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The "Balkan Festival of folk songs and dances" is an international folklore event established in 1962. Its original title was "The Ohrid Festival of Amateur Folk Songs and Folk Bands". The ceremonial opening took place 20th July 1962 in the town's square. 

In 1967 the Festival was restructured and ever since it has been hosting vocal and instrumental bands and solo singers presenting their authentic folk creations and traditional culture through horas, songs, rites, traditional clothes, local costumes, traditional musical instruments, and handicrafts. 

For more than twenty years "The Balkan Festival of Folk Songs and Dances" has been a member of the UNESCO Associations of CIOFF (The International Council of the Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folklore Art), and IOFA (The International Organization for Folklore Art). 

Traditionally, the Festival takes place in the beginning of July. Countries from the Balkans and neighbouring countries take part in the Festival. In the 51 years of its existence, it has hosted about 50,000 folk singers, dancers and instrumentalists from Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, as well as from France, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Moldavia, Poland, Bohemia, Slovakia, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Australia, USA, Canada, Malesia, and others. Part of the Festival focuses on displaying exhibitions.