Folklife 2014 - Sunday

Street Performing

Northwest Folklife welcomes performances by Street Performers! We recognize that those performances have a long history with the Festival, add to the overall festival atmosphere, and we (and our audiences) appreciate them.

Street Performer Registration

As we did in last year, we are asking our Street Performers to voluntarily register at Festival Services. There you will be asked to provide your name, city, state, and email address; and in return, you will receive a donation envelope, hospitality button, and a sign to display while you perform to advise the public that you are supporting Folklife and that a portion of your proceeds will go back to the Festival. We will be operating on the honor system, and the size of your donation is up to you. We recommend 20% of your proceeds be donated back to Folklife, the same amount agreed to by all Festival vendors.

Our organization is a small nonprofit that relies heavily on donations from Festival-goers to keep this event going each year. When you donate a portion of your proceeds to Northwest Folklife, you acknowledge the opportunity you have to perform at the Festival as well as all of the work done by the staff of Northwest Folklife to ensure a successful Festival for all. You will be helping us keep the Festival alive by participating with us in the economic health of the organization.

This process is entirely voluntary. If you are unable or uninterested in registering, you are still welcome to perform on site in accordance with these guidelines but you will not receive a participant button, or access to our hospitality area.

We want this program to evolve with you! If you are interested in becoming a part of the planning process for the 2016 Festival, please email

Your Responsibilities as a Street Performer

Choosing a Location

You may choose a location each morning. Locations cannot be saved from one day to the next (first-come, first-served). Your activities may not interfere with any scheduled performance or programmed activity. You may be asked to move to another location at any time at the discretion of a Street Performer Coordinator. You are not guaranteed the same spot all day.

For the safety and enjoyment of all who attend, the following areas are off limits for street performing:

  • Covered walkways
  • Within 30 feet of a captive audience (including all vendors & lines)
  • Washrooms or entrances and exits of washrooms
  • Entrances and exits from any facility, door, loading dock, elevator or stairway
  • Inside of any building
  • The Fisher Green programmed area (the entire block). This space is designated as a jamming space.
  • In the breezeway between the Alki Room and the Vera Project
  • On the South and West sides of the Alki Room
  • Handicap access to any location
  • Please note: Street Performer Coordinators have the authority to relocate Performers at their discretion

Performer Rotation

You must be prepared to rotate your space. If other groups wish to play in the same space, all groups must agree to share. Each group is allowed to play for up to 45 minutes, with a 30-minute break between sets. The rotation schedule is on the honor system, but a Street Performer Coordinator will intervene if necessary.

Crowd Control

You are responsible for your own crowd control. Your audience cannot block traffic flow. You may in no way cause public inconvenience or jeopardize safety. If you are performing near a walkway and gather a large crowd, you will be asked to stop and relocate.


You may not erect any structure, rack, display case or sign that cannot be contained in a conventional musical instrument case.

CD Sales

If you want to sell your CDs, you must have a City of Seattle Business License or you can purchase a temporary City of Seattle Business License for the weekend for $20. This temporary permit is valid for all four days of the festival. In order to help sustain our festival, we ask you to consider offering 20% of your total sales to Northwest Folklife.


There is no storage for street performers’ equipment on the Seattle Center grounds. All equipment must be removed from the grounds each night.

Sound Control

Loud Instruments

Locations for loud instruments (e.g.: percussion, brass instruments or bagpipes) are extremely limited. Three suggestions are:

  • On the Thomas Street walkway across from the Space Needle entrance
  • The base of the West Key Arena steps (if the Arena is not in use)
  • On Thomas, just East of the Space Needle loading dock.

Sound Levels

The Street Performer Coordinators are equipped with decibel meters. Street performers are asked to monitor their sound levels to make sure they are not interfering with activities or other performers, including scheduled performances. Street performers must not exceed a decibel meter reading of 85 decibels, with the meter held 10 feet from the performer. All drum kits must be muffled.


No amplification is allowed.  This includes, but is not limited to, voice/instrument amplifiers, boom boxes, pre-recorded music, and microphones.


Unauthorized Activities

  • Fire is not allowed on Northwest Folklife grounds. This includes, but is not limited to: ground fires, juggling and fire dancing.
  • Juggling knives, swords, sharp sticks or other objects deemed dangerous is strictly prohibited. All dangerous activity will be stopped. Failure to comply will result in a call to the Seattle Police Department and removal from the grounds.
  • Attaching any equipment, fliers or other material to trees, shrubs or other greenery is strictly prohibited.

We look forward to seeing you at the Festival!