnival will be held July 23 12 Noon until 4 PM in the field adjacent to the Folkmoot Friendship Center with regional organizations and clubs hosting booths with varying cultural themes, including games and crafts. The carnival is free! The afternoon will also feature three ticketed performances inside the Sam Love Queen Auditorium at the Folkmoot Center.

Other free appearances include:

  • July 23, 2016: Folkmoot USA Parade in downtown Waynesville on Main Street. Dancers and musicians from around the world parade up Main Street from the Haywood County Courthouse, Saturday at 10 AM.
  • July 29, 2016: Folkmoot USA Parade in downtown Asheville at Park Square, 4 PM
  • July 30, 2016: Folkmoot International Day, Where the World Meets Main Street, with performing groups and much more in downtown Waynesville! 10 AM-5 PM

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 USA International Festival

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.

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

2016 Performance Schedule

Thursday, July 21

  • 6 PM: Folkmoot Wanderlust, Friends of Folkmoot Gala Fundraiser, Eaglenest, Maggie Valley. (All Groups) $150/couple

Friday, July 22

  • 2 PM: Folkmoot Grand Opening, Eaglenest, Maggie Valley. (All groups) Adult Seating: $31-$21; Students & children are 50% off adult tickets.
  • 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; Students & children are 50% off adult tickets.

Saturday, July 23

  • 10 AM: Folkmoot Parade of Nations, Waynesville. Beginning on North Main St. and finishing at Historic Waynesville Court House. (All groups) Free Event.
  • 12-5 PM: Many Cultures Kids Carnival, Folkmoot Friendship Center, Waynesville.  (All groups) Free event with ticketed performances: $10 adults; $5 kids: $30 cap for families.
  • 7 PM: Haywood Community College, Clyde. (All Groups) Adult Seating: $31-$21; Students & Children $5.

Sunday, July 24

  • 12 PM: First United Methodist Church, Waynesville. (All groups) Come eat lunch with Folkmoot International groups. Adults:  $10; Children $5.
  • 1 PM: First United Methodist Church, Waynesville. (6 groups) Global Issues Forum. Free Event.
  • 2 PM: First United Methodist Church, Waynesville. (6 groups) General Admission: $15; Children $5.
  • 3 PM: SALT Block Auditorium, Hickory. (4 groups) Hickory International Council 828-234-6330. Adult Seating: $16; Children (12 & under): half price.
  • 6 PM: SALT Block Auditorium, Hickory. (4 groups) Hickory International Council 828-234-6330. Adult Seating: $16; Children (12 & under): half price.

Tuesday, July 26

  • 9 AM-4 PM: Ambassadors Day, Cherokee. (All groups).
  • 7 PM: Swain County Performing Arts Center, Bryson City. (5 groups) Adult Seating: $16; Children (12 & under): half price.
  • 7 PM: Colonial Theatre, Canton. (5 groups) Adult Seating: $16; Children $5.

Wednesday, July 27

  • 2 PM: Blue Ridge Community College, Flat Rock. (All groups) General Admission: $31; Children (12 & under): half price.
  • 7 PM: Hazel Robinson Amphitheater, Asheville. (5 groups) General Admission $16; Children $5.

Thursday, July 28

  • 5 PM: Parade, Franklin. Free Event.
  • 7 PM: Smoky Mtn Center, Franklin. (All groups) Adult Seating: $31-$21.

Friday, July 29

  • 4 PM: Parade, Downtown Asheville. (All groups) Free event.
  • 7 PM; Diana Wortham Theatre, Asheville, 828-257-4530. (All Groups) Adults Seating: $33-$21; Children: $16.

Saturday, July 30

  • 10 AM-5 PM: International Festival Day, A World-Class Arts Event, Main Street, Waynesville. (All groups) Free event.
  • 9 PM: Orange Peel Dance Party, Asheville. (All groups) General Admissions: $15.

Sunday, July 31

  • 7 PM: Candlelight Closing, Stuart Auditorium, Lake Junaluska. (All Groups) Adult Seating: $30-$20; Students & children are 50% off adult tickets.

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 24-August 7, 2016
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