Thanks for a great Seattle Children’s Festival!


At the Seattle Children’s Festival, families not only watch and listen but Play, Dance, Sing, Learn, Taste and Participate!

oolleemmdrum1  Thank you for another fantastic Seattle Children’s Festival! It was a great day of music, dance, art and exploration at the Seattle Center. More than 3,000 of our neighbors helped us to celebrate our BIG neighborhood along with 154 artists with 32 performances across 6 different venues. Families were able to experience all kinds of Folklife, from traditional Chinese dance to beat boxing. And so much more!

Take any good pics at the festival? We want to see them! Post your favorites on Instagram or facebook #folklifekids. We’ll have ours up soon!

We hope to see you all back for the 4th annual Seattle Children’s Festival next year! Mark your calendar for Sunday, October 8, 2017




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


Katrina Ji

Community Coordinator Katrina Ji

What does it mean to be a Northwest Folklife Community Coordinator? Great question! This is a group of dedicated individuals from all walks of Northwest life. These people give of their time and resource to bring their own cultural traditions to the greater community through Northwest Folklife.

Katrina JiToday, we’d like to introduce you to Katrina Ji, the Artistic Director, Choreographer, and lead dancer of Culture Shakti, a dance studio that bridges the gap between east and west, providing dances classes for Belly Dance, Bollywood, Bhangra, Rajasthani, Garba, and more. Katrina is the Northwest Folklife Community Coordinator for the Bollywood Showcase at the Northwest Folklife Festival.


What cultural traditions do you share with the greater community?

The Bollywood Showcase highlights a variety of high octane Bollywood dances from India including Bhangra, Garba, Tollywood and more.

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

Not only have I been contributing to the Bollywood Showcase each year, I initiated the Bollywood Showcase. In addition, I also program a Bollywood Dance Party with DJ Kazan and other local DJ’s along with a dance lesson by myself. Plus this past year, I programmed a Bollywood Kids Showcase on the new outdoor stage.

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

I am thrilled to be an advocate for promoting Bollywood and Folk Dances of India at the Northwest Folklife Festival. I have been the community organizer for five years now. Being part of the Festival has helped our company gain visibility for larger opportunities including the Democrats of Washington Holiday Party and the F.U.S.I.O.N. Gala Auction Fundraiser.


Can you recall a performance memory that had an impact on you?

One of my fondest memories at the Northwest Folklife Festival was seeing a group of young girls that I had been teaching through Aki Kurose. (Group Healths’s Teen Youth Mentorship Program) on the stage. They were so proud. I am so happy they were provided the opportunity to participate as a school field trip. They were so excited for the opportunity to dress up in the costumes that I provided them on the Armory Stage. 


Find Katrina Ji on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or online at 




Warm Welcome To Mark Crawford

Northwest Folklife’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of Mark Crawford to serve as Interim Executive Director upon the upcoming retirement of current Executive Director, Rob Townsend. Crawford and Townsend will work for two weeks together in transition before Crawford assumes the role on October 1.

Crawford brings to Northwest Folklife over 25 years of nonprofit executive leadership experience in the region in both long term and interim roles. He has served as Interim executive with Bellevue Arts Museum, The Arc of King County, Foundation for Early Learning and others.

“Northwest Folklife is fortunate to secure Mark’s services to lead the organization through this leadership succession. His experience will help assure leadership continuity and a solid future for Folklife,” says Rafael Maslan, Northwest Folklife’s board president. Crawford’s charge will be to maintain current operations and funding, conduct a thorough organizational review, and support the search process for a new permanent executive director.

Crawford’s leadership features strategic development initiatives and his ability to create and execute the operational business plans necessary to realize those strategic visions. Says Crawford, “I am very pleased and excited to have been offered this opportunity to work with such a wonderful organization, staff, Board and the many, many volunteers and community representatives.”

Crawford is associated with Third Sector Company, a firm dedicated to the continuity of nonprofit leadership. Third Sector will provide resources that will further assure a positive succession process.

Townsend will leave his role on September 30 after almost nine years, but will volunteer for Folklife’s third annual Seattle Children’s Festival on October 9.


festival_promo- poster yeggy

Northwest Folklife Partnership: Arts in Nature Festival and Big World Breaks

Big World Breaks

Northwest Folklife is thrilled to partner with the Nature Consortium for the 2016 Arts in Nature Festival. For two full days, the Arts in Nature Festival transforms Camp Long into an intimate and eclectic experience of art and performance, nestled in the woods of Seattle’s only campground. In addition to visual arts, theater and dance, Seattle band Big World Breaks will perform on August 20 at 7 pm. Don’t miss it!

Additionally, you’ll find four intimate performance stages, a Museum of Sound in 8 rustic cabins, hands-on art and nature activities, and winding hiking trails through the great outdoors. Experience works ranging from jazz, classical, indie rock, bluegrass, contemporary dance, marching bands, and interactive sound installations.

For tickets, and more information about the festival including additional music, art and theater performances, visit:

Sarrah Danzinger HI RES

Indie Roots programming at the Festival

Screen shot 2016-05-23 at 2.12.45 PM

Rabbit Wilde.

The 2016 Indie Roots showcases combine elements of traditional music with today’s popular sounds. New this year is a showcase programmed in part by Treefort Music Fest, featuring head turning performances from Rabbit Wilde, Karl Blau, and Hillfolk Noir. These artists put their individual spins on folk music, sharing with audiences a unique sound.  Each showcase has been curated in part by community groups such as 91.3 KBCS, Seattle Living Room Shows, Underwood Stables, and Treefort Music Fest. An incredible line-up is programmed this year including Naomi Wachira, Luz Elena Mendoza, Hurray For The Riff Raff, and The Sweet Lowdown. There are nine showcases and over 30 bands performing throughout all four days of the Festival. Find these bands on four different stages including the Fisher Green Stage, the Fountain Lawn Stage, Vera Project Stage, and the Folklife Café.
Indie Roots programming for 2016 Northwest Folklife Festival includes:
Kickin’ Up Dust Showcase
Featuring The Lucky Shots, The Gortexans, Johnson Country, and The Fentons
6:00 – 9:00 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage
Next Generation: Indie Roots
Featuring Crow’s Share, Dark Madrona, The Banner Days, and The Bruised Hearts Revue
7:00 – 9:55 p.m., Vera Project
Seattle Living Room Showcase
Featuring The Cloves, Lanford Black, The Hollers, and Sarah Gerritsen and the Shadow Catchers
12:30 – 3:15 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage
91.3 KBCS Acoustic Showcase
Featuring Naomi Wachira, Luz Elena Mendoza, Hurray For The Riff Raff, and The Sweet Lowdown
12:30 – 3:20 p.m., Fisher Green Stage
Sarrah Danzinger HI RES

Hurray for the Riff Raff to be seen in the 91.3 KBCS showcase. Photo Credit: Sarrah Danzinger.

Ear to the Ground: Indie Roots
Featuring Murfitt and Main and Fish and Bird
2:00 – 3:25 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage
Folk, Redefined
Featuring Familiar Wild, Shelita Burke, Intisaar, and Aimee Wilson
3:00 – 6:00 p.m., Vera Project
Kinfolk: Ancient Voices
Featuring Jean Rohe and Meghan Yates
1:00 – 2:10 p.m., Folklife Cafe
Underwood Stables Show
Featuring Caleb and Walter, Denver, Silverhands, and Country Lips
6:00 – 9:00 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage
Treefort Music Showcase
Featuring Hillfolk Noir, Rabbit Wilde, and Karl Blau
3:45 – 5:45 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage
Indie Roots programming is sponsored by KEXP 90.3 FM –

Getting to the 2016 Northwest Folklife Festival

All of us at Northwest Folklife are getting very excited for our favorite weekend of the year, and we want to make sure your trip to the Festival is as smooth and hassle free as possible.  There are a variety of ways to get to the Seattle Center campus, whether you’re traveling on foot, bus, bike or car.

For those taking public transportation, there are over a dozen bus routes servicing Seattle Center from all over the greater Seattle area.  Public transportation to and from the Northwest Folklife Festival can be planned by going to or King County Trip Planner.  And don’t forget about the Monorail!  The Seattle Monorail goes directly to Seattle Center from Downtown, and departs every ten minutes, running between Seattle Center station, adjacent to the Space Needle, and Westlake Center Mall station, at Fifth Avenue and Pine Street.

If you prefer to drive to the festival there will be plenty of paid lots available surrounding Seattle Center, but please be aware that lots can fill up by midday and rates could be high.  If you want to drive but don’t want to deal with the stress of parking, consider taking a Lyft!  We will have a pick up/drop off zone conveniently located on Mercer Avenue at the North end of grounds, and drivers will be ready to assist you.  If you haven’t yet signed up for Lyft, now is the time.  Lyft is offering a special Folklife rate of $10 for each of your first 5 rides!  You can sign up here or use the new user code FOLKLIFE16. 

If you’re planning to ride your bike to the Festival we’ve got you covered also!  Bike racks will be available at the Harrison Street entrance.

Visit our Getting Here web page for more information as you plan your weekend!

Looking forward to seeing you Memorial Day Weekend!

Warren's Roadhouse 2015. Photo Credit: Doug Plummer

Let’s Dance!

Photo by Christopher Nelson

Dancing is an important – and fun – part of Northwest Folklife Festival. Just set foot in the Fisher Pavilion or Armory Court stage and you’ll see what we mean. And this year’s no different! At any time during the weekend, you can always jump in and shimmy, Allemande , or do-si-do.

Here are a few dance parties that you won’t want to miss this year:

Hula Dance
Armory Court Stage, Saturday, 2-2:45pm

Learn to dance the traditional Hula with Gloria Nahalea and friends.

Western Swing and Country Barnburner
Fisher Pavilion, Sunday, 1-2:50

Join The Wiretappers, and Wylie and the Wild West for a rootin’, tootin’ barnburner!

STG Dance This
Armory Court Stage, Sunday, 11-12:45

Learn a variety of moves from around the world in this cross cultural dance workshop organized by the Seattle Theater Group.

Singin Squares
Fisher Pavilion, Monday, 2-2:50pm

In the spirit of the Cultural Focus, we’re adding a little vocals to this entertaining square dancing showcase. Join these five singing squares Just Because in the fun! Do we even need to ask why?

Monday Closing Contra
Fisher Pavilion, Monday, 6-9pm

Closeout the festival with a major bang with these three bands with a big sound!

  • Les Capitaines du Jour with Carol Piening, Caller
  • Ryan McKasson and Friends with Woody Lane, Caller
  • Uncle Farmer with Lindsey Dono, Calller

For a full list of participatory dances as well as a full festival guide, check out the schedule here.


Volunteer Spotlight: Wayne Severson

How long have you been Volunteering at the Northwest Folklife Festival?

Approximately 15 years.

What position(s) do you take on at the Festival?

Volunteer Check-In, Hospitality, Volunteer Party, Info Booths, and Raising Donations from festival visitors.

What keeps you coming back?

The opportunity to see old friends and the opportunity to make a lot of new ones. The pleasant atmosphere. The great music and shows.

Name a favorite food, craft, art or music that you enjoy at Folklife.

Elephant ears are one of my favorite foods. It’s so huge and it tastes so good! I enjoy craft gazing and music listening.

Please share a funny story, good memory, or tip for new volunteers!

When you want someone to donate you have to be joyful. You can’t shy away because the opportunity will pass you by. Be assertive, and be willing to chat with anyone coming or going will guarantee you a bill in the till. I’ve had people say to me that they are just passing through, or tourists, or just want to get to the other side of the Center. All you have to do is tell them that, “No matter what the size (amount) of their donation turns out to be – you will discover during your short visit was worth it, tenfold.”

paperstock 3

Art for Everyone: Paperstock

paperstock 3PaperStock is back at the 2016 Folklife Festival! This year’s focus, Art for Everyone, reflects the variety of prints and posters available at the exhibition.  You are invited to peruse prints from contemporary concert poster artists and silk screen print artists, and you might even find a favorite new print to purchase directly from the artist! Attend an on-site screen printing demonstrations to learn how many of these prints are produced.



Located in the International Fountain Pavilion Saturday – Monday 11 AM – 7 PM.

Featuring art from:paperstock 1
Farley Bookout
Eric Carnell aka Independence Printage and Fogland Studios
Frida Clements
David and Kelsey Gallo aka Weapons of Mass Design
Mike Klay aka Powerslide Design Co
Chad Lundberg
Andrew Saeger aka Factory 43
Dan Stiles


For the kids and families at Folklife Festival

The Discovery Zone is the place to be for kids and their grownups at the Festival! In addition to music, dance and workshops on the stage, the Discovery Zone is jam packed with hands on activities presented by Folklife partners every day of the festival. If you’re feeling artsy, crafty, or just plain curious, there’s a little something to fit every mood.

A full list of activities available at the Discovery Zone is listed below:

Gage Academy of Art
“Gage Pop-Up Drawing Jam”

Come unleash your inner artist! Whether you are a young Rembrandt, a comic book artist, a stick figure sketcher, or just like to express yourself, Gage presents a chance to drop in and draw at Folklife. Gage provides free professional art supplies, costumed models from bunny rabbits to comic heroes, easels, still life set ups, and lots of encouragement.

Photo by Christopher Nelson

Photo by Christopher Nelson

The Center for Wooden Boats
“Toy Boat Building”

Grab a hull, a mast, and some traditional tools and build your own boat! Decorate it, give it a name, and sail it wherever your imagination takes you.

Seattle Children’s Museum
“Exploring Rhythm”

Hungry for a bite-sized sample of the Seattle Children’s Museum?
Visit our booth to explore marbles, motion, and music, all in the same fun-filled package! Kids can explore independently or collaboratively as they make music with their bodies, marbles, and other everyday materials.

Northwest African American Museum
“Posing Beauty: Finding the Beauty Within”

Inspired by the exhibition Posing Beauty in African American Culture, families are invited to explore notions of inner beauty through art. Make art cards using word tiles and images to create miniature collages to share or trade with friends and families about what makes someone beautiful on the inside.

Nature Consortium

Folklife 2014 - Friday

Photo by Christopher Nelson

“Discover Nature through Art”

Make your own jewelry, hats, or bird feeders that explore elements of the natural environment and learn the how and why of making art with up cycled materials. In the process visitors can learn how common packaging can impact the world, explore alternative options, and work with ‘trash’ to create art.


Light in the Attic Friday and Saturday Only:
“This Record Belongs To _______: An Introduction to the Magic of Vinyl Records”

Light in the Attic Records loves music and so do you! We hope to share our passion by teaching the little ones the interactive experience of holding an album in your hands, putting needle to groove, and immersing yourself in the pages of a record’s sleeve as the music plays.


People of the Salish Sea

Visual Arts at Folklife

All four days of the Northwest Folklife Festival you can experience a wide range of art in the Fountain Pavilion at Seattle Center, including the multimedia projects of local artist, director, curator, and activist Tracy Rector. You can read more about Rector and her work in Seattle in the Stranger here. Ranging from photography to weaving to mixed media, Rector has organized the following exhibitions which highlight the unique experience of indigenous peoples of the region.

You can visit these exhibitions in the International Fountain Pavilion, Friday – Monday May 27-30th

in·dig·e·nize posters 3

Photo by in·dig·e·nize

Organized by Tracy Rector and Melissa Ponder

As an unapologetic portrait essay of Indigenous people currently living in the Pacific Northwest, in·dig·e·nize, refocuses our gaze upon the enormous diversity in our region’s Native communities. As a joint legacy project by creative director Tracy Rector and photographer Melissa Ponder, this exhibit honors of all those who contributed to and participated in the celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and to those Natives who call Seattle home!

Stephen Paul Judd 1

Steven Paul Judd

In Search of Steven Paul Judd

A groundbreaking artist and pioneer in visual storytelling, Steven Paul Judd (Kiowa/Choctaw) will bring to Seattle selections from his pop icon and cultural art creations, prints, digital media, and films. Stay tuned for more information about Judd’s exhibition and interactive opportunities with the artist at the festival!

People of the Salish Sea
People of the Salish Sea is the interactive, transmedia platform for the upcoming documentary film Clearwater, the story of the unique relationship between tribal peoples and the waters of the Salish Sea (Puget Sound). For nearly 15,000 years the Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest have called these waters home, and have time and again had to adapt to environmental, social and political changes in order to survive…and now thrive. The exhibition will consist of rich visual art, cultural demonstrations, textiles and in-person experiences that will connect the communities of the Salish Sea to the hearts of the viewing audiences.

Watch an excerpt of the film Clearwater Gokkasten + Casino Spelletjes