Economic impact study: Folkmoot Festival generates $9.2 million

Here’s the press release from Folkmoot USA:

Folkmoot Festival Generates $9.2 million—Organization Releases Results of 2013 Economic Impact Survey

The results of an economic impact study conducted by Tom Tveidt of SYNEVA Economics demonstrate that Folkmoot USA had a $9.2 million impact on Western North Carolina in 2013. The firm conducts economic impact assessments for clients throughout the United States, and has most recently completed studies for UNC Asheville, the Boy Scouts of America’s National Scouting Center, and the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. Only overnight and outside day-trip visitors were included in Folkmoot’s study. “By tracking Festival spending as it moves through the local economy, we were able to measure the important role it plays in supporting jobs, adding income and generating tax revenues,” noted Mr. Tveidt.

This news comes at a positive time in the organization’s history. Folkmoot Executive Director Karen Babcock sees a great future for Folkmoot’s cultural exchange activities, “We are thrilled that our efforts to bring the world’s cultures to Western North Carolina have a positive economic impact on communities. The $9.2 million impact has far exceeded all expectations.”

After 30 years of focusing on the annual summer festival, Folkmoot is becoming a more sustainable organization with plans to offer year-round programs. The expanded cultural programs will more closely reflect Folkmoot’s sister organizations throughout the world who are also members in CIOFF®, International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Art. CIOFF® promotes the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage through dance, music, games and other arts in partnership with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

Leading the Board of Directors through this year of transition is Folkmoot USA’s new President, Dr. Rose Johnson, former President of Haywood Community College and longtime Folkmoot board member. “Much of the board of directors’ work in the coming year will focus on implementing its strategic plan to strengthen Folkmoot USA’s position as a premier provider of international dance, music, and cultural experiences. It will do so in partnership with the community and international organizations and by launching a capital campaign, chaired by George Escaravage, to support its programs, facilities, and endowment.”

The economic study included the Western North Carolina region but focused on Haywood County, showing that Folkmoot’s overnight visitors spent $6.6 million during their visit. Outside day-trippers spent an additional $89,000 in Haywood County. The economic activity generated from Folkmoot USA supports 101 jobs in Haywood as well as $1 million in additional tax revenues.

Folkmoot USA is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that relies upon donations, sponsorships, Friends of Folkmoot members, ticket sales and grants to hold the Folkmoot Festival and other programs each year, and is based in Waynesville, NC. The Folkmoot Festival has held the title “Top Twenty Event” by the Southeast Tourism Society for 22 years and was named a “Top 100 Event” by the American Bus Association.

For more information, to make a donation or to purchase tickets to the 2014 Folkmoot Festival July 18 – 27, go to or call 877-FolkUSA (877-365-5872).

About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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