Folkmoot USA – Experience the World in Western North Carolina Through a Traveling Festival of Traditional World Dance & Music!
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.The first festival was held in 1984, a date coinciding with North Carolina’s 400th birthday celebration. The name Folkmoot, an Old English word meaning “meeting of the people,” was borrowed from a folk festival that was once held in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
The first Folkmoot USA festival featured folk groups representing nine countries, including England, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Turkey, Mexico, Puerto Rico and India. Festival performers from the United States included Arthell “Doc” Watson, now one of the country’s best-known bluegrass musicians, the Berea College Dancers and the Peter Gott Family from Marshall, N.C.
Now, 31 years later, more than 200 groups from 100 different countries have attended the festival. In keeping with festival policy, an entirely new program of performers is offered each year.