GREENSBORO Bringing people together from all walks of life in song and dance, making joyous harmonies, and celebrating both the culture and heritage of each American create the tapestry for a festival designed to inspire love.”Often people think of ‘folk’ as the music of Bob Dylan or Peter, Paul and Mary,” said Eleanor Schaffner-Mosh, deputy director of ArtsGreensboro.”Folk is music of the people. This is a tapestry of the music traditions that make up the fabric of America that have been passed down from our forbearers,” she added.The music of the people were brought together during the 76th Annual National Folk Festival held in Greensboro the weekend of Sept. 9-11. A celebration of the arts and culture from around the nation and world, the festival brought in more than 100,000 visitors to the city.”All colors, ages, religions and socio-economic statuses came together and danced together,” said Schaffner-Mosh. “It was a beautiful festival of love. The festival was about respect and bringing people together.”The National Folk Festival began in 1934 and this marks only the second time Greensboro has served as the host site. Cities compete through the National Council for the Traditional Arts to be selected, and Greensboro was chosen out of 33 cities to serve as host for a three-year stint.”The beauty of the National Festival being organized in such a way is the local community builds the infrastructure to enable their community to hold a statewide festival going forward after the three years as host,” said Schaffner-Mosh.The National Folk Festival remains a free event due to the generosity of sponsors and donors. More than $900,000 was raised to support the three days of events and 122 performances. The Festival brought together many of Greensboro’s art, cultural and civic organizations as well as the City of Greensboro, which provided bus rides free of charge during the weekend, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which provided discounted rates on train tickets leading to Greensboro for the festival.Audiences were treated to authentic blues, rockabilly, gospel, jazz, polka, tamburitza, cowboy, bluegrass, klezmer, old-time, Cajun, rhythm and blues, mariachi, western swing, honky-tonk and zydeco, as well as traditional music and dance from Native American, Celtic, Acadian, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, East Asian, Appalachian, Latin American, Eastern European, African and Pacific Island cultures, among others. The festival also featured workshops, demonstrations, children’s activities, ethnic cuisines, craft brews, storytelling and parades.”We have one state with many worlds living here,” said Schaffner-Mosh. “We have people from Rowan and the Sudan. The Folk Festival shines a very bright light on the traditions on these North Carolinians from their homeland.”Carolinians are encouraged to make plans for next year’s 77th Annual National Folk Festival, which is scheduled for Sept. 8-10, 2017, in Greensboro.
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