Northwest Folklife presents ‘living traditions:’ arts and culture as a way of life including music, dance, jamming, visual arts, film, and multimedia, all infused with folklife. From daily creativity to family traditions and community customs, folklife is a part of each of our daily lives. Echoing the U.S. Library of Congress’ definition: “‘folklife’ is the everyday and intimate creativity that all of us share and pass on to the next generation.” The Northwest Folklife Festival is just one way that Northwest Folklife affords access for all to participate together with no financial barrier, creating the most inclusive, wide-reaching arts experiences for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds in the region.
Musically, the Festival features more than 800 scheduled performances on 24 stages. Audiences can find traditional styles of American roots music on the Back Porch Stage and British Isles influenced performances on the Trad Stage; grand Festival stage experiences with an eclectic showcasing of genres on both the Fountain Lawn and Mural Amphitheatre Stages; a laidback, picnic-style music experience at the Fisher Green; and more intimate artist experiences at the Vera Project or Folklife Café stages.
The popular family-friendly hot spot, the Discovery Zone, is packed with all kinds of hands-on, interactive workshops, performances, and activities for families and young Festival-goers. Past activities have included learning how to make art with upcycled materials at the Nature Consortium activity station as well as an exploration of notions of inner beauty through art at the Northwest African American Museum activity booth. While the Northwest Folkife Festival in general is a family-friendly event, there are other kid-friendly offerings throughout the grounds. Make sure to look for the balloon icon in your program guide for family friendly specific performances and workshops.
“The Northwest Folklife Festival thrives and continues to evolve with the people of the Pacific Northwest because it is community-powered, and has been for 46 years,” Sheila Siden, Director of Development for Northwest Folklife comments. “Performers, participants, patrons: we all believe that participation in the arts is as important as observing them. Your donations make it possible this year and for future generations.”