World Folkfest 2023 begins


The World Folkfest’s opening night in Springville brought half a dozen countries and eight dance teams to showcase music from their cultures.

Since its start at BYU in 1986, ambassadors from more than 40 countries across the world have gathered to attend the festival.

This year’s performers are visiting from Bolivia, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Mexico, Serbia and the U.S. for the four-day musical celebration.

Reinis Vimba, a violinist for the TĪRUMS Folklore Group, said the ambassadors are ready for Folkfest.

“Everyone here is so positively charged, everyone’s ready to perform and just give their best,” Vimba said. “Since today’s the first night, I think lots of things are still undiscovered and you should definitely come to the rest of the festival … so that you can enjoy many cultures and see many dances and performances.”

The World Folkfest in Springville, UT drew hundreds of spectators on their opening night. The event will continue until Saturday, Aug. 5. (Joe Wirthlin)

People from across Utah came to view the performances. BYU student Haleigh Smith came with her friends to view the performances opening night. She said she was “giddy” to watch the show.

“I think it’s so cool to get to experience dance in different cultures and it’s a way to learn about different cultures in a fun and exciting way,” Smith said.

Before opening night, the organizers were keeping an eye on the weather to ensure that audience and performers would stay safe and dry.

World Folkfest Marketing Director Julia Deleeuw said previous years have taught the workers to stay on their toes to address any challenges which might arise.

“We’ve learned to kind of just go with it because there’s going to be always crazy stuff every year,” Deleeuw said.

The festival’s preparations for the worst paid off during opening night.

Due to technical difficulties, the lights and microphones shut off in the middle of the final performance of the night. The live music and dancing still did not stop. The audience instead quickly pulled out their cellphone flashlights, lighting the stage so the dancers could continue uninterrupted.

Tickets are for sale online or at the gate for the next three days. World Folkfest is active on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

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