A Letter from the Board of Northwest Folklife

FRIENDS – WE NEED TO TALK… WE NEED TO DECIDE…
WILL FOLKLIFE AND THE FESTIVAL CONTINUE?

You are the people who keep our varied and unique cultures and traditions flourishing through your continued love and practice of the folk arts. You belong to organizations and groups who have gathered together in community to celebrate a particular artistic and/or cultural heritage or tradition. You are an essential part of the vibrant, lively scene that makes our Pacific Northwest such a special place. You are Folklife!

This Memorial Day, just as we have for 45 years before, we will be sharing these artistic and cultural traditions through our performances with our neighbors who will enjoy your music, cultural showcases, crafts, and foods representing communities from all over our region.

The question is “Will the Folklife Festival be back next year?”

Not long ago, the national landscape was filled with large scale regional arts and culture festivals. These festivals were NOT national commercial, “headliner” music festivals, but celebrations of local arts and artists. That landscape has changed and the Northwest Folklife Festival is now one of the last remaining major community owned festivals in the nation.

Our own Northwest Folklife Festival is one of even fewer that remains committed to the idea that this experience belongs to everyone – not just to those who can afford the price of a ticket. This can only remain possible in the future if our community renews its support. The Festival will not continue without your support.

This is not a “one year crisis”. Over the past 11 years, revenue has remained stagnant but costs have risen. During this time, Northwest Folklife has prioritized the resources for programming and drastically cut all else. To the best of our abilities, programs have been protected over the past eleven years. There are no more cuts and indeed, too much has been cut already.

What is the value of preserving, expressing and sharing our traditions and heritage? Do we value opportunities for all of our communities to have a place to express their voices and to be heard by others? Do we value the importance of guaranteeing access to all without economic barriers? Northwest Folklife is at a crossroads and it is time for the community to make a decision about how it values artistic and cultural inclusion, access and the future of the festival.

While no one must buy a ticket to attend, the Festival is not free. This year, we must secure $1,300,000 in revenue to offset expenses. There is no other arts and/or culture organization that has found a way to bring over 5,000 artists on 25 stages representing over 100 communities to about 250,000 people for such a small investment. We are efficient, effective stewards of every dollar we receive.

We are an independent not-for-profit. We are not a City program with all expenses already paid for. We will earn about $600,000 in booth fees, vendor commissions and sponsorships to help pay for these expenses. We must raise $700,000 more to offset remaining expenses.

We raise funds from individuals in two major ways – through specific funding appeals during the year to those with whom we have an ongoing relationship and annually at the festival by appealing to those who love the festival and attend.

At this year’s festival, we have set a goal to raise at least $350,000 to pay for the costs. We ask for a modest minimum daily donation of $10 per person per day or $20 per family at the entrances. Last year, we estimate that less than 17% of the people attending the festival made a voluntary donation. We received $205,120 in donations at the festival. That is less than $1 for each person who attended over the four day period.

We celebrate that there is no economic barrier and we know that making a donation can be very tough for some. We are grateful for whatever you are able to “chip in”. But 17% is not enough to sustain this event. If more people do not support the festival, the festival will not continue.

For those who have the means and the passion for what this festival is all about, we, the Board, ask you to consider what the VALUE of this festival is to you, BOTH as individuals attending and as members of this community who believe in this awesome event and believe it must be open to all.

In addition to the festival goal, we have set a goal of $100,000 by May 26th for our Spring Count Me In Campaign. Please, answer the call and make your donation now and be counted in.

Please – give online at nwfolklife.kindbase.com where you can choose to make a one-time gift or recurring donation. Or send your check to Northwest Folklife at 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109. Consider making a gift of stock. Northwest Folklife is a registered not-for-profit so your gifts are tax deductible. Remember to request your employer’s matching gift!

Ultimately we must decide if Northwest Folklife will continue. Only YOU can make that happen. What you do today, when you decide to give or not give, will determine the future of this amazing festival. This is a choice about our future – does this wonderful event which distinguishes our region from everywhere else in the nation continue? Or will it become a memory of yesteryear?

Together, we celebrate this joyous festival, the opportunities provided, the experiences shared. We believe Northwest Folklife needs to continue. Do you?

The Board of Northwest Folklife– Rafael Maslan, President; Evan Woods, Vice President; Ryan Davis, Treasurer; Michael Richardson, Secretary; Luther F. Black, Immediate Past President; Kim Camara; David Greenspan; Don Morgan; Harvey Niebulski, M.D.; Brian Robertson; Michelle Demers Shaevitz; Karen Shaw; Jabi Shriki; Selena Whitaker-Paquiet; Karen White

Mythbusters #5

Northwest Folklife Mythbusters #5

 

Since its inception over 45 years ago, Northwest Folklife has been and remains dedicated to the creation of a public forum where the traditional and ethnic communities and the artists of the Pacific Northwest can present their music, dance, performances and crafts.

Folklife works with more than 100 communities and Community Coordinators to bring over 5,000 artists to 25 stages representing the full range of artistic and cultural expression found in this region. Yes, there are hippies and yes there is fiddling and we love them all! And there are hula dancers, spirituals, gospel and sacred music, Indie music and yodeling, Hip Hop, drum circles, powwows, contra dancing and Coastal Salish dancing. And so much more – there is not space here to describe the half of it! The variety and the opportunities for new experiences are so varied and plentiful, you simply cannot see it all.

Folklife is NOT just one style of art or culture. Folklife is ALL folk living – each in their own unique way and yet, each in a way that connects us all together. The steps of our dances may vary – but we ALL dance. The tempo, arrangement, and notes of our songs sound different but we ALL know that deep inner response to the sounds of our own cultures being played on instrument and in voice. Our foods, the spices and ingredients we use, the style in which we cook them, all have unique characteristics that speaks deeply to us of our heritages but we ALL know the joy and deep contentment of gathering as family, neighbors and friends to break bread and be in community.

Northwest Folklife’s roots are deeply embedded in cultural inclusion. Recently, Phil Williams, one of our founders passed on. His widow Vivian shared with us that “Phil figured everybody should have a chance to get to know people from other communities, whether it was quilting or playing bluegrass or Japanese koto. His resistance to fences included a sensitivity to refugees in Seattle who’d had their fill of barbed-wire fences and being closed in. He thought some people wouldn’t be comfortable with that. He was very, very inclusive.” Folklife’s original vision remains as relevant today as it was in 1972.

Folklife is really a way to describe how people are living. The Festival is how we offer and share ourselves with others. It is a time and place where we can learn from one another. It is your Festival – it belongs to everyone. It is as diverse as the Northwest itself. It is the one time that all of us, from our own unique communities come together and create a new community together – a community of music, dance, storytelling, craft and food. It is a brilliant, diverse, welcoming community.

Join us.

Friend of Folklife HQ

CAN WE COUNT YOU IN?

Friend of Folklife HQ

Pictured: Friend of Folklife Headquarters, 45th Northwest Folklife Festival

For 45 years, Northwest Folklife has brought the Northwest Folklife Festival to Seattle Center and celebrated the incredible and diverse arts and cultures of the Pacific Northwest.

About 250,000 people each year come to the Northwest Folklife Festival. Over 5,000 artists perform on 25 stages during the four day Festival. Over 100 communities, representing the rich diversity of our community – artistically, ethnically, and culturally – work all year round to bring these performances to you at this Festival.

You are the Folklife family. You are friends, volunteers, donors, performers, community coordinators, leaders and vendors – the core group that makes Northwest Folklife possible. What is the value to you of a day (or two or three or four) of music, dance, storytelling, crafts and food? What does this experience mean to you and to your family? Your children?

Together, we believe in the two critically important fundamentals, the CAUSE,  that drives Northwest Folklife – that we celebrate, share and participate in ALL of the traditional and evolving arts and cultures of the Pacific Northwest AND that there shall be NO ECONOMIC BARRIER to participation.

While there is no ticket price to get in, Northwest Folklife is not free. It takes a full year and a a cash budget to produce the Festival and other programming. This is NOT a city program – all paid for in advance. It has only been made possible and can only continue with the support of those who come each year to experience it.

For the past ten years, revenue has NOT grown but expenses have. Each year, the organization committed itself to doing whatever it took to make sure that maintaining the programs were the first priority. Increased programming costs have been offset by cuts everywhere else. And those cuts added up as the costs mounted. Over the ten years, Northwest Folklife has cut non-programming costs by over 60% and never had the revenue to restore them. Frankly, there are no more cuts to be made. Indeed, too many cuts have already occurred to support the future operations. We need to change that pattern.

Your financial support is necessary or we won’t be able to continue. This year, to offset expenses, we must generate $1,300,000 in revenue. We will earn about $600,000 and we need to raise $700,000 to pay these expenses.

To do that, we have secured $45,000 from city and county sources. We have set a $350,000 goal to be raised at the Festival from the people who attend.

And, over the year, we need to raise another $300,000 from all of you – our Folklife family – our key supporters. Between now and May 26th – we need to raise $100,000 of that core supporter goal through our spring funding campaign underway right now.

What is at stake?

This Festival is one of the few remaining all access, all community folk celebrations left in America. We cannot take it for granted.

Folklife’s future is up to us. This is a community owned, community co-created event. If we value Folklife and want it to continue, we need to support it.

You understand and value what Northwest Folklife means to you personally, for your families and for our community. You want Folklife to continue.

Last year, less than 17% of the people who attended Folklife programs contributed in support. That is not enough. This lack of support has put Folklife at risk.

We need to expand our committed donor base and we need to increase our donation levels. Every arts and culture organization needs a core group of committed supporters to sustain the programs they create.

We need to do two things between now and May 26th, 2017. We need to meet our spring campaign goal of $100,000 so please, give in accordance to the value that Folklife has for us AND we need to share this message with our networks and build a more robust, expanded support community.

It’s up to us, we are the solution – can we COUNT YOU IN?

If so, please

  • Give online at nwfolklife.kindbase.com. Choose to make a one-time gift or recurring donation.
  • Send your check to Northwest Folklife at 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109.
  • Make a gift of stock.
  • Remember to request your employer’s matching gift.
  • And ask others for their support as well!

Allspice Band

A Night of Dancing for Folklife

We are thrilled to thank Northwest Folkdancers (NFDI) for their Night for Folklife this past Saturday. $2,607 was raised! Many thanks to all supporters and donors, and special thanks to Kathy Bruni for her organizing, Allspice Band who spiced things up with international dance favorites. Orkestar RTW played traditional dance and folk music from the countries of Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Serbia. Special Thanks to Sno-King International Folk Dance Club for donating their dance night at the Cedar Valley Grange.

NFDI honored Kathy Bruni for her 30 years of service. The group serenaded her with this song (click on it for a full sized version).

NFDI is the ‘Where to Folk Dance’ organization for the Pacific Northwest. Join in! Here is the schedule: www.nwfolkdancers.org

NFDI Poem

Kathy Bruni


Become a Friend of Folklife

Northwest Folklife Mythbusters #4

Co-creating and co-curating an annual festival with more than 5,000 artists, more than 800 performances on 25 stages with more than 100 community coordinators, while simultaneously managing the logistics of crafts vendors, food merchants, and sponsors AND making sure 250,000 visitors are safe, well served and have a great time is an enormous undertaking. It can really be boiled down to two words – Relationships and Logistics.

Relationships – Northwest Folklife works all year round with more than 100 community coordinators. These amazing volunteers represent the range of artistic genre, cultural influence and demographic origins that make up the Pacific Northwest. Coordinators provide the insight and experience within their coordinating areas to help staff make the most representative and balanced programming choices. It’s a big job and we are so grateful for their partnership.

Logistics galore!!!! Imagine setting up a system that allows anyone and everyone (remember – no barriers) to apply to perform or vend their wares that accurately gathers the information necessary to support their needs such as space, time, equipment, etc. Imagine the logistics involved with then coordinating all of those applications into the broad, cohesive festival that occurs each year. On top of that, there are all the logistics for vendors, security, volunteers, and facilities to support a quarter million guests. The list goes on and on (and on)!

Building and planning this event each year is a labor of love by an enormous group of dedicated staff, volunteers and partners. It is a vast undertaking, full of details and efforts that are invisible to most of us when we walk onto the grounds Memorial Day weekend. But, this labor of love is there when we experience the amazing breadth of the art and culture of the Northwest, become neighbors with strangers and go home with new experiences and perhaps, a little bit changed. For you – the magic happens in four days.  But it takes a year to make it happen!

Your Gift Ensures the Northwest Folklife Festival’s Lifeline

The 46th annual Northwest Folklife Festival is a community treasure that your gifts have created. The excitement and the pace of work continues to mount as we prepare to host over 100 cultural communities, 5,000 artists on 25 stages, the crafts booths, food vendors, and opportunities to participate such as over 90 hours of participatory dance, hands on activities for kids in the Discovery Zone, and jamming with musicians. It is going to be a blast.

Today, we are asking for your help to continue the tradition of artistic and cultural inclusion accessible to everyone. Please take a moment to give, renew and even increase your support as a Friend of Folklife donor.

Your support of Northwest Folklife is actually a gift to the entire community. Here, we share in our rich arts and cultural traditions: dance communities flourish at Warren’s Roadhouse, we witness Native American cultural practices and a powwow, and folks young and old mingle over music.

Northwest Folklife’s roots are deeply embedded in cultural inclusion. Recently, Phil Williams, one of our founders passed on. His widow Vivian shared with us that “Phil figured everybody should have a chance to get to know people from other communities, whether it was quilting or playing bluegrass or Japanese koto. His resistance to fences included a sensitivity to refugees in Seattle who’d had their fill of barbed-wire fences and being closed in. He thought some people wouldn’t be comfortable with that. He was very, very inclusive.” Your gift continues this vision which remains as relevant today as it was in 1972.

As you know, it takes resources to make this happen. Costs rise for everything and Northwest Folklife is not immune to that. We pledge to you that we will be effective and efficient stewards of your support! And there is a sober note to share. The Northwest Folklife Festival is one of the few remaining all-access arts and culture festivals in the country.  While other Festivals have folded, or adopted an admission charge to offset rising costs, we remain committed to the founding principle established 46 years ago, that this annual celebration shall be open to everyone in our community. The Festival belongs to everyone in our community – not just those who can afford a ticket.

Your generosity helps weave this community fabric of cultural inclusion. Only your continued support and support from others will ensure the lifeline of this community treasure.

Please consider a meaningful gift and make your donation today.

Your Support Creates Opportunities

Edible City Family Day with Festál this Saturday

Uncover the rich cultural diversity of food in the Pacific Northwest with Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) and Seattle Center Festál at Edible City Family Day with Festál, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., this Saturday February 18 at MOHAI. This all-ages event is presented in collaboration with cultural partners from across the Puget Sound region.

The packed day includes many elements for which the Festál series is known for, including a dance workshop series in collaboration with Northwest Folklife. Here is the full schedule:

  • Festál Turns 20 documentary, 10 a.m.–1:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.–5 p.m.
  • Ragdoll making with Marita Dingus and other hands-on activities, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Spirit of Africa presents African Dance with Gansango, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
  • Ethnic beverage making demonstrations and Pierogi making and eating with Seattle Polish Festival, 12:15 p.m.–1:15 p.m. and Festál cookbook drink highlights with chef Kristi Brown, 3:15 p.m.–4:15 p.m.
  • Panel discussion on, Food and Culture, the food connection 1:45 p.m.–2:45 p.m.
  • Festival of Lights presents Bollywood Dance with Katrina Ji 1:00 – 1:45 p.m.
  • Pagdiriwang presents Filipinas Performing Arts of Washington State, 3 p.m.–3:45 p.m.

Edible City Family Day with Festál augments the 20th anniversary of Seattle Center Festál, a series of 24 ethnic cultural festivals held on weekends throughout the year at Seattle Center. In 2017, Festál celebrates 20 years of global music, dance, art, crafts, history, food and insight made possible through a unique partnership among community organizations and Seattle Center culminating together for the Northwest Folklife Festival on Memorial Day Weekend. Festál seeks to connect people in ways that build understanding, dispel stereotypes and generate pride among the generations as they experience the distinct cultures that shape the character and course of our broader community. Edible City Family Day is free for MOHAI members and included in museum admission for others.

Mythbusters #1

Northwest Folklife Mythbusters #1

Folklife is a completely independent not for profit organization. We have our own mission and vision. We have our own Board, staff, budget, and programs. We are proud to partner with the City of Seattle and Seattle Center to produce and present the Northwest Folklife Festival and the Seattle Children’s Festival. We are grateful to the Seattle Center which provides space, facilities and support in order to ensure that our shared commitment that anyone and everyone should be able to attend these festivals without the economic barrier of a ticket price. The art and cultures of our region belong to everyone – not just those who can afford to buy a ticket.

Check out Mythbusters #2

Mythbusters 2

Northwest Folklife Mythbusters #2

The Northwest Folklife Festival is not free. Our commitment to ensure that everyone has access to our programs without the barrier of an admission fee requires us to find partners and supporters that pay the costs of putting on the festivals.

This year, the Festival and other Northwest Folklife programs will cost about $2.8 million. The City provides about $1.5 million of support and we have to raise about $700,000 and earn the additional $600,000.

Northwest Folklife is community powered and can ONLY happen with the financial support of everyone who believes that the Northwest Folklife Festival is an essential part of what makes this region so unique and such a wonderful place to live, work and play. Folklife is not free. Please help. It really is up to all of you.

Catch up and read miss Mythbusters #1

Festál Turns 20 FÊTE

“I recall at one of the early Festál 20th committee meetings that someone said the anniversary party should be like a grand circus. We have done all we can to make that vision a reality.”
– Steve Sneed, Seattle Center, Managing Artistic Director

 

 

 

This Sunday is the official kick off 20th anniversary celebration of both Northwest Folklife Festival’s Cultural Focus and Seattle Center’s Festál with the Festál Turns 20 FÊTE at the Fisher Pavillion! All 24 ethnic festivals will be represented through food, drink, décor, performance, dance, art, exhibits, and music and there will also be an opportunity to donate to ensure the legacy of this series of ongoing cultural festivals.

Japanese, Italian, African American, Mexican and Arab cuisine with wines from around the world will be served, along with a special tasting of French and Italian wines. Make Japanese origami, an authentic Hawaiian lei or a Marita Dingus African doll from re-cycled materials. Bollywood and Irish dance will bring excitement to the evening, along with a Vietnamese lion dance. A fashion show will showcase traditional and contemporary fashion from Croatia, Africa, Vietnam, Iran, and India. Experience music from the Seattle Center ethnomusicologist James Whetzel, who will deejay the event with sounds from the Festál series. The evening closes with a cup of rich Turkish coffee.

Festival leaders, volunteers and the greater community are invited to join in a night of cultural celebration and festivity. FÊTE attendees will experience the breadth of cultural and ethnic expression in the Pacific Northwest with live performances, wine tasting and food. This benefit gala not only launches the 20th anniversary year of Seattle Center Festál–it is also a night to honor the community leaders who have shaped the series throughout the past 20 years. Northwest Folklife and Festál share a like mission to raise awareness of cultural heritage, and engage folks in opportunities to celebrate, share, and participate in the evolving cultural traditions of the Pacific Northwest. Join us and celebrate the reach of Festál in our city and beyond!

This is Folklife Spotlight: Doug Plummer

Northwest Folklife is proud to be a community-powered organization, and at the heart of that power are people like YOU!

Photo by Rick Meyer

Today we introduce you to photographer and filmmaker, contra dancer, and Friend of Folklife, Doug Plummer.

Doug started contra dancing as well as photographing those dances in Seattle in the mid 1980s. Since 2012 he has self-published the Contradance Calendar, a photo showcase exhibiting the vibrant life of the tradition. He serves on the board of the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS), an education and arts service nonprofit for dancers, musicians, singers, callers, and organizers, particularly from English and North American traditions.

Doug created a series of short films for Northwest Folklife called Northwest Stories, which play a vital role in exploring communities that have long been a part of Northwest Folklife. He is beginning work on a documentary film project on one of the CDSS tour communities, Coos Bay, OR. He is also a new piano player and is in a contra dance band, Purple Heys. Let’s get to know Doug a little better.

What communities are you involved with?

I started contra dancing about 30 years ago. I started to photograph the dances then too, which began a long term project to document the contra dance and music scene nationwide. I serve on the board of the Country Dance and Song Society, which educates and supports local communities in offering contra and English dancing, as well as ritual dance (Morris), and song. I took up piano six years ago, from scratch, and quickly gained enough facility to play at jams and for contra dances. I’m now on the same trajectory with guitar.

How many years have you been involved with this community and Northwest Folklife?

Pretty much since I arrived in Seattle, in 1985.

What does it mean to you and to your community to be connected to Northwest Folklife?

I’m one of those people who, in years past, rarely left the contra dance floor the whole weekend, particularly when I was young. I’ve always been friends with musicians, and my favorite volunteer slot was for Sandy Bradley’s instrument auction, even though I didn’t play anything (yet). I’m connected with the original “roots” of Folklife, as it were, the old time hippie musicians who jammed and square danced and began this great thing, and who feel a tremendous sense of ownership of the Festival, and maybe a bit too much entitlement sometimes.

What has been the result of your connection with Northwest Folklife on you and your community?

Folklife is different now that I’m a musician. I’ve been on the stage a couple of times now, and there’s nothing that compares to the rush and the fulfillment of playing for a room full of several hundred contra dancers. But what I witnessed, from this side of the room, is how community comes together in preparation for that moment in the sun. A good example is the annual Lake City marathon contra dance that’s a benefit for Folklife. One year I was in two bands. We gathered week after week to rehearse. We staged contra dances in people’s living rooms, so that callers could practice handing off the dance changes. It is from those gatherings that friendships deepen, that connections develop, that community takes form. I saw the value of gathering to prepare for an event of connection and joy, and how Folklife seeds that in this amazing multicultural way for our region.

I’m in my sixties, and because I play music now, I’m making friends and I’m more social than I’ve ever been in my life. That typically doesn’t happen to guys my age in this culture. It is the greatest gift to be connected the way I am now.

You were a huge part in creating the Northwest Stories and helping to tell different community’s stories through their own words. Why do you think these stories were important to tell?

I learned about the secret mission of Folklife that more people need to know about. People think it’s about the Festival. That’s almost the least of it. Similar to how I observed community bonds being formed through the act of preparing for a contra dance, I saw how music and dance are the glue that give meaning and keep communities healthy. They may be an ethnic group, like the Hawaiian diaspora, or a community who choose a given dance form and may or may not identify as Scandinavian, or it may be an institutional keystone and a safe space for young people, like Vera and the All Ages music scene. Whatever parameters define a community, when we come together to make art together, when we participate, when we touch and know each other, this is important stuff. This is a social good. This is the society I want to live in. It is these healthy community bonds that Folklife nurtures, and the Festival only comes in to play as the place where these communities show the rest of us what they’re about.

Photo by Julia Chambers

What would you like to see for the future of Northwest Folklife?

In my work for CDSS, I’ve observed what makes for healthy, resilient dance communities. They’re the ones that change and grow, and that hand over leadership to a younger generation. In my “tribe”, and among my age cohort, I hear complaints of how Folklife’s changed, that it’s lost its way, that there’s no “Folk” music anymore and the stages are too loud (though that last bit I might agree with). In my view, that only demonstrates that the festival and the organization are healthy and growing. My measure of the vibrancy and vigor of any traditional music or dance scene is, are the old folks annoyed? Good. That means it’s going to be around for a few more generations. If it sounds like it did 30 years ago, that’s a bad sign. It’s going to die when you do.

Do you and your community nurture the role of ‘culture bearer’? How?

I help make sure there are abundant opportunities for people to gather, to hear music, to play music, to dance. I host a house concert series; its focus is virtuosic musicians who play in traditional genres. The house concert scene is becoming a significant piece of the support system for musicians, and it’s my favorite way to hear music. My big living room is also a frequent place for music sessions and even contra and square dances. There’s no end to the amount of joy this all brings into my life, and that my community feels as well.

Please finish this sentence: Folklife is… more necessary and important than ever.

In 2017, the Northwest Folklife Festival Feels Especially Significant

On Memorial Day Weekend, Northwest Folklife will present the 46th Northwest Folklife Festival – a signature event for this region. Once again, we will host 800 performing groups, 5,000 artists and 152 cultural communities. The past 45 years have only been possible because of gifts of support, and we thank our contributors and Friends of Folklife!

While this celebration of our folk arts and traditions has long heralded the start of summer, in 2017, the Northwest Folklife Festival feels especially significant. In this era of our polarized society, when distrust, fear and anger is so prominent, we need to find those places where we share space, engage with one another and build community.

Northwest Folklife’s mission is to create opportunities for all to celebrate, share and participate in the evolving traditions of the Pacific Northwest. This annual gathering allows us to share our traditions of music, dance, storytelling and food. And through this sharing, we come to understand each other much more deeply.

We may find the steps to our dances differ. The beat or tempo of our music and the spices we use in our foods vary. But we find that we all dance! We all express ourselves through our music. And we all know that warmth of gathering around tables with familiar smells and tastes warming us as we reconnect with friends and families.

In these four days each year, we re-embrace those differences which actually show us how much alike we are. In these four days, together we create a community of communities. Come dance, play music and eat food with each other. Find shared delight in each moment and find the common threads that weave together to become the fabric of a civil and caring society.

If you believe in this community of communities and if you believe that this opportunity must be equitable and open to everyone without the economic barrier of an admission fee, we need your support right here in the Pacific Northwest. While we face challenges and needs that can be addressed on the national stage, effective change and progress occurs “at home.” Northwest Folklife is local, it is community powered by those of us who live here.

Applications are already streaming in from performers, all seeking the opportunity to share of themselves and their art with you. To make this possible, there is so much work to be done between now and Memorial Day weekend. To balance our budget and pay the necessary expenses, this year we must raise $662,100 in contributed income. Northwest Folklife is an independent not for profit organization and we value every contribution and commit to each of you that we will use your support as efficiently and wisely as is possible.

We ask you, our friends and supporters, to do two things.

First, please make or renew your contribution.

Second, please share and forward this message via email and your social media networks to like-minded people you know and ask them to support Northwest Folklife as well. Sharing your voice and your belief in the importance of this annual gathering with others is the best way to build the broad base of community support necessary to keep Northwest Folklife and our Festival in this community.

Next Memorial Day Weekend, as you sit on the grass surrounded by others all listening to music, or venture into Warren’s Roadhouse to join hundreds of others dancing together, you will be so glad you did. Thank you!

Sincerely,

Mark W. Crawford
Interim Executive Director

Photo Credit: Doug Plummer. Meet Doug in our first This is Folklife Spotlight.