Announcing the 2018 Northwest Folklife Festival Schedule

We are thrilled to announce the 2018 Northwest Folklife Festival schedule, featuring over 5,200 performers, 780 performances, 26 stages and so much more! Here are some of the many highlights from this year’s program:


Sponsored by KEXP, the Indie Roots programming at the Northwest Folklife Festival is the best way to discover new artists who are pushing the boundaries of tradition and bringing in new ideas from Seattle and the Northwest’s nationally-known music scenes. Here are some highlights from the 2018 Indie Roots Programming:

American Standard Time Showcase

Friday, May 25 from 6 – 9 PM on the Fountain Lawn Stage

Featuring GravelRoad, HYWAYS, The Crying Shame, and The Sons of Rainier

Folk, Redefined Showcase

Saturday, May 26 from 2 – 5 PM in the Vera Project

Featuring Five Letter Word, Gabriel Wolfchild & the Northern Light, Lili St Anne, and Sun Strong Moon

Ladies of Neo Soul Show

Sunday, May 26 from 7:45 – 10:00 PM on the Fisher Green Stage

Featuring Momma Nikki, Falon Sierra, and SPHIE

Sound Off! Showcase
Sunday, May 27 from 2:30 – 4:30 PM in the Vera Project

Featuring Strawberry Mountain, Maiah Wynne & Her Sleepless Knights, Misundvrstood and Gypsy Temple

Kinfolk: Stories in Song

Sunday, 2:50 – 4:00 PM in the Folklife Café

Featuring J.R. Rhodes and Tomo Nakayama

Women of the West Showcase

Sunday, 3:30 – 5:45 PM on the Fountain Lawn Stage

Featuring Annie Ford Band, Elke Robitaille Band, and Joy Mills Band



Returning in 2018, each day at KEXP’s Gathering Space will feature curation from a different KEXP DJ.

Friday, May 25 – El Sonido, curated by DJ Chilly

Terror/Cactus & Vince Mira

Saturday, May 26 – Audioasis, curated by Sharlese Metcalf

Astro King Phoenix & The New Rituals

Sunday, May 27 – Street Sounds, curated by Stas THEE Boss

Sax G & Kung Foo Grip

Monday, May 28 – WoPop, curated by Darek Mazzone

The Pazific & Amy Denio and Friends




Circle of Indigenous Peoples’ Celebration – All Four Days on Broad Street Lawn

Expanding to four days this year, the Circle of Indigenous Peoples’ Celebration features performances, ceremonies, workshops, and special events from a very wide variety of Native American tribes and cultures.

Bollywood Showcase – Friday, May 25 from 5:45 – 7:15 PM. at Exhibition Hall Stage

Featuring a whole slew of top Bollywood dance troupes in the Northwest, the joyous energy, precision and bright outfits of Bollywood are a joy to watch!

Aztec Dance with the Salinas Family – Saturday, May 26 on the Open-Air Dance State from 5:15 – 7:00 PM

Visually spectacular Aztec indigenous dance traditions from Mexico.Subversive Squares – Saturday, May 26 from 6:00 – 9:00 PM in the Armory Loft 3 Dance Workshops

Guerrilla square dance organizers Seattle Subversive Square Dance Society will teach and lead accessible and fun square dances!

Pagdiriwang Festival Presents – Sunday, May 27 from 4:15 – 5:15 PM in the Center Theatre

Filipino music has long been a part of our region, and the music and culture presented by BIBAK of the Pacific Northwest focuses on Filipino tribal traditions.

Music & Dance of Thailand – Sunday, May 27 from 11:AM – 2 PM in the Center Theatre

A survey of Thai traditions, from classical to Northern Thai Isaan folk music, to Thai contemporary folk.

Nicholas Petrish Lindjo Workshop at the Balkan Dance, Sunday May 27 at 7:45 PM on Armory Court Stage

Learn the Croatian lindjo dance from Nicholas Petrish, a renowned Croatian culture bearer from Anacortes, WA, home to a large Croatian community.

Irish Country Dance – Monday, May 28 from 3:00 – 3:50 PM in the Fisher Pavilion

The Northwest branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann will teach Irish country dancing!

Gospel Showcase – Monday,  May 28 from 12 – 2 PM on the Mural Amphitheatre

Legendary Pastor Pat Wright and the Total Experience Gospel Choir will join other powerful gospel choirs from the region in this all-star showcase!



It’s A Polka Party! – Friday, May 25 from 2 – 3 PM on Armory Court Stage

Despite its reputation, the polka is a blindingly fast, high-energy dance that’s a blast! Learn to dance the polka and dance to the Bavarian Beer Garden Band.

Cloud Country – Friday, May 25 from 7:45 – 9:00 PM on the Fisher Green Stage

Two of the Northwest’s rowdier folk-punk rag-grass bands will bring a hootin’ hollerin’ good time to the Fisher Green stage! Featuring South Sound Tug & Barge and The Bridge City Sinners.

Rhapsody Showcase – Saturday, May 26 from 11 AM – 1 PM on the Fisher Green

The brainchild of Seattle roots duo Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons, the Rhapsody Project brings American folk music to youth and students in Seattle’s South end.

The New Cool Show – Saturday, May 26 from 12:45 – 3:00 PM on the Fountain Lawn Stage

Presented by KNKX, The New Cool Showcase brings together DJ Abe Beeson’s take on far-future, avant-garde jazz and brass. Featuring 322, Bad News Botanists, Ten Man Brass Band.

Balkan Misfits – Saturday, May 26 from 7 – 9 PM  on the Fountain Lawn

Wild and wooly Balkan roots music, with all its clashing dissonance and fantastic brass lines! Featuring Balkanarama, The m9, and Eurodanceparty USA.

KBCS 91.3fm Presents – Sunday, May 27 from 12:30 – 2:20 PM on the Fisher Green Stage

KBCS’ annual curated showcase at the Northwest Folklife Festival features Squirrel Butter, Whitney Monge, and Naomi Wachira.

Hawaiian Showcase – Sunday, May 27 from 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM at McCaw Hall

The Hawaiian Showcase’s triumphant return to one of Seattle’s best stages: McCaw Hall. This showcase will feature four of the best hula hālaus (schools) in the Northwest.

Stand Up Comedy – Sunday, May 27 from 8 – 10 PM at the Center Theatre

This might be a first for Folklife! Stand up comedy from a variety of Northwest comics. Featuring Travis Watt, Erin Ingle, Bo Johnson, Thomas Nichols, and Wilfred Padua.

Honk! Presents – Monday, May 28 from 5:45 – 8:00 PM on the Fountain Lawn Stage

A selection of blasting brass bands on the Fountain Lawn! Lift those horns high!

Reggae Rising Party – Monday, May 28 from 6 – 9 PM on the Mural Amphitheatre

A Folklife tradition, the Reggae Rising party featuring Clinton Fearon & Boogie Brown Band is the perfect way to close out the Northwest Folklife Festival!




Timberbound – Friday, May 25 at 8:30 PM on Back Porch Stage

Northwest folk songs and lumber ballads, learn about our rich wooded heritage

Khu.éex’ – Friday, May 25 at 7:45 PM on the Mural Amphitheatre

Space-age funk and experimental rock from this Native American-based band with a wide-ranging sense of influences.

Trio Guadalevin – Saturday, May 26 at 2:05 PM on the Fisher Green Stage

Mexico meets the Mediterranean with Seattle Trio Guadalevin. Travel across historic Mexico, Spain, Italy, and North Africa.

McDougall – Saturday, May 26 at 3:15 PM on Back Porch Stage

Popular Portland folk troubadour with a hard edge, Northwest Americana with heart.

Wesley Randolph Eader – Saturday, May 26 at 8:30 PM at the Folklife Café

Powerfully affecting Northwest songwriting with an old-timey feel, Eader taps into an older vein of American folk.

Devin Sinha – Sunday, May 27 at 11:45 AM on the Fountain Lawn

Seattle singer-songwriter with deft, gentle lyrics and an ear for melody.

Hula Cultural Workshop with Kalei’okalani of Huraiti Mana – Sunday, May 27 at 2:15 p.m. in Armory Loft 3 Dance Workshops

Hawaiian and Polynesian dancer and teacher Kalei’okalani was a revelation at Northwest Folklife’s April program, Movin’ Around the World. Come learn the hula!

Leonard Podolak – Sunday, May 27 at 4:40 PM

The quirky leader of powerhouse Canadian roots band The Duhks, banjo virtuoso Leonard Podolak returns to Seattle for a special solo set at Folklife!

Violin Maestro Ganesh Rajagopalan and Friends – Monday, May 28 at 3:00 PM

South Indian Carnatic classical violinist Maestro Ganesh Rajagopalan will be a visiting guest artist from India for the Diwali: Lights of India Presents showcase.



The 47th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival will take place on Memorial Day Weekend (May 25-28, 2018) at Seattle Center. We are for the people, by the people. To help us continue to make our programs accessible for all, we ask for a daily donation of $10 per person or $20 per family.

Use Sched to curate your very own personalized day-to-day itinerary! To see the full schedule, click here.

All photos courtesy of Christopher Nelson.