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World Folkfest bringing the world to Utah County

Jul 06, 2017 11:50AM
The World Folkfest in Springville invites the public to join its 31st celebration of world cultures, music and dance when visitors from around the globe present five evening performances and a free street dance during the week of July 31 to Aug. 5, 2017.

Folk dancers and musicians from Austria, Belarus, Chile, Ecuador, Indonesia and Romania are expected to participate in the 2017 World Folkfest. They will be joined by the Rocky Mountain Express clogging team and the Native American performing group Morning Star, who will both represent the United States, and Pacific Generation, who will represent the island cultures of the Pacific Ocean.

The Folkfest has grown to become one of the most prominent festivals of folk dance and music in the United States. In the tradition of popular European folk dance festivals, the World Folkfest annually attracts talented folk dance troupes from around the world to Springville where they showcase their cultures through the exciting and vibrant mediums of folk dance and music.

The groups perform their dances in beautifully crafted and authentic costumes of their homeland. Musicians travel with the dancers to Springville to accompany the dances on unique, traditional folk instruments. The performers pay their own expenses to travel to the Folkfest, emphasizing their eagerness to share their cultures with the people of Utah. While here, the performers stay with volunteer host families in the Utah County area.

“For more than 30 years now, Springville has played host to some of the finest international folk dance troupes. I am still impressed and surprised by the variety and excitement these groups bring to Utah,” said Lynn Elliott, chairman of the World Folkfest Board of Directors.

Folkfest performances will be presented beginning Tuesday, Aug. 1, and continuing each night through Saturday, Aug. 5. Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Spring Acres Arts Park outdoor amphitheater, 620 S. 1350 East, Springville (next to Springville High School). The Arts Park will open each night at 6 p.m. with a variety of food and craft booths available to audience members each night. Pre-show entertainment will begin at 6:45 p.m. Seating is general admission; some chair and bleacher seating is available at the Arts Park, but audience members can also bring their own lawn chairs or blankets to sit on.

All groups attending this year’s Folkfest will perform during each evening performance, giving audiences the opportunity to experience cultures from around the world in just one night.

Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for students, military members and senior citizens; $5 for children ages 3 to 12; and free for children under 3. Groups of 10 or more may purchase tickets for $6 each. A family pass (up to two adults and four children) is available for $30. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the gate with a credit card or cash on the night of the performance.

For those who don’t want to miss a minute of this year’s Folkfest, World Passport passes are available for $30 per person. This pass will allow the bearer to attend every performance during Folkfest week.

On Monday, July 31, the Folkfest will be kicked off with a free street dance beginning at 8 p.m. in the parking lot of the Springville Museum of Art, 126 E. 400 South, Springville. The public is invited to attend this event and enjoy learning simple folk dances from our international visitors with live accompaniment by their musicians.

Host families are currently being sought to house from two to four dancers during the week of the Folkfest. Host families are asked to provide room, board and transportation to Folkfest events for their international visitors. This is a wonderful opportunity for families to experience first-hand another culture and to share the culture of the USA with their guests. For information on becoming a host family, contact Folkfest Housing Coordinator Elissa Caron Johnson at 801-787-6530.