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

 

The PNW Craft Beer Festival

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

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

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

Check out the list of brews here.

Sponsored by KEXP and The Stranger

 

Indigenous Voices at the 2017 Northwest Folklife Festival

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Northwest Folklife Mythbusters #7

 

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 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 is only possible now and can only remain possible in the future if our VERY modest costs are supported by our community. Either we want our festival to continue or we don’t.

Over the past 11 years, revenue has remained stagnant but costs have risen. During that time, Northwest Folklife has prioritized the resources for programming and cut every else. No programmatic costs have been drastically cut over the past eleven years. There are no more cuts and indeed, too much has been cut already.

Our 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.

As you know, while no ticket need be purchased 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 daily donation of $10 per person per day or $20 per family at the entrances.  Last year, we estimate that only 17% of the people attending the festival made any 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 also know and we celebrate that there is no economic barrier and that making a donation can be very tough for some.  We are so glad you are all here and 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.

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)

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!

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

Northwest Folklife Mythbusters #3

We sing, dance, play music, tell stories, teach our children, remember our ancestors, and share our meals all year long. Folk live life every day and Northwest Folklife creates opportunities for all of us all year long to celebrate, share, to be included and participate in the arts and culture of the Pacific Northwest.

Northwest Folklife has programming all year long – the Seattle Children’s Festival in October, the Cultural Arts Series and Folklife Presents. We work all year to support many of the 23 regional community organizations who compose the Seattle Center Festal Cultural Festivals. We work all year with over 100 Folklife Community Coordinators representing the unique needs of each community, their artists and culture bearers, and their audiences. And all year long, we celebrate with different communities with Nights for Folklife events.  And of course, the annual Memorial Day Festival.

Join us, join each other – every day.

This is Folklife Spotlight: Steve Sneed

Today we introduce you to the Managing Artistic Director of Cultural Programs at Seattle Center Productions, Steve Sneed.

Steve oversees Seattle Center Festál, a series of 24 cultural festivals throughout the year on campus.  In its 20th anniversary this year, he has developed a unique perspective on the cultural climate of the Center.

What role do you see Festál playing in the greater community? Why do you think Festal has endured for so long?

Festál as a convener of the ethnic organizations celebrating culture at Seattle Center, is a connector. We help the organizations get better at presenting festivals and we support that effort.

How does Festál nurture the role of ‘culture bearer’? 

I think the best way we do that is by putting these “culture bearers” in the same room together monthly and provide a venue for them to share with each other.

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

Over the years Northwest Folklife has proven a place where cultural groups can get a foot in the door at Seattle Center. They see the possibilities for a cultural festival by working in and with Folklife. Then, they want to continue so they come over to see me and in some cases join Festál.

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

I’d like to see the development of more ethnic folk music and arts at Folklife with the understanding that Folk music is not one kind of music. All cultures have folk traditions and Folklife has such a great platform to spread that news.

Please share a memory connected to Northwest Folklife that was meaningful to you?  

It’s actually working on the committee with the Traditional Roots of Hip Hop 2015 Cultural Focus. I learned a lot about the organization and just what the Cultural Focus is. I met more staff people and got to know them. That was a great experience.

Please finish this sentence: ‘folklife is…

…a major part of Seattle culture and character.