Thank You for The Gift of Discovery

The 2016-2017 fiscal year just ended on September 30. We want to thank all of you who contributed this past year–through your financial support, your volunteerism, the sharing of your art and culture, and for your passion and advocacy on behalf of Northwest Folklife.

You understood that for Northwest Folklife to continue creating opportunities for all of our communities’ voices to be heard, shared and experienced with access guaranteed for all, access without financial barriers–that this continuing required the support of everyone who shares that vision. 

Because of your support, we are able to provide programming, such as our annual Seattle Children’s Festival, which was created from the ground-up to meet the needs of the families and children in our community. Together with our community partners and your support, we put together this one-day festival to allow our families to come together to learn more about the various cultures that thrive within our big neighborhood through performances, hands-on discovery zones, cooking demonstrations and so much more! Here is a testimony from a Seattle Children’s Festival attendee and how this program has affected her family:

“My family and I attended the Seattle Children’s Festival last year (2016) for the first time. I made the drive up from Tacoma, hoping that the festival would be everything that I love about the Northwest Folklife Festival directed toward engaging children. 

I was so impressed! The presenters and performances were so engaging, always giving a little lesson or invitation to the children to participate, learn and often get hands on. My daughter was 2 1/2 last year, and was able to participate in many of the activities. I feel like as much as we can make this diverse world familiar to our children, and celebrate every wonderful peaceful contribution, it is our job as parents to do so. 

Thank you to Northwest Folklife and Friends of Folklife for helping my daughter’s heart to grow towards others, and also for the joy of it.” 

Sincerely, 

Cambria, Haven and Kevin Cordeau

Because of your support, we are entering this new fiscal year refreshed and more stabilized. Looking into the exciting near future, Northwest Folklife needs your continued support as we ignite the launch for 2017-2018. We have so much in store including an exciting new cultural focus and expanded family and children’s programming!

You can show your support by donating online via PayPal or Kind Base. Donations of $50 or more also qualify you to become an official Friend of Folklife and receive special benefits. In addition, if you attend our upcoming Seattle Children’s Festival on October 8, you can visit our donation booths to make a donation. We are proud to be community-centered and community-powered. With your help, we can continue to make all of our programming and community engagement possible–you are Northwest Folklife.

Donate Online | Become a Friend of Folklife

Photo courtesy of Christopher Nelson

Mythbusters #1

Northwest Folklife Mythbusters

THIS IS NORTHWEST FOLKLIFE!

Over the years, certain myths, misunderstandings and/or misconceptions about an organization can develop. Every so often, it is important to tackle those myths and restate the Truths of an organization. For the past three months, Northwest Folklife has been tackling some of those myths.  Today, as we near the annual Northwest Folklife Festival, we are restating all of them together to reintroduce you to:

Northwest Folklife 

The Real Northwest Folklife 

Mythbusters #1

Mythbusters 2

Mythbusters #3

Mythbusters #5

These are our Truths. This is Northwest Folklife and this is the Northwest Folklife Festival.
 
This is your community. This is your Folklife.
 
In order to continue, to be here next year and for the years to come, Northwest Folklife needs your support. Please, make a donation each day you attend the Festival. Become a Friend of Folklife. This only happens with your support.
 
Can We Count You In?

Northwest Folklife Mythbusters #7

 

Not long ago, the national landscape was filled with large scale regional arts and culture festivals. These festivals were NOT national commercial, “headliner” music festivals, but celebrations of local arts and artists. That landscape has changed and the Northwest Folklife Festival is one of the last remaining major community owned festivals in the nation.

Our own Northwest Folklife Festival is one of even fewer that remains committed to the idea that this experience belongs to everyone – not just to those who can afford the price of a ticket. This is only possible now and can only remain possible in the future if our VERY modest costs are supported by our community. Either we want our festival to continue or we don’t.

Over the past 11 years, revenue has remained stagnant but costs have risen. During that time, Northwest Folklife has prioritized the resources for programming and cut every else. No programmatic costs have been drastically cut over the past eleven years. There are no more cuts and indeed, too much has been cut already.

Our Northwest Folklife Festival is one of even fewer that remains committed to the idea that this experience belongs to everyone – not just to those who can afford the price of a ticket. This can only remain possible in the future if our community renews its support. The Festival will not continue without your support.

As you know, while no ticket need be purchased to attend, the Festival is not free. This year, we must secure $1,300,000 in revenue to offset expenses. There is no other arts and/or culture organization that has found a way to bring over 5,000 artists on 25 stages representing over 100 communities to about 250,000 people for such a small investment. We are efficient, effective stewards of every dollar we receive.

We are an independent not-for-profit. We are not a City program with all expenses already paid for We will earn about $600,000 in booth fees, vendor commissions and sponsorships to help pay for these expenses. We must raise $700,000 more to offset remaining expenses.

We raise funds from individuals in two major ways – through specific funding appeals during the year to those with whom we have an ongoing relationship and annually at the festival by appealing to those who love the festival and attend.

At this year’s festival, we have set a goal to raise at least $350,000 to pay for the costs.

We ask for a modest daily donation of $10 per person per day or $20 per family at the entrances.  Last year, we estimate that only 17% of the people attending the festival made any voluntary donation. We received $205,120 in donations at the festival. That is less than $1 for each person who attended over the four day period.

We also know and we celebrate that there is no economic barrier and that making a donation can be very tough for some.  We are so glad you are all here and we are grateful for whatever you are able to “chip in”. But 17% is not enough to sustain this event. If more people do not support the festival, the festival will not continue.

For those who have the means and the passion for what this festival is all about, we, the Board, ask you to consider what the VALUE of this festival is to you, BOTH as individuals attending and as members of this community who believe in this awesome event and believe it must be open to all.

Northwest Folklife Mythbusters #6

For 45 years, Northwest Folklife has brought the Northwest Folklife Festival to Seattle Center and celebrated the incredible and diverse arts and cultures of the Pacific Northwest.

  • We have brought the four-day Northwest Folklife Festival to about 250,000 people, a quarter of a million, to celebrate the incredible and diverse arts and cultures of the Pacific Northwest.
  • We present about 5,000 artists, who volunteer their performances on 25 stages. Over 100 communities, representing the rich diversity of our community – artistically, ethnically, and culturally – work all year round to bring these performances to you at this Festival.
  • We have done all of this WITHOUT CHARGING ADMISSION, not even once.  We are committed to not having the economic barrier of a ticket prices, we are committed to making this celebration as accessible as possible to the greatest number of people.

While there is no admission charge, the Northwest Folklife Festival is not free. It takes a full year and a $1.3 million budget to produce the Festival and other programming. This is NOT a city program it is not all paid for in advance. It has only been made possible and can only continue with the support of those who come to experience it. 

What is the value of a day (or two or three or four) of music, dance, storytelling, crafts and food? What does this experience mean to you and to your family? Your children?

This year, we need to raise $700,000 to pay expenses and we need to raise at least half of that – $350,000 – at this Festival. We depend on individual donations at the Festival.

Sadly last year, less than 17% of all attendees made a donation. That is not enough and this lack of support puts Northwest Folklife at risk. Without your support, we cannot continue.

There will be between 200,000 and 250,000 people who attend the festival this year. It is your Festival. This is not up to someone else. It is up to you.  Help keep Northwest Folklife alive.

CAN WE COUNT YOU IN?  

Mythbusters #5

Northwest Folklife Mythbusters #5

 

Since its inception over 45 years ago, Northwest Folklife has been and remains dedicated to the creation of a public forum where the traditional and ethnic communities and the artists of the Pacific Northwest can present their music, dance, performances and crafts.

Folklife works with more than 100 communities and Community Coordinators to bring over 5,000 artists to 25 stages representing the full range of artistic and cultural expression found in this region. Yes, there are hippies and yes there is fiddling and we love them all! And there are hula dancers, spirituals, gospel and sacred music, Indie music and yodeling, Hip Hop, drum circles, powwows, contra dancing and Coastal Salish dancing. And so much more – there is not space here to describe the half of it! The variety and the opportunities for new experiences are so varied and plentiful, you simply cannot see it all.

Folklife is NOT just one style of art or culture. Folklife is ALL folk living – each in their own unique way and yet, each in a way that connects us all together. The steps of our dances may vary – but we ALL dance. The tempo, arrangement, and notes of our songs sound different but we ALL know that deep inner response to the sounds of our own cultures being played on instrument and in voice. Our foods, the spices and ingredients we use, the style in which we cook them, all have unique characteristics that speaks deeply to us of our heritages but we ALL know the joy and deep contentment of gathering as family, neighbors and friends to break bread and be in community.

Northwest Folklife’s roots are deeply embedded in cultural inclusion. Recently, Phil Williams, one of our founders passed on. His widow Vivian shared with us that “Phil figured everybody should have a chance to get to know people from other communities, whether it was quilting or playing bluegrass or Japanese koto. His resistance to fences included a sensitivity to refugees in Seattle who’d had their fill of barbed-wire fences and being closed in. He thought some people wouldn’t be comfortable with that. He was very, very inclusive.” Folklife’s original vision remains as relevant today as it was in 1972.

Folklife is really a way to describe how people are living. The Festival is how we offer and share ourselves with others. It is a time and place where we can learn from one another. It is your Festival – it belongs to everyone. It is as diverse as the Northwest itself. It is the one time that all of us, from our own unique communities come together and create a new community together – a community of music, dance, storytelling, craft and food. It is a brilliant, diverse, welcoming community.

Join us.

Northwest Folklife Mythbusters #4

Co-creating and co-curating an annual festival with more than 5,000 artists, more than 800 performances on 25 stages with more than 100 community coordinators, while simultaneously managing the logistics of crafts vendors, food merchants, and sponsors AND making sure 250,000 visitors are safe, well served and have a great time is an enormous undertaking. It can really be boiled down to two words – Relationships and Logistics.

Relationships – Northwest Folklife works all year round with more than 100 community coordinators. These amazing volunteers represent the range of artistic genre, cultural influence and demographic origins that make up the Pacific Northwest. Coordinators provide the insight and experience within their coordinating areas to help staff make the most representative and balanced programming choices. It’s a big job and we are so grateful for their partnership.

Logistics galore!!!! Imagine setting up a system that allows anyone and everyone (remember – no barriers) to apply to perform or vend their wares that accurately gathers the information necessary to support their needs such as space, time, equipment, etc. Imagine the logistics involved with then coordinating all of those applications into the broad, cohesive festival that occurs each year. On top of that, there are all the logistics for vendors, security, volunteers, and facilities to support a quarter million guests. The list goes on and on (and on)!

Building and planning this event each year is a labor of love by an enormous group of dedicated staff, volunteers and partners. It is a vast undertaking, full of details and efforts that are invisible to most of us when we walk onto the grounds Memorial Day weekend. But, this labor of love is there when we experience the amazing breadth of the art and culture of the Northwest, become neighbors with strangers and go home with new experiences and perhaps, a little bit changed. For you – the magic happens in four days.  But it takes a year to make it happen!

Northwest Folklife Mythbusters #3

We sing, dance, play music, tell stories, teach our children, remember our ancestors, and share our meals all year long. Folk live life every day and Northwest Folklife creates opportunities for all of us all year long to celebrate, share, to be included and participate in the arts and culture of the Pacific Northwest.

Northwest Folklife has programming all year long – the Seattle Children’s Festival in October, the Cultural Arts Series and Folklife Presents. We work all year to support many of the 23 regional community organizations who compose the Seattle Center Festal Cultural Festivals. We work all year with over 100 Folklife Community Coordinators representing the unique needs of each community, their artists and culture bearers, and their audiences. And all year long, we celebrate with different communities with Nights for Folklife events.  And of course, the annual Memorial Day Festival.

Join us, join each other – every day.

Mythbusters #1

Northwest Folklife Mythbusters #1

Folklife is a completely independent not for profit organization. We have our own mission and vision. We have our own Board, staff, budget, and programs. We are proud to partner with the City of Seattle and Seattle Center to produce and present the Northwest Folklife Festival and the Seattle Children’s Festival. We are grateful to the Seattle Center which provides space, facilities and support in order to ensure that our shared commitment that anyone and everyone should be able to attend these festivals without the economic barrier of a ticket price. The art and cultures of our region belong to everyone – not just those who can afford to buy a ticket.

Check out Mythbusters #2

Mythbusters 2

Northwest Folklife Mythbusters #2

The Northwest Folklife Festival is not free. Our commitment to ensure that everyone has access to our programs without the barrier of an admission fee requires us to find partners and supporters that pay the costs of putting on the festivals.

This year, the Festival and other Northwest Folklife programs will cost about $2.8 million. The City provides about $1.5 million of support and we have to raise about $700,000 and earn the additional $600,000.

Northwest Folklife is community powered and can ONLY happen with the financial support of everyone who believes that the Northwest Folklife Festival is an essential part of what makes this region so unique and such a wonderful place to live, work and play. Folklife is not free. Please help. It really is up to all of you.

Catch up and read miss Mythbusters #1