Thank you for an Incredible 2017 Folklife Festival!

The 46th annual Northwest Folklife Festival came to a close on the evening of May 29th, wrapping up four days of music, dance, food, art, and celebration. The Festival brought together over 6,000 performers across 22 stages, with the aid of at least 800 volunteers. This year the Festival drew an estimated crowd of 250,000 people to Seattle Center over four days. The crowds enjoyed four full days of sunshine and smiles and spirits were high!

Whether you forgot to give or wish to give more in support of Folklife’s rich tradition of arts and culture programs accessible to all, please take a moment to give, renew, and even increase your support as a Friend of Folklife donor. Thank you to all for sharing our message of building support for this community-powered treasure, and for your many gifts.

Share your experience with us here.

 

 

 

Explore the 20 Years of Festál at the Northwest Folklife Festival

For 46 years, Northwest Folklife has brought diverse communities of the Pacific Northwest together on the grounds of Seattle Center, the city’s central gathering space. Northwest Folklife shares these same grounds year-round with Festál, the Center’s presenting organization that works with 23 community organizations to bring festivals like Diwali, Tet Festival, CroatiaFest, Spirit of Indigenous People, and more to Seattle Center. As Festál Turns 20 in 2017, Northwest Folklife celebrates the ground-breaking, community-organizing work for which Festál is known.

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in store!

Theatre Presentations:

Around the World through Cultural Attires

Travel around the world through cultural attires, jewelry and traditional accessories. The Cultural Attire showcase will showcase 14 Festál cultures including Hmong, Tibet, Poland, China, Africa, Japan and more. Saturday, May 27, 3:00-5:00PM in the Charlotte Martin Theatre 

Northwest Folklife, Seattle Center and Jack Straw Cultural Center presents Festál Turns 20 Music Collaboration Showcase

Celebrating the common threads of music from around the world, experience a one-of-a-kind showcase that highlights 9 distinguished musicians representing Festál Cultural Festivals in solo performances and a special live collaboration.

Saturday, May 27 from 7:00-10:00PM in the Cornish Playhouse

 Iranian Festival presents Baran Dance Ensemble, music with Ayla, poetry by Ali Ghambari and Gazalle Willecke

Sunday, May 28 from 7:00-9:00PM in the Cornish Playhouse

 

Northwest Folklife Festival - Festal Turns 20Panel Discussions:

The Birth of Festál

With John Merner, Dennis Caldirola and Andy Frankel

Saturday, May 27, 4:00-5:00PM on the Narrative Stage

Cultivating Cultures

With Steven Sneed, Latha Sambamurti, Kabao Xiong and Juliet Cheadle

Sunday, May 28, 4:00-5:00PM on the Narrative Stage

 

Festal launch, Seattle Center, 1997

Food Demonstrations:

Festival Sundiata presents Lillian Rambus from Simply Soulful

Cooking “Peach Cobbler”

Saturday, May 27, 12:00-12:45PM on the Cultural Cuisine Stage

 

Festa Italiana presents Brad Inserra from Red House Beer, Wine Shoppe & Tapas Bar

Cooking “Aglio e Olio”

Monday, May 29, 12:00-12:45PM on the Cultural Cuisine Stage

 

Music Performances:

BrasilFest presents VamoLÃ! Brazilian Drum & Dance Ensemble, Bloco Alegria Samba Band, Samba OlyWa, Brazilian Violin Trio, Show Brazil!

Sunday, May 28, 5:00-8:00PM on the Mural Amphitheatre

 

Hands-on Activities:

Diwali: Festival of Lights presents two very special cows who live at the Seattle Center. Learn about the importance and significance of these animals to the Vedic culture. Monday, May 29 from 11:00AM-6:00PM in the Discovery Zone

 

Spirit of Indigenous People presents Longhouse Media Films with Tracy Rector

Sunday, May 28, 5:00-7:00PM in the SIFF Film Center

 

Festival Sundiata presents We Shall Not Sleep -The Voices of Our Ancestors by Gary Giles

Monday, May 29, 1:45-2:45PM in the SIFF Film Center

Workshops:

Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival presents Philippine Rural Dance, Music and Attire

Join the Filipinas Performing Arts of Washington State (FPAWS) with dancer and choreographer Juliet Omli-Cawas Cheatle, to learn rural dances from the Philippines. Saturday, May 27, 5:15-6:00PM in the Armory Court Stage.

 

Visual Arts:

 

The Art of Festál

Explore a range of topics from historic artifacts to contemporary ideas of belonging, place, and beauty from Festál organizations including Arab Festival, Hmong New Year Celebration, Italian Festival, Live Aloha, Polish Festival Seattle, and TurkFest.

Friday, May 26 – Monday, May 29, 11:00AM – 7:00PM in the Art Not Terminal Gallery

 

The PNW Craft Beer Festival

Join us at the PNW CRAFT BEER FEST for a celebration of the best beer the Northwest has to offer, right in the heart of the Northwest Court in Seattle Center.

Located next to the Back Porch Stage and just outside of the KEXP Gathering Space, the PNW Craft Beer Fest will serve you your new favorite brew on Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28 from 11:00AM-8PM.

$25 get you a 5oz taste of 10 local breweries. 21+

Check out the list of brews here.

Sponsored by KEXP and The Stranger

 

Indigenous Voices at the 2017 Northwest Folklife Festival

For decades, the Northwest Folklife Festival has been a key event bringing together indigenous and Native voices in the Pacific Northwest. From the long standing participation of the Hawaiian community, to the 2008 Cultural Focus on Urban Indians (a program created by Native communities based in Seattle and the Northwest), and the recent Memorial Day pow-wow programming, the Festival has worked directly with Native communities to showcase the traditional arts and culture of the region. In 2017, the Northwest Folklife Festival will have unprecedented participation from Northwest Native communities, in part through Northwest Folklife’s continuing and expanded partnership with the Circle of Indigenous Peoples. The Circle of Indigenous Peoples is based in the rich collective of Native tribal members in Seattle and Washington State, with a goal to broaden the reach to other Native and First Nation communities in the Pacific Northwest. Tribes represented in the current organization include Coastal Nations: Haida, Tlingit, Muckleshoot, Port Gamble S’klallam, Chehalis Confederated, Chinook, Lummi, Makah, Nisqually, Suquammish, Puyallup, Snoqualmie, Tulalip, Grande Ronde, Cowlitz; and other nations such as Standing Rock Sioux, Eastern Shoshone, Nez Perce, Coeur D’Alene, Cherokee, Navajo, Chippewa, and many more. The organization was created to create further awareness of Native traditions and to increase attendance, build cross cultural awareness, healing, identity and respectful understanding.

At the 2017 Northwest Folklife Festival, the Circle of Indigenous Peoples Celebration will take place Sunday, May 28 and Monday, May 29, at the site of the John Williams Memorial Totem Pole, next to the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP). Both days, the site will play host to artists, performers, dancers, and culture bearers with the intention of directly involving non-Native audiences in cultural welcoming, education, and a celebration of Native cultures. Sunday at the Northwest Folklife Festival will begin with an opening prayer and blessings at 10:00am by the Native elders, and will run until 7:00pm, featuring individual performances and performances from community organizations, including Aztec dancers, Native youth theater group Red Eagle Soaring, the Métis Nation, Vasa Samoan Dancers, Muckleshoot Canoe Family, and additional performances from artists like Peter Ali, Matt Remle, Randall Kimball, Paul Cheokten Wagner, and more. On Monday at the Northwest Folklife Festival, after opening prayer at 9:00am and individual performances until noon, there will be a Grant Entry for the veterans, a celebration of Memorial Day, starting at 1:00pm. This will be followed by a Grand Entry, including a traditional pow-wow at 4:00pm on Monday.

“This is a great opportunity for indigenous people to share their culture and their celebrations with those who might not be familiar,” says organizer John Romero. “It’s just amazing how many people come to Folklife who have never seen a Native American celebration or powwow before in their life. These are people from overseas, from other areas of the US, from all over the Northwest, who don’t usually get an opportunity to involve themselves in Native culture. Our goal with the Circle of Indigenous Peoples is to provide a venue that can be shared with people outside of the Native American community in order to share our culture. The goal is also to bring us together! We need this unity as a nation.”

 

“It’s been an honor to work with the Circle of Indigenous Peoples,” says Kelli Faryar, Program Director for Northwest Folklife. “We’ve been building these connections over the past few years, and it’s been a powerful experience to see how this work brings together the many different Indigenous communities that live in the Pacific Northwest. Earlier this year, we hosted our Community Coordinators meeting at the Duwamish Longhouse, featuring a traditional Duwamish storyteller and culture-bearer, so many of our Community Coordinators got to meet and interact with the organizers of the Circle of Indigenous Peoples. These kind of cross-cultural connections strengthen our community and give us all new perspectives for our work.”

The organizing committee for the Circle of Indigenous Peoples Celebration consists of Jay Hollingsworth (Mohegan), Kyle Schierbeck (Standing Rock Sioux), George Farrell (Lakota Sioux), Ixtli Whitehawk (Aztec), Brad Mix (Métis), and John Romero (Eastern Shoshone).

“Working with the NW Folklife folks has been extremely rewarding,” says organizer Jay Hollingsworth. “Their openness and respect for culture has given us a great opportunity to share our culture with the entire community. I believe we have built a long lasting relationship well into the future.”

In addition to Northwest Folklife’s work with the Circle of Indigenous People, there will be a number of other key events at the 2017 Northwest Folklife Festival that will feature Native and Indigenous communities.
Circle of Indigenous Peoples Showcase – Saturday, May 27, from 7:00-10:00pm at the Exhibition Hall

This will be a showcase of Northwest Coast and Plains Native American dance traditions, featuring performers from throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Khu.éex’ – Friday, May 26 from 8:30pm-9:05pm on the Mural Amphitheatre

This visionary band is led by Seattle visual artist Preston Singletary (Tlingit). Singletary formed the band with another NW visionary, Bernie Worrell of Parliament Funkadelic, though Worrell sadly passed away in 2016. Khu.éex is a Native-led funk and spaced-out blues band with key members of the NW Native community.

4th World Lab Fellows Bracken Hanuse Corlett and Amanda Strong – Sunday, May 28 from 5:00pm – 7:00PM

Join filmmakers Bracken Hanuse Corlett and Amanda Strong, as they discuss and screen a retrospective of their animation work. These filmmakers hail from the 4th World Lab Fellowship program organized by SIFF and Longhouse media.

A Co-Curated Festival

If you’ve wondered how the annual Northwest Folklife Festival presents such a wide breadth of diversity and cultural inclusion each year, the answer lies in the innovative Community Coordinator Program, which brings cultural leaders into the festival’s planning process. Each coordinator is drawn from a specific community in the Pacific Northwest and is an integral partner in the fulfillment of Northwest Folklife’s mission to celebrate, share, and participate in the evolving traditions of this region. The goal of the program is to give space at the festival for these communities to present their arts and traditions on their own terms. An additional goal is also for the coordinators to invite their communities to attend the festival and to encourage all festivalgoers to participate and learn from each other’s traditions. The communities covered by this program range widely across Northwest demographics, including South Asian, Native American, Filipino, Arab, Irish, Latino, Hispanic, Scandinavian, African, African-American, Latin American, Canadian, and Eastern European communities. Northwest Folklife’s festival programming reflects the diversity of our region, much of it centered on immigrant communities.

Hawaiian showcase, photo by Ben Shaevitz

“The Community Coordinator program at Northwest Folklife creates a co-curated, shared ownership of the Festival that defines Northwest Folklife’s commitment to cultural inclusion”, says Kelli Faryar, Programs Director. “Our collaboration with Coordinators is necessary to an authentic celebration of the multicultural arts, cultures and traditions of the region. They represent the lifeblood of our communities and these relationships lie at the heart and soul of this commitment.” 

 

The Community Coordinator Program is an ongoing partnership that results in over 65% of the programming at both the Northwest Folklife Festival and the Seattle Children’s Festival (which Northwest Folklife also produces). With Coordinator guidance and co-curation, each showcase is put together with careful consideration of the unique needs of the community, artists, and audience, and with the goal of growing and embracing the ever-changing cultural traditions and landscapes of the region.

“The Northwest Folklife Festival has such a prominent energy in the arts and music in the city,” says Ali Ghambari, the Community Coordinator for the Northwest Folklife Festival’s Iranian Showcase. “For us, working with Northwest Folklife compliments what we’re doing, and Folklife gives us resources and the energy to build on. It’s a pleasure to work with Northwest Folklife, and at the same time it elevates what we do.” 

Perform at the 46th annual Northwest Folklife Festival!

Grace Love and the True Loves. Photo by Piper Hanson.

Grace Love and the True Loves. Photo by Piper Hanson.

Thank you for your interest in performing at the 2017 Northwest Folklife Festival. Applications closed on December 15th. There are many ways to participate in the festival – please visit our Get Involved page to be a part of the one of the largest community arts festivals in the nation.

Bringing your instrument to the festival? Great! There’s plenty of jamming around Seattle Center grounds and areas available for street performing. For more information about Street Performing, click here.

 

For Applicants – Additional Application Documents if needed: Please click on the following to download. Questions? Email programming@nwfolklife.org or call 206.684.4189

Stage Diagram – word document

Stage Diagram – pdf

Input List – word document

Input List – pdf

The annual Northwest Folklife Festival is Northwest Folklife’s signature event, gathering up to 250,000 people from across the region to participate in the four days of artistic and cultural illumination. The Festival is presented each year by Northwest Folklife, an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for all people to appreciate, share, and participate in the evolving traditions of the Pacific Northwest.

Last year Northwest Folklife programmed over 5,000 performers in 65 different genres of music and dance, from Hawaiian hula to hip-hop and Ireland to India. Northwest Folklife believes everyone is a bearer of folk arts, and we encourage communities to share their cultural traditions, in the hope that interaction with new audiences will enrich the community as much as the audience.

Welcome, Shaun Mejia, Folklife’s Communications Coordinator

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We’re thrilled to welcome Shaun Mejia as the new Communications Coordinator at Northwest Folklife! Sean will bring his extensive experience working with the local arts community to the team, as he’ll be helping to tell stories of the arts and traditions that make up the cultural fabric of the Pacific Northwest.

A longtime Seattleite, Shaun graduated from Seattle Pacific University and has worked with a myriad of local nonprofit arts organizations such as the Vera Project, Seattle International Film Festival, Seattle Asian American Film Festival, and most recently the Wing Luke Museum. A lover of museums, live music, and film, Shaun is eager to help spread the unique stories of Northwest Folklife!

Community Coordinator Spotlight: Wes Weddell

Community Coordinators are an integral part of the Northwest Folklife’s mission and vision to celebrate, share, and participate in the evolving traditions of the Pacific Northwest. Their talent, time and expertise as a Community Coordinator create opportunities for folks of the Pacific Northwest to participate in arts experiences and learn about the living traditions that occur daily in our big neighborhood.

Today, we introduce you to performer, writer and teacher Wes Weddell. Whether it’s supporting folk duo Reilly & Maloney, collaborating with The Bushwick Book Club – Seattle, or gathering together the vast community of Singer Songwriters of the Northwest – you can find Wes leading the Emerald City Songwriters Circles at the Northwest Folklife Festival since 2009.

What cultural traditions do you or your group share with the greater community?

 The craft (and performance) of songwriting and original music

What does it mean to you and to your community to be connected to Northwest Folklife and how long have you been involved? What impact has the organization made on your community?

Singer/Songwriters have been part of Northwest Folklife from the very beginning, and we’re glad to remain a part of festival programming.  I have been Community Coordinator since the 2009 festival.  As we’ve developed the Emerald City Songwriter Circles at the festival, unamplified gatherings where anyone can come share an original song, it’s been fun to watch the culture of listening grow alongside the well-established Folklife culture of jamming.

How do you interact with Northwest Folklife outside of the Northwest Folklife Festival?

A lot of year-round preparation goes into planning the circles, recruiting new hosts, and growing/fostering appreciation for original music.

Please share a performance memory connected to Northwest Folklife that had an impact on you?

We’ve had many lovely moments in the Emerald City Songwriter Circles over the years.  From young children sharing their own original songs to off-the-wall, laugh-out-loud masterpieces from newcomers and established pros alike.  This past festival one songwriter shared how much the circles had meant to him during his recovery from serious health challenges – hard to find a more touching endorsement than that.

How can Northwest Folklife and its fans connect with you through social media?

Google your favorite local singer/songwriter and follow him/her!

What specific community in the Northwest do you hail from, how about your group? (If you are from Seattle, please give us the specific neighborhood – ex. Queen Anne or Ballard or West Seattle, etc.)

 I live in NE Seattle.  Our revolving-door cast of hosts hail from all over town and the region.

 Please share the Northwest Folklife events you have contributed programming for?

 I was part of programming-proper back in 2004…but wearing the Community Coordinator hat: Emerald City Songwriter Circles, 2009-present.

Connect with Wes here.

A Letter from Rob Townsend

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 6.04.13 PMDear Friends,

 

I write this as I am about to step away from the leadership position here at Northwest Folklife. I’m passing the torch to Mark Crawford, a talented, seasoned nonprofit leader who will serve as the Interim Executive Director and will ably shepherd the organization into its next chapter. The coming 2016-17 year is truly Folklife’s bridge to the future!

 

It has been my privilege to be at the helm since 2008. We’ve all enjoyed nine Folklife Festivals in that time, but we’ve also seen the birth of our Seattle Children’s Festival, soon to enjoy its third edition. We’ve seen the resilience and strength of the organization through our country’s trying financial period, and now look forward to a brilliant future together.

 

I have seen the strength of Northwest Folklife from my privileged position: that strength is you! Our organization is a prime example of community power in action. It will continue to flourish and grow only with your continuing help in all ways – through programming, community awareness, volunteerism and with your financial support. I hope as we all look forward to Folklife’s 50th year in the not-so-distant future, we will see Folklife maintain its position as a cultural beacon for all in our region.
Thank you all, so very much, for your wisdom, your support, and your participation in all that makes Northwest Folklife so unique and special.

 

Warm regards,

 
Rob Townsend

 

Tips for Exploring the Seattle Children’s Festival

CC0A7188Northwest Folklife’s Seattle Children’s Festival is just around the corner. This one-day, multi-cultural, inter-generational festival that “Celebrates Our Big Neighborhood” takes place on October 9th. Fun for all ages, bring your family and friends down to the Seattle Center for a day of singing, dancing creating, learning, and more!

Here’s how to be a smart traveler through the Festival while exploring a world of cultures:

  1. When you arrive at Seattle Center, stop by a Donation & Information Booth and pick up an Event Passport. Use this as a guide as you choose your adventure throughout the Festival.
  2. Browse through your Passport and find out what workshops, performances and crafts await you in the schedules listed! There is a plethora of cultural performances to see — if your group is feeling energized, find the next Movement Series workshop or Dance Workshop to get movin’.
  3. Ready to get your hands dirty? Stop by on of the TWO Discovery Zones at the Festival, both featuring a variety of hands-on workshops and activities. Looking to learn how to eat healthy? Stop by the Armory balcony and see Chef T teach about using the fruits and vegetables from y our neighborhood.
  4. Before you leave, don’t forget to turn in your Passport About Me page at the Donation & Information Booth for the chance to win a prize!
  5. Your donation makes the Folklife magic happen. Please give today and add your color to the Giving Gateway! Suggested donation is $10 per person, $20 per family. Or visit give.nwfolklife.org

Folklife is the everyday and intimate creativity that all of us share and pass on to the next generation.  Inspire a Child’s Cultural IQ: Give Kids the Gift of Community.  Thank you!  It’s because of you and our sponsors that we can keep this festival FREE!  Even more importantly, that we nurture the artists, doers, and organizers of our community so we can come together and celebrate each other.  So, thank you!  You are very much a part of this!

 

Welcome to Our Native Land Powwow and Coastal Day Celebrations

MetisNorthwest Folklife will host the 3rd Annual Coastal Jam and Traditional Powwow on Sunday and Monday of the upcoming Northwest Folklife Festival. This exciting two-day programming will include participatory Native American Powwow and Coast Salish dances, drumming, singing and storytelling, along with traditional crafts and Totem Pole teachings. Featured participants will include Coastal canoe families, powwow participants, elders, veterans, artists, singers, performers, youth, families, and tribal leaders.

A highlight of this year’s programming will be the Honoring of Metis Nation Chief and President Bruce Dumont from British Columbia. President Dumont is President of over 70,000 Metis Nation members in Canada and the Pacific Northwest and his visit to Folklife is sure to be a momentous occasion.

The Native-led Welcome to Our Native Land Group collaboratively partners with Northwest Folklife to offer ways for communities to join in cultural celebration, and to program, produce, promote, and facilitate these celebrations. Both days create a supportively respectful place for local Native community and Northwest Folklife Festival attendees alike, thus strengthening a Native presence while offering cultural traditions, practices, protocols, and teachings that will benefit all who participate and observe. Working together, leaders from both organizations strive to deepen collaborations, develop partnerships, break down stereotypes and foster understanding.

 

 

 

 

Join Us for a Song and a Beer

2015 Festival Crowd. Photo by Piper Hanson.

2015 Festival Crowd. Photo by Piper Hanson.

This year at Folklife, join us for a pub sing along in the Fisher Green Beer Garden all four days of the Festival! Special guests will lead a themed sing-a-long as part of our Cultural Focus “The Power of the Human Voice through Song.”

On Friday catch “Fields Under Clover” from 4:00pm – 5:00pm singing Irish Pub Songs, tunes, and more. Saturday John Bartlett and Rika Rubesaat will be leading “Salty Songs and Shanties” from 4:15pm – 5:15pm. Don’t miss Bruce Baker, David Perasso, and Wendy Joseph singing at the beer garden on Sunday from 4:15pm – 5:15. And finally David Perasso and David Kessler will be closing out with “The Last Pub Sing” on Monday from 4:30 pm – 5:30pm.

Each beer garden will be serving Bonterra Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. As well as a wide selection of beer including: Trumer Pilsner, Bridgeport Brewing IPA, Blue Moon Belgian White, Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Fremont Summer Ale, and Crispin Cider.

Click here to RSVP for these events by creating your own personal schedule online!

 

We hope to see you there!

 

Submitted by Lauren DiRe