Meet ‘Mr. Folkmoot’: Rolf Kaufman has played a large part in festival’s success

Rolf Kaufman has been a fixture on the Folkmoot scene since before it even began, bringing people from foreign lands together and welcoming them to Western North Carolina much as he himself was welcomed here from a foreign land 70 years ago.

New music director takes over at Folkmoot

Dillon Ingle will only be the third music director in Folkmoot’s 33-year history.

Below the waterline: Folkmoot 2016 looks at more than just the tip of the iceberg

Everyone in Western North Carolina knows that once the Smokies shed their winterwear and the trees begin to bud, summer’s coming. They also know that when the dog days hit, the most refreshing thing going is Folkmoot USA’s International Folk Festival.

Folkmoot Center could be a longshot as stop-gap location for Shining Rock

fr shiningrockShining Rock Classical Academy’s continued hunt for somewhere to temporarily house the fledgling charter school come Jan. 1 has inevitably landed on the doorstep of the Folkmoot Friendship Center, a seemingly natural choice since the Folkmoot Center was originally an elementary school. 

Finding common ground

folkmoot languageStanding in the back of The Stompin’ Ground in Maggie Valley last week, several languages could be heard in every direction. To the right, Spanish and Estonian. To the left, French and Cherokee. All present for the “Opening Gala” of Folkmoot USA, all versed in the universal language of performance.

A spoonful of improv helps the glitches go down: Nimble feet are behind Folkmoot’s recipe for success

folkmoot improvThere’s a secret ingredient behind the bright lights, splashy costumes and glossy programs of Folkmoot: for every two parts planning, there’s one part improv.

Preserving to persevere: Relating to one another through music and dance

folkmoot preservingEach year international groups from all over the world travel abroad to share their traditional folk dances and songs with other cultures. 

They spend hundreds of hours researching, learning and rehearsing these songs and dances. They spend a lot of money on authentic costumes to accurately represent their heritage and they spend even more to go one tour and share their work with others.

Folkmoot is about more than dancing, watching

op frBy Hannah McLeod • Guest Columnist

We all have those memories that lurk in the back of our brain, the hazy, maybe-real-maybe-not memories from the time before we gained a sense of self. For me, those memories include being twirled around by, hugged and kissed by, or photographed with, people from all over the globe. While at two-and-a-half I had little idea of what was going on, the sights, smells, and energies of Folkmoot USA were enthralling. 

Before I was born — while she was still pregnant with me and then with my brother — my mother has been taking us to Folkmoot performances. An avid traveler herself, she understood that Folkmoot was the perfect way to journey around the world with three toddlers in tow. As I grew and became aware of what the festival was, who these people were that looked so ravishing in foreign garb, and what it meant to have them here, Folkmoot turned into a spectacle that I couldn’t wait to be a part of. It was incredible to sit in the audience and watch, but I thirsted for more.

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.