Panels and Presentations

The 2014 Northwest Folklife Festival will present panels from accomplished speakers as part of our Cultural Focus program! We are honored to welcome Ramesh Gangolli, Sonora Jha, Indu Sundaresan and Dr. Anu Taranath as they each identify their experience and connection to the Indian community in the Northwest. Join our talented panelists on Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26 between 12 PM – 4 PM in the JBL Theater (Narrative Stage).

Writingsonora jha Fact through Fiction: Telling India’s Untold Stories

With Sonora Jha

Saturday May 24, 2:00PM – 2:50PM

Seattle University Journalism professor and novelist Sonora Jha, speaks about the delights and challenges of writing in different forms in India and in the U.S. Through her fiction novel, ‘Foreign’ she will communicate the contrast between a developing American existence and a developing Indian one. Drop in on Sonora’s storytelling as she reveals a world of protest rallies and a love that demands to be rekindled.



Harems, Courts and Politics in the 17th Century India of the Taj MahalIndu Sundaresan

With Indu Sundaresan

Saturday May 24, 3:00PM – 3:50PM

Storyteller, Indu Sundaresan, reveals a blend of romance and history about the abandoned ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri. Turning a seamless drama into an integrating solid research, Indu weaves the political affairs of the Mughal kingdom into the fictionalized account. Get a glimpse into the royal lives of India’s Mughal kings who built the Taj Mahal, as Indu takes you on a virtual tour of the city and read from sections of her novels that are set in Fatehpur Sikri.


anu taranathStorytelling from India and Beyond: How Literature Makes Us Care about Ourselves and Others

With Anu Taranath

Sunday May 25, 2:00PM – 2:50PM

Dr. Anu Taranath is a professor at the Universtiy of Washington and teaches about power and privilege through a focus on postcolonial, queer, and feminist world literatures. Passionate about stories, Anu will introduce us to inspirational stories from India and the Indian diaspora. We will learn about history, cultural diversity and identity, and wonder together how storytelling affects who we are and how we think of others. Join Anu for this interactive conversation that will help us better understand the range of perspectives literature offers us.

Ramesh GangolliMusic of India and its Romance with Seattle

With Ramesh Gangolli

Sunday May 25, 3:00PM – 3:50PM

Ramesh Gangolli is musician, musicologist, mathematician and educator at the University of Washington. Come participate in our discussion about how Seattle has come to be known as one of the prime venues in the US for the presentation of Music of India.  Discover any unanswered questions you might have about classical Indian music in the Pacific Northwest and how you can get involved.

Celebrating India: Programmming

Join us May 23- 26th for an exploration of India and It’s People at the 43rd annual Folklife Festival

Mahishasura Mardini Kuchipudi

Experience the drama of Kuchipudi, Sunday evening from 7-10pm in the Bagley Wright Theatre


Bollywood Show

Exhibition Hall – Friday, 6:45pm-8:15pm

Featuring a gorgeous array of Bollywood Dance performances curated by Mollie Singh, director and curator of Bollywood Seattle. The “Bollywood Show” gives audiences a chance to experience various Bollywood dance styles, Indian folk dance, and the Bollywood story through this dance form. This showcase features Bhangra with Chi, Bolly Dance Moves, Bollywood Seattle, Desi Girls, Nachle, Queen Harish, University of Washington Bollywood Kahaani, University of Washington DangeRaas Dawgs, and Vibha Srinivasan.


Colors & Colors of India, Saturday, May 24th from 11am to 2pm

Colors & Cultures of India

Bagley Wright Theatre – Saturday, 11am-1pm

A popular, classical Indian dance style, Kathak originated in ancient northern India, and contains traces of temple and ritual dance. The “Colors & Cultures of India” showcase will feature an elaborate array of all-ages Kathak dance performance from area with other Indian dance styles interwoven. Performers include Anga Kala Kathak Academy, Arpan, Leela Kathak Dancers, Mohini Dance School, Nrityalaya Dance, Nupur Dancing Superstars, Sangeetha Nrithyalaya, Tanjavur Dance School, Urvasi Dance Ensemble, and Vidhi Jain.

Sound of Mumbai, SIFF Film Center, 3:15PM on Saturday

Indian Cinema

SIFF Film Center – Friday thru Monday, 11:00 am-7:00 pm

Features films such as: Sita Sings the Blues – directed by Nina Paley; The Sound of Mumbai : A Musical Documentary- directed by Sarah McCathy; One Track Heart: The Story of Krishna Daas – directed by Jeremy Frindel.

Music Across India

Center Theatre – Sunday, 11:45 am-1:45 pm

Three incredible performances featuring music from first-time Folklife group-performers Junior Tabla Eastside, an exquisite Carnatic music presentation from nationally-known artist Priya Raghav, as well as presentation of Indian instrumental music from the students of Anjali Music School.

Reflectionz: Fashion of India

Àtiz Fashion House

Àtiz Fashion House, 5PM, Exhibition Hall, Sunday

Exhibition Hall – Sunday, 5:00pm-6:00pm

Fashion is a way of life! Catch a live catwalk-style fashion show at the Folklife Festival. The fashions of Àtiz Fashion House perfectly balance the concept of feminine beauty found in both Indian and America; be inspired and behold the opulent textiles and brilliant colors swirling in translucent layers.


Panels and Presentations

Narrative Stage (JBL Theatre) – Saturday – Sunday, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Indian culture spreads to the Northwest as featured speakers: Sonia Faleiro, Ramesh Gangolli, Sonora Jha, Indu Sundaresan and Anu Taranath discuss their opinions and experience about Indian perception in our community.

Mahishasura Mardini Kuchipudi – an operatic dance ballet

Sri Pasumarthi Venkateswara Sarma

Don’t miss internationally acclaimed Sri Pasumarthi Venkateswara Sarma, Monday, May 25th in the Bagley Wright Theatre.

Bagley Wright Theatre – Sunday, 7:00pm-10:00pm

A grand and traditional Indian opera, Mahishasura Mardini Kuchipudi will fill the Bagley Wright Theatre with lovely music and dance. Starring internationally renowned Indian dancer Sri Pasumarthi Venkateswara Sarma, this is the first operatic dance ballet of this caliber to be produced at the Folklife Festival and seating is limited!




Indya Rang Bazaar by Sampada

Fountain Pavilion, Saturday – Monday, 11:00a.m.-7:00p.m.

Sampada means INHERITANCE. INDIA, the oldest
living civilization on earth, has an ancient heritage formed during Indus
Valley Civilization and evolved through the Vedic Age, Buddhism, the Golden
Age, Invasion from Central Asia, European Colonization and the Indian
Independence Movement. Stop by the INDYA RANG BAZAAR to get access to
high quality authentic Indian artwork ranging from Décor to personal items made
from vegetable & organically derived colors.


Learn to Dance Bollywood!

With Vijayasree Nori, Lavanya Kasabada and Shirin Nori
Armory Stage – Monday, 1:00pm-2:00pm

Family Fun at the 2014 Festival!

hula hoopsExplore the bigger-than-ever-before Discovery Zone, a family-friendly hands-on activities area with performances, workshops, and activities that are fun for people of all ages!

Be sure to check out the Discovery Zone, the family friendly hands-on activities area with performances, workshops and activities that are fun for people of all ages!  The Discovery Zone will be located in the Next 50 Plaza and open from 11am-6pm Friday-Monday of the festival.  This year, the area will be even bigger and better than ever in preparation for Northwest Folklife’s first annual Seattle Children’s Festival happening on October 12, 2014 on the Seattle Center Grounds.

Look for more information on all of the fun activities that will be happening in the Discovery Zone, coming soon!Wooden Boats

2014 Cultural Focus: India and its People

In honor of Northwest Folklife’s tradition to celebrate one of the many cultures that make up the greater Pacific Northwest through dedicated programming at the organization’s signature festival event each May, Northwest Folklife will showcase a history of east Indian traditions, styles and identities across six different stages.

“Folklife works with over 100 communities each Festival,” lead programmer Kelli Faryar explains. “Most of our community showcases are framed in a 2-3 hour window which is only a glimpse into who and what these particular communities thrive on and the traditions that they are passing along. Our Cultural Focus allows us to further engage a community and showcase who they are not just at the Festival, but throughout the year and with a much broader platform.”

In early 2014, Northwest Folklife was honored to receive a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant for their work to promote and showcase the expansive Cultural Focus: India and its People programming that will be presented at the 2014 Festival. Northwest Folklife’s ability to showcase this significant regional culture is greatly enhanced by this important funding.

chamma chamma

Chamma Chamma in the Colors & Colors showcase

Produced in partnership with the India Association of Western Washington (IAWW)

Join us May 23-26 at the Festival to learn more about the Indian community of the Northwest through panels and discussions, films, dance and music presentations, visual arts and even a chance to learn how to dance Bollywood!

The 2014 Northwest Folklife Festival celebrates India, its ancient history, unique heritage steeped in traditional arts, and its people, many of which have traveled from the country of their origin to various parts of the world taking with them the message of their culture. Today, some of those travelers call the Pacific Northwest home, and others originate here thanks to earlier generations that immigrated in the early 1900s in search of higher education, better jobs or to merely explore. They found opportunities and eagerly contributed their best to the development of Washington State. They became the engineers, the educators, the healthcare professionals, and simply your everyday citizen.

Over the years, Seattle became synonymous with Boeing, and Redmond with Microsoft; through these economic changes, the Indian community grew. As they raised their sons and daughters in the Northwest, the Indian immigrants also formed new friendships, shared their varied experiences, enriching local communities with their unique culinary, artistic, eastern healing sciences and other distinctive cultural traditions. They opened restaurants, small businesses, volunteered at various organizations and participated with enthusiasm in Folklife and other local arts and heritage festivals.

Since 2002, the Northwest has seen an exponential rise in the number of skilled workers immigrating from India. The 1900s saw the Indian immigrants creatively connecting their families to their roots. Families would gather in rented community center rooms to celebrate festivals and teach children about their heritage. Crossing the border to Vancouver, BC, Canada was a much-anticipated trip where one could meander down Main Street’s Indian stores selling the latest Indian fashions and mouthwatering savories and sweets.

The 2000s brought an influx of technology workers as well as a boom in Indian restaurants and stores selling groceries. Fast food cafes or dhabas selling basic meals and delicacies have become popular among the tech crowd working long hours. Stores selling fresh flowers like the fragrant jasmine and dough for the Indian crepe ‘dosa’ provide comfort and ease to the lives of these busy individuals.Logo_forprint

The India Association of Western Washington (IAWW) provides a common identity to the Indian community and facilitates cultural, social and educational services, and opportunitiesfor cultural integration from young to old of the community; as well as to foster those activities that enhance mutual understanding and appreciation between the Indo-American community and mainstream American community. IAWW offers subsidized lunches to the seniors in the community once a month at the Redmond Senior Center. They also run a popular and eagerly anticipated five day summer camp “Camp Bharat” for children of Indian roots.

Dance With Us at Crossroads!

Northwest Folklife is excited to be back at Bellevue Crossroads for the second Cultural Dance Series! The series begins in February and runs through July every third Saturday of the month. Join us to learn some dance steps, enjoy some music and spend time with the community!

Crossroads Feb - Apr Poster

Folklife at Crossroads

Manimou Camara
February 15


February 15th – Folklife presents African Rhythm and Dance with Tribe-Olution featuring Manimou Camara

March 15th – The series continues with Experience Breakdancing and DJ’ing featuring the Unleashed Crew

April 19th – Learn some Cajun/Zydeco dance with the help of Swamp Soul

May 17th – Bring a partner for some Tango

Unleashed Crew
March 15

June 21st – Learn about the traditions of Scandinavian Dance

July 19th – We close out the series with Asian Dance

We’re looking forward to dancing with you at Crossroads!

2 Days Until our Winter Fireside Party!

Fireside Logo

We’re looking forward to seeing you this Saturday.

We’re counting down the days to our first annual Winter Fireside Party this Saturday, January 25th at the Vera Project. We’ll have a limited number of tickets available at the door so if you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, order your tickets now:

Still planning your day? Click here to view the schedule for the day!

You can also purchase tickets for the Northwest Fiddle Tour! Start off the day at the Vera Project and then head up to the Phinney Neighborhood Center to experience a whole day of fiddlers.  Between the two events, you will have the chance to hear a wide array of many of the best players of all different styles and backgrounds in the Northwest!  Save money and get a discounted combined ticket to both events.

Folklife Founders, Vivian & Phil Williams

Northwest Fiddle Showcase

Winter Fireside Party, Vera Project – Seattle Center Grounds, 4pm

One of the highlights of Northwest Folklife’s Winter Fireside Party will be a Northwest Fiddle Showcase, an excited and fast-paced show of both up-and-coming new fiddlers and some pillars of Northwest Fiddle traditions. The show will feature fiddlers of various different styles including Bluegrass, Mexican music of the Tierra Caliente, Cajun twin fiddling and more.  We’ll be featuring some of the hottest young fiddlers in the Seattle scene such as The Onlies, a band of teenage traditional music superstars, as well as some of the most celebrated and experienced tradition bearers, such as Vivian and Phil Williams, who have been documenting and performing Northwest fiddle music since the 1950s.  Paul Anastasio, Karen England and Jim Newberry, and Ben Hunter (of Renegade Stringband) will also perform to create this cross-generational fiddle extravaganza.  Please join us on January 25, 2014 at the Vera Project on the Seattle Center grounds for the Winter Fireside Party starting at 2pm with the Fiddle Showcase at 4pm.

Seattle Folklore Society’s Fiddler’s Showcase Concert

Catch Paul Anastasio on the Northwest Fiddle Tour!

Seattle Folklore Society, Phinney Neighborhood Center – 6532 Phinney Ave N, 7:30 pm

The Seattle Folklore Society presents an evening with some of the finest traditional fiddlers in the Pacific Northwest on January 25th at 7:30 at the Phinney Neighborhood Center. Featured Fiddlers are: Jeff Anderson – Norwegian American; Paul Anastasio – Tierra Caliente and Western Swing; Gary Lee Moore – Oklahoma/Texas; Jamie Fox – Metis/Northern Plains; Ramon Selby – Old Time Northwestern/Western Swing; Hank Bradley – Southern string band.  Hosted by Stuart Williams.

Get your tickets now for the Northwest Fiddle Tour:





You’re Invited to Folklife’s Winter Fireside Party!

Fireside Logo

Bring your instruments! We’ll be jamming around the fireplace.

Join us for our very first annual Winter Fireside Party; a benefit for Northwest Folklife

on January 25, 2014 at the VERA Project on Seattle Center grounds!

Enjoy a full day and evening of string bands, indie-roots, blues and gospel music, as well as the opportunity to hear from artists in a cozy and intimate setting.

Guests are invited to join us for a square dance featuring The Onlies and caller Gabe Strand; performances in the main venue featuring The Sojourners, Jason Dodson & Kevin Barrans of The Maldives, Ravenna Woods, and The Shivas.

The Northwest Fiddle Showcase highlights a varied line-up of some of the best fiddlers in the Northwest such as Phil & Vivian Williams, Ben Hunter (of Renegade Stringband), Karen England & Jim Newberry, The Onlies, and Paul Anastasio.

Special acoustic performances in the Vera Gallery include Baby Gramps, Vikesh Kapoor, Juliana & PAVA, Les Pamplemousses, and Orville Johnson.

And don’t miss our Fireside Tent: a cozy, outdoor heated and fire lit space for jams and conversation with musicians.nwf_winterfiresideparty14_poster_v1125

Come support Northwest Folklife and keep warm on a Seattle winter’s day!

Food and drink available in the venue. Doors at 1:30PM. Music and jammin’ until 11:00PM. Tickets $25

You can also purchase a Northwest Fiddle Tour Ticket. This ticket price includes admission to Seattle Folklore Society’s Fiddle Showcase AND Folklife’s Winter Fireside Party!

Get your tickets before they’re gone!

Join the Programming Team at Folklife!

Do you love music, arts, and culture?

Are you interested in learning what it takes to program the largest free community arts festival in the nation?


The Skablins; photo by Piper Hanson

The Skablins; photo by Piper Hanson

Folklife is now seeking a Programming Intern for the 2014 Folklife Festival (May 23-26, 2014)! The Programming Internship is central to the programming Northwest Folklife has to offer. This Intern plays a key role in ensuring smooth festival production from a programming standpoint.


Interning at Northwest Folklife can be the experience you need to gain a career in event planning, festival production, the music industry, nonprofit management, marketing, fundraising and a whole host of other fields. Interns at Northwest Folklife take on a significant role in executing the largest free community arts festival in the nation and learn how to increase visibility and strengthen the sustainability of a nonprofit organization.


This internship is from December through June — 20 hours a week.

Interested? Follow this link!

Mark your calendars for the release of Roots & Branches, Volume 5 on December 6th!

Roots & Branches, a series of recordings from Northwest Folklife, presents live performances mined from four decades of Festival performances.

The 2013 Roots & Branches disc features some of the dynamic musical traditions that make Folklife the premier community arts festival in the nation including: Badger Pocket, Renegade Stringband, Shelby Earl, Juliana and PAVA, Soul Senate, Les Pamplemousses, J. Wong, The Sumner Brothers, Vivian and Phil Williams, Eldridge Gravy & the Court Supreme, and The Sojourners!

Volume 5: Live from the 2013 Festival will be available on Northwest Folklife’s website, December 6, 2013, as well as during the 2014 Northwest Folklife Festival, Memorial Day Weekend, May 23-27.
Draft front cover design for "Roots & Branches, Vol. 5"—Septem
Stay tuned for highlighted tracks form the album and more on our website in the weeks to come.


Now Accepting Performer Applications

CallGraphic1Northwest Folklife invites musicians, dancers, community groups, artists, storytellers, and instructors to participate in the 43rd annual Northwest Folklife Festival, which will take place May 23-26, 2014, at Seattle Center.

If you or your group is based in the Northwest region, including Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Western Montana, this is a great opportunity to share your music and traditions!

The annual Northwest Folklife Festival is the largest FREE community arts festival in the United States. It is presented each year in Seattle by Northwest Folklife, a year-round 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 6,000 performers in 65 different genres of music, from Hawaiian to hip-hop. We presented dance performances representing cultures from Ireland to India. We believe 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.


Interested in how we select bands and performance groups? Click here to read our Programming FAQ.

Still have questions? Email our programming team now.

Are You a Washington State Employee?

State EmployeesDid you know there is a special opportunity for Washington State employees interested in supporting Northwest Folklife?

The Washington State Combined Fund Drive empowers Washington public employees and retirees to strengthen communities through the funding and support of charities with automatic monthly donations.

It’s simple! It’s easy! Set it up and you don’t have to remember to renew!

Find out how you can enroll now. 


Folklife at Kirkland Summerfest on Sunday, August 11

The Bucharest Drinking Team at the Northwest Folklife Festival. Photo by Piper Hanson.

Northwest Folklife is thrilled to announce we’ve been invited to program a full day of free music and dance at Kirkland Summerfest! The lineup features groups from your favorite Folklife communities, including Cajun/Zydeco, Indian, Hip Hop, Latino, Old Time, and Balkan, on stage on Sunday, August 11.

Folklife Stage Schedule:

11:00 – 11:50 AM: Cultural Focus Representation: Indian Dance Performance with surprise guests!
Each year, the Northwest Folklife Festival has a Cultural Focus, or theme, which allows us to program a “festival within a festival” with expanded opportunities to get to know a community of the Northwest. For 2014, the Cultural Focus is India! Get a head start on familiarizing yourself with the art and dances of Southeast Asia with this great opening showcase.

12:10 – 1:00 PM: Br’er Rabbit
Br’er Rabbit is an indie roots band based in Bellingham, WA. Combining each member’s unique influences ranging from Leadbelly to The Lumineers, blending three distinct vocal styles, and adding copious amounts of foot-stomping, they demonstrate a sound and presence that’s at once original and familiar, appealing to audiences of all generations and genres.

1:20 – 2:10 PM: Los Flacos
Los Flacos performs a blend of the spiciest traditional sounds of Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean. Using a variety of instruments, some indigenous to the Americas and others of European and African origin, they create their own renditions of the songs of Latin America.

2:30 – 3:20 PM: Hip Hop demonstration with 206 Zulu
206Zulu is a Seattle-based group that empowers local communities through creativity and the arts. Their work to organize the Northwest hip hop community has inspired a generation  to get involved in social action, civic service, cultural creativity, and self-education. This showcase lineup features Sista Hailstorm, DJ Zeta Barber and Suntonio Bandanaz.

3:40 – 4:30 PM: Bucharest Drinking Team
Borrowing stylistically from great Balkan brass bands like Fanfare Ciocarlia and Boban Markovic, the Bucharest Drinking Team mixes in a liberal shot of Romanian folk music and a penchant for 80s disco from behind the Iron Curtain to bring you a high-proof Eastern Bloc Party, complete with dancing and music!

4:50 – 6:00 PM: Cajun/Zydeco Dance with  MaryLee Lykes + Zydeco Rex
MaryLee Lykes began teaching dance in Seattle17 years ago….and hasn’t stopped since! She teaches extensively on a local, national, and international level.
Zydeco is a musical genre evolved in southwest Louisiana by French Creole speakers which blends Cajun music, blues and rhythm and blues. Zydeco Rex is one of the region’s newest zydeco bands keeping the tradition going strong!


About Kirkland Summerfest

Kirkland’s largest festival of music, art, food, and culture – a weekend festival transforming downtown Kirkland and Marina Park into a lively arts destination with Music (featuring more than 50 performances), Dancing, Street Performances, Family Entertainment, Amazing Art, and an incredible selection of food.

Kirkland Summerfest at a glance: Friday, August 9

  • Summerfest kicks off 2013 bigger than ever with an opening night special theatrical presentation of The Tempest in the ever-popular Shakespeare in the Park at 7pm at Marina Park. Admission is free.

Saturday, August 10

  • Live music, artists in action, food trucks, robotics demonstrations, TechZone, Moss Bay Cardboard Boat Regatta, bouncy toys, Touch-A-Truck, Young Artists Exhibition, beer and wine gardens. Festival opens at 11am. Admission is free.

Sunday, August 11

  • Live music, Northwest Folklife performers, Artists in Action, Rotary Duck Dash, Bot Battles, TechZone, bouncy toys, Touch-A-Truck, Young Artists Exhibition, beer and wine gardens. Festival opens at 11am. Admission is free.

Kirkland Summerfest is a Seafair Sanctioned Community Event and is presented by the Kirkland Events Foundation. More information at  


Festival Hours

Friday, August 9 - 4pm – 10 pm featuring Shakespeare in the Park (7 pm)

Saturday, August 10 – 11am – 11pm

Sunday, August 11 – 11am-6pm