If you have interest in supporting Northwest Folklife this Fall, consider hosting or participating in a Night for Folklife! Last year, Nights for Folklife raised nearly $12,000 to support the Festival you love. Continue reading
Tell us what you think! You are invited to participate in Folklife’s 2013 Audience Survey.
Help us make 2014 the Best Festival Ever! Plus, you can choose to be entered into a raffle for a prize pack that includes two tickets to Folklife’s Night at Safeco Field on August 6 and 2013 Festival merchandise of your choice.
Click here to take the survey now: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/88PHVTJ
The 2013 Festival just ended, but we can’t blame you for asking:
When can groups submit applications for 2014 Folklife?
The 2014 application to perform will go live on September 15 at our website. I’d suggest subscribing to our eNews or “liking” us on Facebook to be sure you get the announcement! Thanks to everyone who is interested in participating!
The 42nd annual Northwest Folklife Festival came to a close on the evening of May 27th, wrapping up four days of music, dance, food, history, art, and celebration. But the Folklife spirit doesn’t end with the Festival—we are already at work preparing more opportunities for the public to share in the region’s traditions.
The Northwest Folklife 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 230,000 people to Seattle Center over four days. The crowds enjoyed surprisingly fair weather for most of the event, and spirits were high despite periods of rain on the final day.
But, as the lead singer from The Sojourners noted, “Rain crowds are the best audience, because you know they really want to be here!”
Festival highlights included a fascinating and moving discussion with Washington State “Rosies,” women who went to work in the shipyards during WWII. The talk was part of the Cultural Focus “Washington Works.” Energetic crowds were in full force for a Saturday night performance by soul band Eldridge Gravy, as well as Monday evening’s performance by reggae legend Clinton Fearon and his Boogie Brown Band. Rain was even embraced during the stirring set by pedal-steel band The Slide Brothers on Monday afternoon. And the Exhibition Hall was standing-room-only during Friday night’s Bollywood Showcase, a good sign that next year’s Cultural Focus on India will be hugely popular and engaging.
The festival is presented by Northwest Folklife, a year-round organization with nine staff members. In addition to the annual Festival, we also produce other events throughout the year. Indeed, a monthly community dance series at the Crossroads Mall in Bellevue kicked off just a week before the big Festival, and will continue every third Saturday through October. June’s event is a family dance, and July offers a taste of folk dances from around the world.
The Cultural Focus of “Washington Works” will not end with the Festival. Deputy Director Debbie Fant, a folklorist, will continue to collect oral histories from union workers across Washington State as part of an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, eventually producing several short documentaries with filmmaker Doug Plummer that will be archived at the Library of Congress and the Washington State Labor Archives.
Folklife is also hosting a community-building night at Safeco Field on August 6, when the Mariners face off against the Toronto Blue Jays. As an organization that represents the greater Northwest region, we hope that Festival friends will come down from Alberta and British Columbia for a reunion of sorts.
In the fall, Folklife will host an autumn harvest celebration at Town Hall. More details about this event on November 1st will be announced our website, www.nwfolklife.org.
Says Executive Director Rob Townsend, “The board and staff of Northwest Folklife thank all of our many supporters, the thousands of performers who volunteer their talents, and the hundreds volunteers who came out to the Festival this past weekend and shared in the arts and heritage of our region. Our mission—to share the talents and traditions of the Pacific Northwest—is what drives us to create even more opportunities to build community throughout the year.”
Please enjoy photos from the 42nd Northwest Folklife Festival at our Facebook page, where we’ll also post updates about all things Folklife.
Northwest Folklife opens the final day of the 2013 Festival with a special Memorial Day Ceremony on the Mural Stage. Please join us! Then continue to celebrate our Northwest traditions—and honor our history!
See full schedule at our website.
– Memorial Day Flag Ceremony: Celebrating Memorial Day, the Flag Raising Ceremony will include words from Northwest Folklife, the Seattle Police Department Color Guard, the West Seattle Cub Scout Pack 828, and music from Calum McKinnon &the Northwest Scottish Fiddlers, with bagpiper Jori Chisholm.
Monday, May 27 at 11:00am at the Xfinity Mural Amphitheatre.
– Kindiependent: Get ready to rock your onesie socks off! This wildly popular show is supposedly for youngsters, but don’t be surprised to see some in-the-know hipsters there too. Featuring the musical stylings of Harmonica Pocket, The Not-Its!, Recess Monkey, Johnny Bregar and the Country Dawgs, and (new this year!) Cat Doorman. Sponsored by ParentMap.
Monday, May 27 from 11:00am-2:30pm on the Fountain Lawn Stage.
– American Standard Time Showcase: Some of the best names in roots music (and a little bit of gospel!) will hit the stage during this Indie Roots showcase, brought to you by BECU, and hosted by KEXP’s Roadhouse radio presenter Greg Vandy. The lineup includes The Sojourners, The Sumner Brothers, Crow Quill Night Owls and The Slide Brothers. Sponsored by alt-country authority No Depression.
Monday, May 27 from 3:30-6:10pm on the KBCS Fisher Green Stage.
– IWW Little Red Songbook: Enflaming the Fans of Discontent: This year’s Festival “theme” is all about work! Help us wind up the weekend with a soul-stirring sing-a-long from the Industrial Workers of the World’s Little Red Songbook. See the full schedule of Washington Works talks, demonstrations, storytelling, art exhibits, film screenings and more at our website, nwfolklife.org/festival.
Monday, May 27 from 5:00-6:00pm at the Narrative Stage at SIFF Cinema.
– Ver(A)rt Gallery Closing Reception: Toast the young artists who contributed to this weekend’s gallery show “When Your Work Speaks for Itself, Don’t Interrupt: Perspectives on Working.”
Monday, May 27 from 6:00-8:00pm at the Ver(A)rt Gallery.
Screenprinting is free, but they are asking for a small donation to help cover their costs.
The VERA Project is located in the Alki Court, near the SIFF Cinema.
See you there! And thanks VERA!
The Northwest Folklife Festival is a celebration of how we keep our traditions alive in our region. Check out these amazing artists–these are your friends and neighbors up on those stages!
Here are some great things to see today:
– Country Swing Dance: We dare you to not join in after feeling the energy of this swingin’ cowboy soiree, back by popular demand after a long hiatus from the Folklife roster of dances.
Sunday, May 26 from 1:00-3:00pm in Warren’s Roadhouse.
– Rockabilly Round-Up: We’re bringing back the rockabilly and vintage country styles of the 50s to sweeten your Sunday afternoon. Join The Roy Kay Trio, The Black Crabs and The Honky Tonk Sweethearts for the Rockabilly Round-Up. Don’t forget your bowling shirt and dancin’ creepers!
Sunday, May 26 from 1:00–3:00pm on the Fountain Lawn Stage.
– Puget Sound Rosies: Riveting History: This year’s Festival “theme” is all about work! Join us for a fascinating panel discussion with some of the women who went to work in Washington shipyards during WWII. See the full schedule of Washington Works talks, demonstrations, storytelling, art exhibits, film screenings and more at our website, nwfolklife.org/festival.
Sunday, May 26 at 2:00pm in the Olympic Room.
– Gaelic Crankie Show: Artist and musician Su Truman revives and reinterprets a beloved Appalachian tradition. Half movie, half handmade folk art, crankies are animated drawings and papercuts on cloth “reels,” hand-cranked for movement, and presented with traditional Gaelic music accompaniment. Sounds amazing, right?
Sunday, May 26 from 3:00-4:00pm, Center House Theatre.
– 206Zulu Jam featuring Junior Breakdance Competition and Hip-Hop Showcase: See youth from local b-boy/b-girl classes showcase their dancing in a one-on-one competition. Featuring danceable music for everyone by DJ Cues & DJ Zeta Barber, with special guest performance by artist Fleeta Partee. All b-boys & b-girls are invited to come support the next generation of dancers & participate in open circles!
Sunday, May 26 from 3:00-6:00pm at The VERA Project.
– Giddy Up! Country Roots: *New!* Bring your spurs and whiskey to the Indie Roots Giddy Up showcase featuring the best of local country: Country Lips, Ganges River Band, Annie Ford Band and Ole Tinder. Yee-haw! Sponsored by BECU.
Sunday, May 26 from 6:30-9:00pm on the Fountain Lawn Stage.
– Vamos!: A Latin Dance Party: *New!* Save some energy on Sunday to join the rhythms of The Cumbieros, Cambalache, and SuperSones. That’s not enough? Parade in with VamoLá! Brazilian Drum & Dance Ensemble!
Sunday, May 26 from 6:45-10:00pm at the Xfinity Mural Amphitheater.
– You Can’t Fake Fresh—Northwest Live-Band Hip Hop: *New!* The name says it all! Featuring Global Heat, The Sharp Five, Eastern Sunz and Irukandji Physics of Fusion.
Sunday, May 26 from 7:00-10:00pm in the EMP Sky Church.
This year Folklife performers with recordings will be selling CDs at their stages, during and after their performances. Look for the round umbrellas next to outdoor stages or tables at indoor venues. You can also find a link to buy recordings (if available) from their listing on our online schedule tool.
This year we are not offering a Folklife Store with performer recordings. Though the Folklife Store was appreciated by many, unfortunately it was just not financially viable for us. The sales from the CDs did not come close to breaking even with the expense of administering the store. As we faced a tighter budget this year, we decided our money was best used to sustain the number of stages and other amenities we offered at the Festival.
We want to do everything we can to support the hundreds of musicians who donate their performances to make this Festival great. We hope that you’ll help us in this by purchasing CDs at the stages or online after the Festival.
– English Country Dance: Downton Abbey comes to Folklife! Channel your favorite Jane Austin character…no corsets required!
Saturday, May 25 from 1:00-2:00pm in Warren’s Roadhouse.
– Hey, Hendrix—Jimi Hendrix Tribute: Local musicians pay homage to one of the Northwest’s favorite sons. Jimi Hendrix took the blues to a place it had never been before, but the roots of that music were always an important element. This showcase honors the music of Hendrix as well as the important musicians that came before him. Presented in partnership with the EMP, whose “I Hear My Train A-Coming” exhibit is currently on display. Sponsored by the Washington Blues Society.
Saturday, May 25 from 1:00-4:00pm in the EMP Sky Church.
– World Dance Party: This popular community event has taken place all over Seattle, and it is a natural addition to Folklife—after all, the World Dance Party embodies all of what makes Folklife great: people of all ages, young and old, from all ethnicities, coming together to dance and feel good! Be a part of the movement.
Saturday, May 25 from 1:00-3:00pm in the Armory.
– Team Up for Non-Profits Showcase: *New!* We are delighted to welcome aboard Team Up for their first year as co-presenters of Indie Roots artists. In partnership with Artist Home (producers of the Doe Bay fest) and with sponsorship by BECU, Team Up has curated a showcase of the best up-and-coming indie bands of the Northwest. Don’t know them yet? You will. Featuring Shelby Earl, Song Sparrow Research, Bradford Loomis and St. Paul de Vence.
Saturday, May 25 from 1:00-4:00pm on the Fountain Lawn Stage.
– Bushwick Book Club Seattle Presents Original Music Inspired by the Wizard of Oz: If you haven’t experienced the latest trend in musical folk art, check out this showcase to enjoy the pages of L. Frank Baum’s novel brought to life with glorious original music. But don’t expect Judy Garland impersonations—we said original music!
Saturday, May 25 from 1:30-3:00pm in the Folklife Café.
– Sleeping in Seattle: A Bed Making Contest: This year’s Festival “theme” is all about work! Think you know bed making? Let the housekeeping union show you how it’s done. See the full schedule of Washington Works talks, demonstrations, storytelling, art exhibits, film screenings and more at our website, nwfolklife.org/festival.
Saturday, May 25 at 2:00pm in the Olympic Room.
– The Arab Show: This tour of the Middle East with eclectic music and dance. Groups Fathia and Les Troubadour play French Arabic music, and House of Tarab revive the vintage classics of Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. Duo Maurice Rouman plays the oud with Waseem Sbait on darbuka. And experience the traditional Arab dabke folk dance, presented here with Lebanese and Palestinian variations.
Saturday, May 25 from 3:00-6:00 at the International Dance Stage in the Ex Hall.
– Balkan Misfits Show: Sometimes it’s the old favorites that keep ‘em coming back! If you’ve never checked out this beloved showcase, make this the year. Experience the bad boys of Balkan brass, including Erev Rav, Bucharest Drinking Team, Orkestar Zirkonium and Chervona.
Saturday, May 25 from 6:00-9:00pm on the Fountain Lawn Stage.
– The Soul of Seattle: Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme (recently seen rocking Bumbershoot stages), join Soul Senate, Kissing Potion, The Braxmatics and Little Big Band for this popular dance party that both closes out and brings to a climax Saturday’s programming. Sponsored by Seattle Pipeline.
Saturday, May 25 from 7:00-10:00pm at the Xfinity Mural Amphitheatre.
(Thanks to Elinor Vandegrift for this guest post! Read about all our dance performances and opportunities at the Festival website, www.nwfolklife.org/festival.)
Here’s some information festivalgoers might enjoy about this year’s Scottish Country Dance.
We are part of the Seattle Branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. I am one of several teachers in the Branch.
The RSCDS is a worldwide society headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Society is in it’s 90th year. The Seattle branch is one of several hundred Branches around the world. They aim to preserve the dance and music traditions of Scotland.
Scottish Country Dancing is the ballroom dancing of Scotland and as such has been practiced by all levels of society from the Laird to his servants! Queen Elizabeth II is the Patron of the Society. She has always enjoyed dancing. In their summers at Balmoral Castle the Royal family and staff enjoy an annual Ghillies Ball.
Seattle is one of many Branches throughout North America and runs classes in the greater Seattle area. Our website has full information about classes and activities!
In this time of amazing road construction (and sadly, destruction), please help us to help people find their way to Northwest Folklife this weekend. The Festival is offering several creative means of alternative transportation, and alternative road routes will help festival-goers to avoid road snarl-ups.
The Mercer West Corridor Project is underway, and drivers will find road changes in the Seattle Center vicinity. While these do not affect access to Seattle Center from I-5, lane and exit closures do impact on routes that lead away from the Center – and to the Center from SR-99. Eastbound Mercer St. from 4th Ave N. to Dexter Ave. is reduced to the two south lanes, and the north sidewalk is closed. The SR-99 northbound exit at Mercer St. and the southbound exit at Broad St. are closed permanently. Eastbound Broad St. has re-opened to provide visitors leaving the Center a quick connection to I-5.
Seattle Center and Northwest Folklife have worked together to make sure festival-goers have many transportation options:
Parking at Seattle Center: Seattle Center provides three parking garages, at 5th Ave. N., between Harrison and Republican, at 1st Ave. N. between John and Thomas streets, and in the Mercer Garage, between 3rd and 4th avenues. In addition, there are several paid lots within a three block radius of Seattle Center.
Disabled parking: All lots around Seattle Center have designated disabled parking spots. Visitors should check with a parking attendant if all the available spaces are full. There are also designated spots on 2nd Ave. N. just south of Thomas St. and on Warren Ave. just south of Mercer St.
New! Ride Sharing Options: This year Northwest Folklife is partnering with RideAmigos to bring festival-goers an easy tool for posting and finding carpooling options. Save money, save gas, and make friends, all while reducing congestion on the road to Folklife. The festival also has a special deal with car2go. Read all about it here!
King Country Metro Folklife Shuttle: Festival-goers may save time, save money, and have a more enjoyable ride to and from this year’s Northwest Folklife Festival when they ride the King County Metro Folklife Shuttle from Northgate! Click here to read more.
Seattle Center Monorail: The Seattle Monorail goes directly to Seattle Center from Downtown. The Monorail 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. In 2012, the Monorail trains carried 50,000 passengers to and from the festival.
Arrival by bike: There is a large bike corral located at the Harrison St. entrance hosted by Bike Works! Riders may also stop by their booth to learn more about community bike programs, get a quick tune-up or donate your old bicycles, miscellaneous parts, and accessories/gear! The Seattle Department of Transportation’s Bicycling Guide Map includes bike routes to Seattle Center. Visitors may also use a Google Interactive Directions Map to plan a custom route by bike.
Festival Hours: Festival programming begins at 11 a.m. and concludes at 10 p.m. from Friday until Sunday. The Festival runs from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Monday. Food vendor hours may vary.
Kick off the 2013 Festival right with these great showcases! Of course, there’s a lot more to see. Tell us what you’re most excited about on our Facebook page! See our full Friday schedule at www.nwfolklife.org/festival.
– High School Swing Dance: This impressive lineup of young musicians includes the award-winning Garfield High School Jazz Band and the Eckstein Middle School Sr. Jazz Band.
Friday, May 24th from 3:45-6:00pm on the Armory Stage.
– Fin Records Showcase: *New!* Folklife is thrilled to have Ballard’s Fin Records on board to host Indie Roots artists this year. The lineup of exciting local roots acts includes The Lures, Davidson Hart Kingsberry, Low Hums and Red Jacket Mine. Sponsored by BECU.
Friday, May 24th from 6:00-9:00pm on the Fountain Lawn Stage.
– Groove Train: *New!* Kick off the first night of the festival dancing under the stars with Luc and the Lovingtons, Unite One, Wet City Rockers, Gravity Kings and the Jefferson Rose Band. These groups are sure to move your body and soul.
Friday, May 24 from 7:00-10:00pm at the Xfinity Mural Amphitheater.
– Friday Night Gospel Celebration: Be thankful for this great local gospel music, featuring Pastor Pat Wright and the Total Experience Gospel Choir and the Mt. Calvary COGIC Praise Team.
Friday, May 24th from 7:00-9:00pm in the Bagley Wright Theatre.
– Bollywood Show: We are bringing back one of the most popular shows of the 2012 Festival! Get ready to feel the rhythms of India. Sponsored by NW Asian Weekly.
Friday, May 24th from 7:00-8:30pm at the International Dance Stage at the Ex Hall.
– Cajun Roadhouse: Experience a little bit of the South in the great Northwest! The evening kicks off with Louisiana Dance Lessons, so why not get out on the floor?
Friday, May 24th from 8:00-10:00pm in Warren’s Roadhouse.