Why Give Children the Opportunity to Perform?

Northwest Folklife introduces children to music, arts, and culture. When children are Festival performers we see them developing confidence and skills. We wondered what more take-aways and benefits children might experience with the opportunity to share their artistic and cultural practices through their own performances.

John Leder’s Ukulele Olio students took part in the Ukenalia Showcase on Monday May 29 at the Exhibition Hall during the 46th Northwest Folklife Festival. The Thorton Creek Elementary School students joined SUPA – Seattle Ukulele Players Association with Neil Diamond on the Ukulele, and The Castaways – Seattle’s Loudest Ukulele Band.

Here, John shares his insights on how his young musicians experience the opportunity to perform and share the Ukenalia Showcase with experienced adult ukulelists.

Thornton Creek Elementary is an alternative, expedition based learning environment, with a focus on the arts and performance.  The opportunity for 2nd and 3rd graders playing the ukulele at the Northwest Folklife Festival is a BIG DEAL for them and a wonderful opportunity for the teachers to involve their students in a community of performance outside of the school.  It’s usually the kid’s first opportunity to perform on a public stage outside of the school.  We focus at least as much on the etiquette and discipline needed to be good citizens both backstage and on stage as we do on the performance itself.  I also use it as an opportunity to teach and emphasize the need for and to demonstrate how to perform within our given time limits so that all other groups assigned to a given set get their full time on stage.  In addition, it is an opportunity to teach kids about adapting music that they are learning in other classes to something that can actually be played on the ukulele and performed on stage – a big surprise when we don’t do something exactly the way the singing teacher does.  While I, as the ukulele teacher, am responsible for developing the program and teaching the kids the songs that will be played, the classroom teachers incorporate the teaching moments in their classroom curriculum.  Thornton Creek is unique in that ukulele is an element of the daily curriculum in which the teachers are directly involved, not an after school program.  Finally, as the ukulele teacher I ask for and welcome input and ideas from the students on what we do, so this gives them a chance to develop their own sense of artistic expression – sometimes we have a little bit too much democracy :), but what a great learning experience. This is why we are always eager to get an opportunity to perform at Folklife.  Oh, and the kids love getting the performer buttons!

Among other things I am president of SUPA, and personally know two of the members of The Castaways, one of whom is the SUPA secretary.  My Thornton Creek kids all know this, and it makes it even easier for me to emphasize and teach things like stage timing, backstage behavior, etc.  They are not phased by playing in the Ukenalia Showcase with the others because we prep them well for this.  I even get to add a little humor in regard to making mistakes.  I always teach them how to respond to mistakes that might occur on stage and I do a post-performance analysis with the kids on this.  The best musicians among them can tell me exactly what mistakes were made and how we moved through them.  Another great take-away.

So yes, there are lots of take-aways for both students and faculty.  We look forward to having the opportunity to perform at Folklife, and hope that other youth organizations might have the same.

Thank you for performing dear Ukulele Olio students, and for your leadership John Leder!

Thank you to our Friends of Folklife for the opportunities that your donations create.

Give a Child the Gift of Discovery

Curious students learn more and learn better. It’s a fact. Sparking curiosity is serious fun.

Your summertime gift supports youth and families discovering all the neighbors and cultural practices of Our Big Neighborhood in the Pacific Northwest. Make your gift today to give a child the gift of discovery.

Our Big Neighborhood youth and family program spans the Seattle Children’s Festival and the Northwest Folklife Festival, bringing you and your neighbors together through arts and culture. Through inter-generational, multi-cultural exchange, we promote social understanding.

We introduce children to the world in the most accessible ways possible: through music, dance, cooking, nature, and being good neighbors.

Northwest Folklife’s inter-generational, multi-cultural program sparks children’s curiosity about the world. Young minds and bodies grow through movement, rhythm, and song. In Our Big Neighborhood everyone can participate in workshops, performances, and hands-on activities.

A main event in Northwest Folklife’s Our Big Neighborhood youth and family program, the Seattle Children’s Festival is a day dedicated to sparking children’s curiosity about the world and developing young minds and bodies through movement, rhythm, song, and hands-on activities. Discover the Seattle Children’s Festival. Families can experience all kinds of folklife, from traditional Chinese dance to beat boxing. And so much more!

The more we celebrate one another the better. Save the Date! The 4th Seattle Children’s Festival will be held at the Seattle Center on Sunday October 8, 2017.

Your Support Creates Opportunities

The Friend of Folklife Experience 2017

Willa S., Ebony M., Sheila S., Lisa G.

L-R. Willa S., Ebony M., Sheila S., Lisa G.

Good to see you, Friends of Folklife! We enjoyed meeting you at the Friend of Folklife Headquarters on the Fisher Terrace and at the Friend of Folklife Donation Station on the Fisher Green. Welcome to ALL of our new Friends of Folklife. We had fun with Donor Goody Bags, daily Micro-Receptions, and Donor Drawings. And, we had a wonderful time experiencing the 46th Northwest Folklife Festival, the arts and culture of our big neighborhood, and phenomenal sunny four days this Memorial Day weekend.

Many Thanks to our Friend of Folklife Goody Bag & Donor Drawing Sponsors:

Ballard Brothers Seafood & Burgers
Dang! Coconut Chips and Onion Chips
KuKuRuZa Gourmet Popcorn Company
McMenamins: Pubs, Breweries and Historic Hotels
NighTraiN Seattle
Northwest Dance Network
Orkestyr Farfeleh
Pagliacci Pizza – Seattle Area Pizzeria and Delivery
Petticoat Junction Dance Shop
Redhook Brewery | Seattle Original since 1981
Seattle Balkan Dancers | Come dance with us!
Swansons Nursery – Seattle’s Favorite Garden Store Since 1924
Ten Mercer Dinner + Drinks
Wild Ginger Asian Restaurant & Satay Bar
World Spice Merchants

Pacific Northwest Getaways in the Donor Drawing!

  • Vacation Home in Oceanside, Oregon: Thanks to Sue S and Lanny M
  • Bed and Breakfast near Roseburg, Oregon: Thanks to Woody L and Jeri F
  • Bed and Breakfast in Vancouver, B.C.: Thanks to Beth W and Brian R

Special Thanks to our Board Members who contributed to the Donor Drawing: Luther Black, Harvey Niebulski, Brian Roberson, Danielle Stephenson, Selena Whitaker-Paquiet, and Karen White.

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.

View from Friend of Folklife HQ photo credit: Sheila Siden

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.

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.

 

 

 

How To Give to Make the Festival Live

This year, Northwest Folklife Festival –goers are being asked to decide the future of the Northwest Folklife Festival. Please support the Festival with a donation at the entrance, and consider becoming a Friend of Folklife. Our fundraising goal is $350,000.

Give at the Gate!

Make a daily donation of $10/person, $20/families. You will receive as Thanks a 2017 Festival Button. Wear it with pride. Add a Count Me In ribbon for an additional donation.

Say ‘Count Me In!’

Make your Count Me In donation at any Donation Station or Friend of Folklife Headquarters.

Receive a ribbon to wear and to tie on to the Count Me In Donor Wall at the Friend of Folklife Donation Station, Fisher Green.

  • $11 to $49 – Aqua
  • Friend of Folklife donors ($50 to $249) – Emerald
  • FolkStarter Friends ($250 and up) – Purple
  • 1,000 for the Future Donors – Red

Become a Friend of Folklife

  • Donate at any Donation Station with Cash, Check, or Credit Card.
  • Visit the Credit Card Kiosks at the Friend of Folklife Donation Station on the Fisher Green.

Give online at give.nwfolklife.org

Bring your Voucher or Receipt (phone or paper) to the Friend of Folklife Headquarters for Festival Benefits described on our donation page. Contributors ($50 donation) may pick up Friend of Folklife buttons at any Donation Station.

Your Support Creates Opportunities

 

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

 

Morris and BC Communities 🎵🎶 Anonymous donors want to double your gift.

The 46th Northwest Folklife Festival will be awesome this year, and we are doing all we can to expand support to make the Festival live to 47 and beyond. Anonymous donors have offered two opportunities to double your gift now through June 30.

Calling all Misty City Morris, Mossybacks, North by Northwest, Sound and Fury, and Vancouver Morris Men.  Anonymous donors are offering a Morris Challenge. They will match gifts 1:1 from Morris community dancers, musicians, past team members, team spouses, and their kids. Required: include the name of your team affiliation with your donation!

Calling all Vancouverites, lower mainlanders, Vancouver Islanders, and all residents of British Columbia. Anonymous donors are offering a BC Challenge. They will match gifts 1:1 from donors the BC community. Required: include your address and the words BC Challenge with your donation!

Calling all who wish to make a new gift of $1,000: Two dedicated donors have offered to match individuals’ and corporations’ new gifts of $1,000 through 6/30/2017!

Take a moment to renew and even increase your support with a one-time or recurring gift.

Please share these challenge match opportunities with your friends and let them know what Folklife means to you.

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 (not pictured), Vice President; Ryan Davis (not pictured), Treasurer; Michael Richardson, Secretary; Luther F. Black, Immediate Past President; Kim Camara (not pictured); David Greenspan; Don Morgan; Harvey Niebulski, M.D.; Brian Robertson (not pictured); Michelle Demers Shaevitz; Karen Shaw; Jabi Shriki; Selena Whitaker-Paquiet; Karen White (not pictured)

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!