Your Question Answered: Selling Items at the Festival

This one came in from a local jewelry maker:

I know you let people perform music on the streets during the Festival, but do you let people wander and sell crafts too?

The answer is no. If you want to be a vendor of food or crafts, please apply in the winter and go through the formal process. Otherwise the Festival is not the place for casual craft selling.

Do you have a question for Northwest Folklife? Submit it here!
Read other submitted questions here

What to See at Folklife #463: The Balkan Misfits Party

(Big thanks to Marchette Dubois for this guest post! You can see our full lineup of bands at the Festival website, 

Bucharest Drinking Team. Credit: Diane Smithers

At 2009’s Folklife Festival, in a jam-packed VERA Project, hundreds of sweaty, ebullient people linked hands and line-danced at the first Balkan Misfits Showcase.   Though it was called the Balkan Bridge in those days, it was showcasing the same community.  Five years on, our misfit contingent is doing well and we have held out our hands to new friends and met many new and lovely people.   My name is Marchette and I am the volunteer coordinator for the Balkan Misfits showcase – I am also the Artistic Director of one of the misfit bands – The Bucharest Drinking Team.

This year’s Showcase will highlight four amazing and genre-stretching bands: Olympia’s Erev Rav will open the show with their fantastic fusion of traditional Klezmer and funk  – Daniel Landin, the leader and manager of the band described their music as “World Klezmer Fusion.” And goes on to explain:   “We take gorgeous Eastern European Jewish folk songs, and lay them atop funk rhythms. …Or we might have a traditional bulgar rhythm with a tune, but then we add a bebop solo on clarinet. And our arrangements are influenced by Led Zeppelin.”   Check out their brand new video:  The Funk Tash”.

The second band will be your host band, Seattle’s Bucharest Drinking Team – Our music rises form the wells and stills of the Romanian taraf, Balkan Brass bands, Europop, and a variety of other Balkan and Eastern European party music.  We also put our own spin on everything we do.  Hear for yourself our reggae take on the classic tune Opa Cupa.

Erev Rav. Credit: New Spin Media

If that’s not enough brass, stick around for Seattle’s favorite Balkan-inspired Brass party:  Orkestar Zirkonium, whose sensibility for creating music is securely planted in the world of FUN.  Their representative Kevin Hinshaw describes their process this way: “…Balkan Brass [is] our core, for sure.  But if somebody in the band loves a Latin tune or a Bollywood soundtrack, that’s fair game too as long as we like playing it.” He continues: “Sometimes we do straight transcriptions.  But some arrangers get inspired and will try to be more creative.  (Like Whitney squishing Ederlezi from 4/4 into 7/8, or Jerry’s raucous-down-to-tiny rendition of Zaspo Janko.)”. I hope we get to hear some of these inspired arrangements!  You can also look forward to seeing OZ opening for Romania’s Fanfare Ciocarlia July 24 at the Triple Door!!!  Get tickets here.

Closing out this year’s show is Portland’s Russian powerhouseChervona Their bandleader André Temkin describes their music: “…you can find elements of gypsy punk, klezmer, balkan brass, slavic polka and more. There are many bands in Europe playing similar music, but what makes Chervona different from all the bands in this genre? I think the biggest difference is our unique personality and artistic approach in creating and playing music…”  He talks about their high energy and audience participation, and I think you will not be disappointed with how they will keep your feet moving.


We Invite you all to the party on the Fountain Lawn Stage Saturday night.  Where we will bring you Balkan and Eastern European inspired music interpreted with our own 21st century voices.

Love these bands? Support them by buying their music!

Erev Rav:

Bucharest Drinking Team:

Orkestar Zirkonium:


Orkestar Zirkonium

Cinema Folk–Music Movies at SIFF This Weekend

Why not plan your Folklife weekend to coincide with a SIFF screening? These are all conveniently playing at the SIFF Cinema Uptown! Take a load off and catch a movie between Folklife shows.


Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You – A Concert for Kate McGarrigle

This simply and intimately shot concert film captures the emotions of sibling performers Martha and Rufus Wainwright as they pay tribute to their recently departed mother, beloved Canadian folk musician Kate McGarrigle.

May 27 | 6:00PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown


Spark: A Burning Man Story

Directors Jesse Deeter and Steve Brown scheduled to attend | May 25 & May 27

Burning Man attracts 60,000 participants to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert every August. Go behind the curtain as participants and organizers struggle to balance their guiding principles with the event’s ever-growing popularity in this entertaining exposé.

May 25 | 9:00PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown

May 27 | 2:00PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown


Producer Fides Enriquez and subject Florante Aguilar scheduled to attend | May 25 & May 26

U.S.-based classical guitarist Florante Aguilar journeys back to his Filipino roots to search for the lost voices of harana, a traditional Filipino form of serenade. He gathers the three remaining master haranistas, bringing this fading culture back to life.

May 25 | 3:00PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown

May 26 | 11:30AM | SIFF Cinema Uptown



Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

An extraordinary portrait of legendary Memphis-based band Big Star with never-before-seen footage, rousing musical tributes, and in-depth interviews with members of the band and the musicians they’ve inspired.

May 26 | 8:30PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown

Dirty Wars

Producer Jeremy Scahill scheduled to attend | May 25

Richard Rowley offers a devastating indictment of the covert wars sponsored by the United States government. Based on the investigative reporting of Jeremy Scahill, this documentary sheds light on the darkest secrets of American history.

May 25 | 11:30AM | SIFF Cinema Uptown

What to See at Folklife #429: The Emerald City Songwriters Circles

The Joy Mills Band

(Thanks Wes Weddell for this guest post! See the full schedule of workshops and participatory jams at

For the fifth consecutive year now, Folklife will offer the opportunity for anyone at the Festival to share an original song with listeners and fellow songwriters in the Emerald City Songwriter Circles.  The circles have become a celebration of originality, creativity, and the regional songwriting scene.

The guidelines are simple:

-Anyone is welcome to join the circle and share an original song when it is his/her turn.  Listeners welcome too!

-Choose a song of 5 minutes or less to share.

-Please listen actively and avoid playing along unless you are specifically asked by the song-sharer.

Come by the Shaw Room Saturday or Sunday (5:00-7:00pm) to contribute a song or join in the listening.  Hosts Wes Weddell, Nancy K. Dillon, Tai Shan, Steve Wacker, Carolyn Cruso, and Mark Iler, and Joy Mills will be on-hand to offer gentle guidance if necessary.  Hope to see you there!


Image courtesy Wes Weddell

Emerald City Songwriter Circles

Saturday & Sunday, May 25 & 26


Shaw Room (Acoustic Stage)

Seattle singer/songwriter Wes Weddell has released five CDs over the past decade, his latest a collection of demos from his involvement with The Bushwick Book Club Seattle (with whom he will also be performing at the festival).  He founded and runs Puget’s Sound Productions, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to creating community live-music spaces.

What to See at Folklife #221: The FOOD!

Not only can you take a trip around the world through music, dance, stories and art at the Northwest Folklife Festival, but you can eat your way around the globe as well!

Check out our complete list of food vendors here. Be sure to check out Eloi Taste the Carribbean – an unusual treat for the Northwest! You’ll also want to stop by Bahn Thai Restaurant — Seattle’s first Thai restaurant, in operation since 1984.

There’s also Pelmeni Dumpling Tzar, serving up Russian style dumplings (a staff favorite!), Horn of Africa , providing regional cuisine from Northeast Africa, authentic Filipino food from Espis Sausage & Tocino Co., and much much more.

Of course, no festival is complete without Little C’s Funnel Cakes or Shishkaberry’s. Indulge, and have fun trying new things. That’s what Folklife is all about!


What to See at Folklife #87: Shelby Earl and the Team Up for Nonprofits Showcase

Shelby Earl on the Indie Roots stage, by Ben Shaevitz

(Tune into KEXP this morning at 9:30 to hear Shelby Earl live on the Morning Show with John Richards!)

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.

Your Question Answered: Can I Camp at the Festival?

This tent’s not meant for sleeping.

For our out-of-town guests, this might not be obvious:

Can I sleep overnight at Folklife?

Northwest Folklife takes place at Seattle Center, a public Seattle city park. There is no camping allowed. However, we have some great options for you. We have some great deals worked out with nearby hotels and hostels. And for those of you looking to save a few dollars, we have set up an event on Couchsurfing to help you connect with locals with a couch or bed to spare…or maybe even just a place to pitch your tent or park you RV. Check it out on our website:

Do you have a question for Northwest Folklife? Submit it here!
Read other submitted questions here

What to See at Folklife #139: The Bushwick Book Club Sings the Wizard of Oz

(Thanks to Wes Weddelll for this guest post! You can see our full lineup of special events at the Festival website,

Photo courtesy Bushwick Book Club Seattle

The Bushwick Book Club Seattle Presents Original Music Inspired by The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Bushwick Book Club – Seattle, to be sure, is not your run-of-the-mill book club: since 2010, a revolving-door cast of local songwriters has read a chosen book each month, written music inspired by the selection, and then performed the songs for live audiences.  Past shows have ranged from Vonnegut to Austen to Silverstein to Bradbury, Narnia to Wonderland to Gotham to Vegas.  And for the 2013 Folklife Festival, the group proudly presents all-ages music inspired by L. Frank Baum’s classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Featured for this Saturday afternoon showcase on the Folklife Cafe Stage are Ryan Barber, Sean Hunting Morse, Debbie Miller, Nate Bogopolsky, Wes Weddell, Mark Blasco, Tai Shan, and a special appearance by students from Academy Schools in Tukwila, who recently wrote their own Oz-inspired songs through one of The Bushwick Book Club’s school programs.  Bushwick-Seattle founder Geoff Larson will emcee.  Expect free schwag!

The Bushwick Book Club Seattle Presents Original Music Inspired by The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Saturday, May 25 1:30-3:00pm Folklife Cafe Stage.


Seattle singer/songwriter Wes Weddell has released five CDs over the past decade, his latest a collection of demos from his involvement with The Bushwick Book Club Seattle (with whom he will also be performing at the festival).  He founded and runs Puget’s Sound Productions, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to creating community live-music spaces.

Your Question Answered: Can You Bring Pets to the Festival?

This is what you’re dog is up against. Photo by Ben Shaevitz.

We’ve gotten two inquiries about pets in the last week, so there’s probably more of you out there that are wondering:

Can I bring my pet to the Festival?

Because Folklife takes place in a public park, pets are technically allowed, but we do discourage bringing them to the Festival. The streets can be crowded and not everyone is comfortable around your dog or other pet, even if you believe them to be friendly. The crowded spaces can stress some animals out, especially if there are other dogs nearby. You also cannot enter indoor venues with any animals, so you’ll miss out on a lot of great activities.

Please seriously consider leaving your beloved pooch at home while you come to the grounds. If you plan to bring an exotic pet, like a bird or snake, you may be asked to leave.

Do you have a question for Northwest Folklife? Submit it here!
Read other submitted questions here

What to See at Folklife #309: The First-Ever Vashon Island Showcase

Cami Lundeen

Northwest Folklife is thrilled to present, for the first time, a Festival showcase dedicated to sharing the talented musicians of Vashon Island. “Voices of Vashon Island,” coordinated in partnership with Pete Welch, takes place Sunday, May 26 from 1:00-3:30pm on the Alki Court Stage, and features artists Gregg Curry, Cami Lundeen, Kiki Means, and Allison Shirk.

“Vashon Island is just a short 15 minute ferry ride from Seattle–a very short distance, but a million miles away in terms of the hustle and bustle of the city,” says Welch. “It’s home to hundreds of amazing musicians that entertain our community on a regular basis.  There are several music venues on the Island and they are always filled with musicians playing every genre of music imaginable.  The kind folks at Folklife have given us a wonderful opportunity to bring a few of our musicians to this year’s event.  We’re hoping that the music of Vashon will be well received so that we can build on this opportunity and bring even more music in the years to come.”

The 42nd annual Northwest Folklife Festival takes place this May 24-27 in Seattle Center. The full schedule with information about the 800 different acts participating can be found at

About the Vashon Artists:

Gregg Curry’s songs dig deep into the roots of American music, blending folk, country, rock, soul, blues, bluegrass and gospel to create his original sound. Website:

Cami Lundeen’s sultry vocal, evocative style, and introspective lyrics are shared through catchy, memorable melodies. Her stage presence is real with a raw, relatable quality. Website:

Kiki Means has been singing her whole life, and has been performing for many years. Her repertoire includes covers of all types of music and original songs.

Allison Shirk has a distinctive voice with a slightly southern accent. She plays guitar and bass and her songs take life experience and weave stories to which people can connect. Website:

Join Us for the 2013 Northwest Folklife Festival

You are invited to the greatest show of talent in the Northwest! Be part of the 42nd Northwest Folklife Festival this May 24-27 in Seattle Center. Enjoy and participate in your traditions! And experience other cultures by listening to their music, trying out their dances, and hearing their stories. And it’s all FREE.

The 42nd Festival features a special focus on stories and personal histories from the workplace, in a multimedia program called Washington Works. Come hear the folklore of the labor movement, and stories of how jobs have changed over the years, through movies, storytelling, and historical presentations.

Here’s a few other highlights to look forward to:
-A Latin Dance Party with live dance bands!
-A new showcase focusing on traditional dance and music of Asia
-The return of the hugely popular Bollywood Showcase!
-Crowd-favorites Balkan Misfits Party and Monday night Reggae show
-The Tractor Tavern’s Urban Square Dance for beginners and expert dancers
-Indie Roots music across all our stages

We can’t guarantee the weather, but we can guarantee a great time with fantastic entertainment, food, family activities, shopping, beer gardens, and more.

This year we are pleased to feature artwork by Drew Christie and web design by Shaun Swick.

Look for the full schedule on our website,
RSVP on Facebook here>

What to See at Folklife #48: Hip Hop

Georgetown Orbits-by Piper Hanson

Don’t be surprised to see hip hop on our “folk” stages!

“Hip hop is definitely a form of folk music,” says Kelli Faryar, Programs Manager at Northwest Folklife. “Folk music is the people’s music, and hip hop is first-hand stories and narratives.”

The Festival is a celebration of how all traditions are kept alive in the Northwest–from accordion to zither!

The 206Zulu Showcase takes place Sunday May 26, from 3:00pm – 6:00pm at The VERA Project, and features live breakdancing to DJ Zeta Barber and emcee Fleeta Partee. A son and namesake of Black Panther Party members, Fleeta Partee spits stories and rhymes with no glorification or sensationalism, with a foundation upon hip hop history and culture. Based in Seattle’s Central District, 206Zulu raises social awareness through forms of expression as a positive outlet for underprivileged youth.

A second hip hop showcase, You Can’t Fake Fresh, on Sunday May 26, from 7:00pm – 10:00pm in the EMP Sky Church, includes hip hop musicians with live bands and diverse musical influences such as jazz. Full band descriptions are below.

Global Heat – by Piper Hanson

206Zulu Jam featuring Junior Breakdance Competition and Hip-Hop Showcase: Sunday, May 26 from 3:00-6:00pm at The VERA Project.
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!

You Can’t Fake Fresh—Northwest Live-Band Hip Hop: Sunday, May 26 from 7:00-10:00pm in the EMP Sky Church.
The Sharp Five: The Sharp Five is a 5-piece collective from Seattle that bridges the gap between hip hop and Soul. Remember the warmth of the heart, the dirt under your feet, and the love for your city.
Irukandji Physics of Fusion: A unique group that brings equal parts soul, live hip hop, jazz fusion, and two phenomenal vocalists, Alisha and MC Profitsea to the stage.
Global Heat (with Special Guests Battle Reflexes): Winner of the 2011 Jammin’ Challenge at Hard Rock Café! As Seattle Next50 grant recipient, Global Heat headlined The Roots of Hip Hop in Ancient Cultures at the 2012 Northwest Folklife Festival.
Eastern Sunz: Multi award winning duo Eastern Sunz have been creating dynamic, thought provoking music and touring for over a decade with their unique sound referred to by CMJ Magazine as “intellectual hip hop”. игра в автоматы адмирал