I do not think that the circle of fifths is the most important force behind music when so many folk and world music traditions ignore it.
Gamelan is fond of using a 5TET slendro scale, and since the circle of fifths has 12 spokes and 5TET has only 5 evenly spaced spokes in the octave, gamelan music that uses this slendro scale cannot be using the circle of fifths.
Indian music is fond of using ragas, which are apparently hybrids between modes and preferred melodic motives for them (according to the sources I've looked up). To my knowledge, if two or more ragas are used in a single song, they are not necessarily closely related in the circle of fifths. Complicating matters are the sheer number of notes found in ragas that are outside of our standard A440 12TET.
Even British Isles folk songs often ignore the circle of fifths. It's pretty easy to harmonize a D minor rendition of "What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor" using only D minor and C major chords, for example. Alternating between i and VII chords doesn't sound like using the circle of fifths to me.
I believe I'm only scratching the surface here. I haven't even detailed stuff like the Japanese hirajoshi scale, Arabic maqam, 20th-21st century quartal harmony, or completely melody-free drum cadences. If the circle of fifths is ignored so often, how can it be the most important symbol in music?