"It's great to be able to have that claim," said Jamye Cooper, Folkmoot's executive director.
"It gives us an awful lot of credibility."
It shows that state leaders believe in the festival as an arts organization with tourism and educational benefits, Cooper
said.The designation also sets the festival apart from others when it comes time to apply for local and state funding, Cooper
"We differ because our groups come from the countries they represent," Cooper
belongs to the Paris-based International Council of Folklore Festival Organizations
and Traditional Arts, or CIOFF
represents more than 90 countries and is in formal relations with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
known as UNESCO.Membership in CIOFF
not only helps to broaden the scope of Folkmoot's
vision by networking with other folk festivals around the world and helping to promote peace and the exchange of cultures, it also gives Folkmoot
organizers a huge support system for sharing ideas among counterparts and finding performance groups in other countries.CIOFF sets guidelines to maintain the quality and authenticity of international folk festivals and performing groups. Jamye Cooper serves as a co-chair of the U.S. membership committee for CIOFF, and long-time Folkmoot board member and volunteer Rolf Kaufman of Waynesville serves as the North American representative for CIOFF.
is helping officials in Oxford, Miss., start a CIOFF
festival called the Yocona International Folk Festival.
...During one CIOFF conference, Cooper had an informative conversation with a representative from England about setting up educational workshops, so Cooper brought the idea to Folkmoot, incorporating more public workshops during the festival.
In recent years, these workshops have included French lace making and a drumming workshop with a Togo drummer.This year's workshops will include dance workshops with the visiting groups from Peru, Hawaii, Mexico, Russia and Puerto Rico.In addition, participants will get a hands-on introduction to the musical instruments and native costumes of these performers.
"Not everybody wants to sit and watch," Cooper
said, acknowledging the need for more audience participation during Folkmoot