A partial lineup of participating countries in the 1988 World Folkfest includes representatives of the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, according to George M. Frandsen, general director.
Festival performances are scheduled for Aug. 12-13 in Salt Lake's Symphony Hall, with outdoor performances at Springville High School Aug. 15-20.Also planning to send performers for the first time are Hungary, Yugoslavia, Cyprus, France, Turkey, Argentina, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Spain, with repeat entries coming from Poland, Canada, Mexico, Italy, India, West Germany, the U.S. and possibly Finland. All the groups will be performing in Utah for the first time with the exception of the host organization, Salt Lake City's Rocky Mountain Dancers.
Even though Springville has withdrawn city funds from the World Folkfest, support is being solicited from other sources and the festival will go forward, said Frandsen, pointing to an opening contribution of $5,000 from Geneva Steel, which has also tentatively agreed to sponsor travel expenses for a group of folk singers and dancers from the Soviet Republic of Armenia.
"Though we do not have their block grant this year, the city of Springville has offered us a great deal in services," said Frandsen, "including continued use of facilities, fire and police protection, receptions and gifts. Councilman Wilford Clyde will serve on the festival board, directing the raising of funds to replace the money the city withdrew, and townspeople will again provide housing."
Among festival highlights will be a group of 30 children, ages 7-12, from Bangkok, Thailand, who have traveled extensively throughout China and Europe to demonstrate the lore of their country.
The Armenian group will be reciprocating an appearance by the Rocky Mountain Dancers last year at an international folk festival at Vilnius. This is the first time an amateur Soviet ensemble has been granted permission to attend an American folk festival, said Frandsen.
A 30-member performing troupe from Beijing, China, which has represented China at international events throughout the world, will make its U.S. debut with its Aug. 12 performance at Symphony Hall. In line with the festival's desire to promote world peace through cultural exchange, a special performance will feature performers from China, the Soviet Union and the United States.
The World Folkfest, now in its third year, has attracted attention and acclaim, including the endorsement of UNESCO, the International Organization of Folk Art and the National Folk Organization of the U.S. Selected performances from the 1987 festival have been heard on Voice of America broadcasts in eastern Europe, South and Central America and Asia, and audiences at Salt Lake City and Springville totalled 60,000.
Frandsen finds the World Folkfest too valuable to let it slip away for lack of funds. "It is the largest international festival in America," he said. "It gives people from the eastern bloc an invaluable chance to see what an American community, an American home is like, and we are becoming well known. For example, the first group from Poland went back home and talked about their trip, and this year we received requests from 10 Polish groups wanting to appear."
A recently elected board of trustees will supervise the Fest, with J. Brent Haymond as chairman and Delora Bertelsen as vice-chairman. Members besides Frandsen and Clyde are Colleen Drollinger, facilities; Bart Skinner, Salt Lake City operations; Jan Groneman, Springville housing; Teddy Anderson, Springville liaison; Vicki Beecher, Salt Lake City housing; Larry Kosmuch, finances; Martin Conover, public communications; and Karl Allred, festival office.