Community Coordinators are an integral part of the Northwest Folklife’s mission and vision to celebrate, share, and participate in the evolving traditions of the Pacific Northwest. Their talent, time and expertise as a Community Coordinator create opportunities for folks of the Pacific Northwest to participate in arts experiences and learn about the living traditions that occur daily in our big neighborhood.
Today, we introduce you to performer, writer and teacher Wes Weddell. Whether it’s supporting folk duo Reilly & Maloney, collaborating with The Bushwick Book Club – Seattle, or gathering together the vast community of Singer Songwriters of the Northwest – you can find Wes leading the Emerald City Songwriters Circles at the Northwest Folklife Festival since 2009.
What cultural traditions do you or your group share with the greater community?
The craft (and performance) of songwriting and original music
What does it mean to you and to your community to be connected to Northwest Folklife and how long have you been involved? What impact has the organization made on your community?
Singer/Songwriters have been part of Northwest Folklife from the very beginning, and we’re glad to remain a part of festival programming. I have been Community Coordinator since the 2009 festival. As we’ve developed the Emerald City Songwriter Circles at the festival, unamplified gatherings where anyone can come share an original song, it’s been fun to watch the culture of listening grow alongside the well-established Folklife culture of jamming.
How do you interact with Northwest Folklife outside of the Northwest Folklife Festival?
A lot of year-round preparation goes into planning the circles, recruiting new hosts, and growing/fostering appreciation for original music.
Please share a performance memory connected to Northwest Folklife that had an impact on you?
We’ve had many lovely moments in the Emerald City Songwriter Circles over the years. From young children sharing their own original songs to off-the-wall, laugh-out-loud masterpieces from newcomers and established pros alike. This past festival one songwriter shared how much the circles had meant to him during his recovery from serious health challenges – hard to find a more touching endorsement than that.
How can Northwest Folklife and its fans connect with you through social media?
Google your favorite local singer/songwriter and follow him/her!
What specific community in the Northwest do you hail from, how about your group? (If you are from Seattle, please give us the specific neighborhood – ex. Queen Anne or Ballard or West Seattle, etc.)
I live in NE Seattle. Our revolving-door cast of hosts hail from all over town and the region.
Please share the Northwest Folklife events you have contributed programming for?
I was part of programming-proper back in 2004…but wearing the Community Coordinator hat: Emerald City Songwriter Circles, 2009-present.
Connect with Wes here.