Volunteers Make it Happen!

Volunteers are an essential part of the Northwest Folklife Festival! Every year, over 800 volunteers staff our entrances, information booths, registration and more to make sure we have the most welcoming community arts Festival in the city. Be a part of it!

Fill out a Volunteer Application TODAY!

Volunteers receive discounted merchandise and other perks. Most importantly, volunteering gives you a great opportunity to give back to your community and meet some amazing people in the process!

Please visit the volunteer page of our Festival website for more information!

Your Question Answered: Are You Still Looking for Performers for the 2013 Festival?

Here’s one that came in from Bainbridge Island, but I bet a few other people might be wondering the same thing:

If its not too late, we would like to be considered for performance this year.

The answer is: Sorry! It’s too late.

Each year the application to perform goes live on our website on September 1, and the deadline is December 15. If you are interested in performing at the 2014 Festival, I’d suggest you sign up for our eNews or like us on Facebook to be alerted to when the application goes up. You are still welcome to participate in the 2013 Festival as a busker, or by joining in one of our dances or singalongs.

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

KCTS 9 Returns as Media Partner for 2013 Festival

Northwest Folklife is pleased to welcome KCTS Channel 9 back as a media sponsor for the 42nd Northwest Folklife Festival. KCTS first joined us last year as our exclusive broadcast television sponsor.

“It’s a natural partnership,” says Folklife Executive Director Rob Townsend. “They have their main office and station facilities right on the Seattle Center campus, the home of the Festival since it began in 1972. We’re delighted to continue this relationship with our neighbors.”

Says KCTS 9’s Hilda Cullen, “KCTS is proud to partner with Northwest Folklife – an iconic Seattle event which for more than 40 years has been the largest free community arts and cultural festival in the country. The arts are vital to a thriving community, and one of our key initiatives at KCTS 9 is to bring more arts and culture-related programming to our viewers. We strive to provide free access to the arts for everyone, so a collaboration with Northwest Folklife is a natural partnership for us.”

KCTS 9 has 1.6 million viewers in Washington state and another 828,000 viewers in Canada. The station has been broadcasting from Seattle Center campus since 1986.

Irish Super-Group Dervish & Free Community Events in March

Folklife is excited to be a partner in presenting these events with STG!
Join us to celebrate the music and dance of Ireland this March at the Neptune Theatre. Performances, master classes, a ceili, and more.

Seattle Theatre Group (STG) is presenting one of Ireland’s most renowned Irish music super-groups, Dervish at the Neptune Theatre (Mar 16), with opening performance by Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac, masters of the Cape Breton tradition. This show will be one of the biggest Celtic music events of the year in Seattle. In the week prior to the show, STG is offering education and community events in Irish music/dance at the Neptune, in partnership with a host of local Irish organizations.


w/ special guests, Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac

Sat, March 16, 2013

The Neptune Theatre (1303 NE 45th St)

Doors 7pm, Show 8pm, 21+, $30 (excl fees)

Tickets & Info



All events at The Neptune Theatre (1303 NE 45th St, University District)
All education and community events FREE and open to the public


Monday, March 11

6:00-8:00pm: Carrigaline Céili w/ Seattle Irish Dance Company

For people of all ages and families. Beginner & advanced dancers welcome 

RSVP Required: Please RSVP to Claire Connell – clairec@stgpresents.org

Join us for an Irish Céili (community dance) at the Neptune Theatre led by Irish music group, Carrigaline and the Seattle Irish Dancers. Fun and lively Irish dancing for all the family – bring good shoes (leather soles best). A safe place for families to experience authentic Irish culture and pass it along to their children. Free instruction in the basics of Irish céili dance. Great music and an opportunity to meet other Irish people in your community.


Tuesday, March 12

5:30-6:30pm: Uilleann Pipes Talk & Performance by The Irish Piper’s Club

For people of all ages 

RSVP Required: Please RSVP to Claire Connell – clairec@stgpresents.org

The Irish Piper’s Club will lead a talk on one of Ireland’s oldest and most unique instruments, the uilleann pipes. Includes a short performance by the Irish Piper’s Club, Q&A and an opportunity to try out the uilleann pipes.


6:30-7:30pm: Fiddle Master Class with Dale Russ

Inter-Adv, age 15+

RSVP Required: Please RSVP to Claire Connell – clairec@stgpresents.org

Renowned fiddler, Dale Russ will offer an Irish fiddle master class for intermediate-advanced students, ages 15 and up.


Saturday, March 16

Irish Song Master Class with Cathy Jordan of Dervish

Exact time TBD (Please keep 12-3pm open, duration 60 mins)

Inter-Adv, age 15+

RSVP Required: Please RSVP to Claire Connell – clairec@stgpresents.org 

We are thrilled that lead singer of Dervish and internationally renowned Irish vocalist, Cathy Jordan, will offer a master class to intermediate-advanced vocalists, ages 15+.



Upcoming Opportunities to Dance & Support Folklife

March seemed like a long ways off when we first announced these, but now it’s right around the corner! We hope we’ll see you in at one or all of these great Nights for Folklife events.


Contra Dance Marathon

Thursday, March 7 at the Lake City Contra/Old-Time Country Dance:

8th Annual CONTRA MARATHON – Benefit for Northwest Folklife! Non-stop whirl of music & dancing…NO WALK THRU’S…17 callers & 6 bands!!! Jump in & out at the ends of the contra lines to change partners, rest, rehydrate, & socialize…or play along with the bands! Newcomers are encouraged to attend the free intro workshop at 7:30 pm; “Dance Buddies” will be available to lend helping hands throughout the evening.

Part of the Cascade Promenade weekend http://www.cascadepromenade.org/

Lake City Contra/Old-Time Country Dance at the Lake City Community Center, 12531 28th Ave. NE, Seattle;
Free introductory workshop at 7:30 pm, dance 8-11 pm;
$9 (students & seniors $7, kids & first-time contradancers free); For more information go to http://seattledance.org/contra.lakecity or call (206)525-0932. Please respect the health needs of many dancers and come fragrance-free.

NDFI Benefit for Northwest Folklife

Saturday, March 9th

Three bands playing International, Scandinavian, contra, and English Country dance music!

7:00 – 11:00pm

Potluck snacks served throughout the evening.

Suggested donation: $10.00

Every dollar raised goes directly to Folklife! Sno-King has donated the night and the Cedar Valley Grange has donated the rent.  All the bands, sound person, and callers have donated their time to help celebrate the Northwest Folklife.


Cedar Valley Grange Hall
20526 52nd Ave W
Lynnwood, WA 98036

Portland Roadhouse

March 10

The Portland Roadhouse is a 10-hour (11:00 am until 9:00 pm) contra dance designed as a showcase for bands and callers from along the I-5 corridor. Modeled after Warren’s Roadhouse at the Northwest Folklife Festival, eight bands and callers are invited to present 65-minute sets purely for the fun of it. All performers donate their time, and are unpaid except for some travel stipends to those from outside the Portland area. This event is held in a lovely dance hall, the Milwaukie Community Club, which has a wonderful wood floor and plenty of space downstairs for socializing, eating, and jamming. The Portland Roadhouse is the last event of the 5-day Cascade Promenade contra dance extravaganza. As such, the Iron Dancer awards for all dancers who have attended Cascade Promenade dances on 4 of the 5 days are presented at the Roadhouse.

The Portland Roadhouse is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, with a board of directors and organizing committe who live between Roseburg, Oregon and Bellingham, Washington. In addition to supporting itself, the Portland Roadhouse makes contributions to NW Folklife in support of its programs.

Since its inception in 2010, The Portland Roadhouse has happened on the second Sunday in March (this year on March 10th). Further details and advance tickets are available at: http://www.portlandroadhouse.org.

Erin Go Boogie!

Sunday, March 17


With DJ Jodi

Dance, celebrate, and express your love for Folklife!

Wear green, be green, BRING green!

Sonny Newman’s Dance Hall
201 North 85th Street
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 784-3010

Your Question Answered: Past Festival Attendance

Photo by Ben Shaevitz

A past Festival exhibitor ponders this one:

I was wondering what the attendance figures have been the last few years?

Great question! The answer is that last year’s attendance was around 250,000 people over the course of four days. While we don’t do an official count, we are able to estimate numbers based on counts made at individual venues and by the Seattle Police Department. We are also fortunate to have many returning staff members and volunteers, who can help contribute their impressions on whether a crowd was bigger or smaller than previous years. For example, 2010 was an outstanding year thanks to perfect weather (4 days of 75 degree sunshine!) that attracted record-breaking crowds upwards of 260,000 people. However, 2011 was a smaller turnout, thanks to a smattering of rainy days. Crowds were closer to 235,000 people.

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

Share Your Opinion about the Opportunity to Dance Tax

Image courtesy of Neumos

We here at Folklife are passionate about our communities. From music, to storytelling, to dance, each of these communities and the artists that reside there provide the stuff from which our Festival is made: the songs, the stories, the dance, the movement.

Part of passion

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involves the knowing, and where possible, the growing, of those communities. It also involves using our ability to draw attention to issues faced by a particular community.

Today, this means drawing your attention to the Dance Tax that is affecting many in our Social Dance communities. Social Dancing accounts for a significant part of our dance programming and this issue directly affects many of the dancers you would dance alongside of at the Festival.

For more information about the Dance Tax and how it will play out today in Olympia, please go here:




Upcoming Bluegrass Shows at Nectar Lounge


2.16 Saturday

POLECAT w/ Buzz Brump, Kate Lynne Logan
$7adv / $10dos, 8pm, 21+




2.20 Wednesday – Wintergrass and Nectar Present:
Pickled Okra, Barleywine Revue, The Howdy Boys, Blueberry Hill
$5 adv / $8 dos, 6pm doors, 7pm showtime, 21+
Tickets available at: Dusty Strings & Nectar Lounge


2.22 Friday
$7 adv / $10 dos, 8pm, 21+





3.5 Tuesday
KaraokeGrass!!! Karaoke Hits performed live in Bluegrass Style
feat. Todd & Paisley Gray (of Pickled Okra) and friends…
NO COVER7pm Doors7PM – 9PM HAPPY HOUR8pm – 11pm Karaokegrass!!21+


3.21 Thursday
HENHOUSE PROWLERS w/ Warren G Hardings, Pickled Okra
$7adv / $10dos8pm21+


3.29 Friday
Renegade StringbandWeatherside Whiskey Band, The Creak, w/ special guests TBA
$6 adv / $8 dos, 8pm, 21+


4.3 Wednesday (Americana/Folk Rock)
THE MATINEEThe Foghorns, Judd Lewis and the Loose Cannons
$5 adv / $8 dos, 8pm, 21+


4.9 Tuesday and every 2nd Tuesday…
KaraokeGrass!!! Karaoke Hits performed live in Bluegrass Style
feat. Todd & Paisley Gray (of Pickled Okra) and friends…
NO COVER7pm Doors7PM – 9PM HAPPY HOUR8pm – 11pm Karaokegrass!!21+


4.11 Thursday
POOR MAN’S WHISKEY performs DARK SIDE OF THE MOONSHINE w/ very special guests TBA
$12 adv / $15 dos, 8pm doors, 21+


4.26 Friday (Americana / Rock)
Heels To The HardwoodThe Big Medicine, w/ special guests TBA
$7 adv / $10 dos, 8pm doors, 21+

Your Question Answered: Getting a 2013 Folklife Guide & Schedule

Nancy’s question is a good one for all you planners:

When will the online 2013 Festival guide be available?

Here are the important dates to get on your calendar:

  • A complete PDF, ready to print at home, AND our online tool with a customizable schedule will be online the first week of May.
  • You can swing by our offices in Seattle Center to pick up a copy, and look for other distribution locations (like libraries) on our website, beginning May 15.
  • The printed souvenir Festival guide will be available as an insert in home editions of the Seattle Times on Thursday, May 23.

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

New Community Calendar

We are excited to have as part of our newly refreshed website a Community Calendar. Members of the public are encouraged to post their public events to share with the Folklife community. Performances, workshops, dances, storytelling hours and other arts events are welcome.

We’ll use this as a resource when we send out our monthly eNews, and will share this calendar with other partner websites, like the Seattle Office of Film & Music.

See our full Community Calendar here!

Please note that as of now, we are unable to accommodate recurring events; they must be entered individually. Please allow up to 2 business days for us to review and approve your submission.
Having trouble? Please email us and we’ll try to help!

Your Question Answered: Performer Application Decisions

Here’s a question many people are sure to be pondering these days.

Christine asks:

For those who applied to be performers in 2013, when will decisions be announced?

All applicants will be notified by late March by our programming department. For those who have been accepted to perform at the Festival, there is a period of scheduling back-and-forth before the final lineup in announced online in early May.

Wondering why a group was or was not programming this year? Find answers in our handy programming FAQ!

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