Get Ready! Folklife Starts This Friday!

The 43rd annual Northwest Folklife Festival is almost here!  As you get ready to come down to Seattle Center for four days of nonstop music, dance, workshops, food, crafts and more, here are some useful things to know:

There have been various programming and venue changes for the festival this year:

  • Trad Stage This is a brand new stage! The Trad Stage will highlight some of the best traditional musicians of the Northwest, pulling some of the programming from past years’ much-loved Northwest Court Stage. You can expect to hear North American and European traditional music from a variety of genres including Irish, Québécois, Old-Time, and more.
  • Cornish Playhouse – Formerly the Intiman Theatre, this is a brand-new venue for Folklife and will be one of our main theatre-style stages highlighting music and dance showcases.
  • Discovery Zone – Explore the bigger-than-ever-before Discovery Zone, family-friendly hands-on activities area with performances, workshops, and activities that are fun for people of all ages. Located between The Armory & EMP Sky Church Stages.
  • International Fountain Pavilion – Located West of the Fountain Lawn Stage and directly East of the Alki Court, this will be Folklife’s home to the Visual Arts. Look for our Cultural Focus Art Exhibition as well as featured poster art designers.
  • Northwest Rooms – Music and Dance Workshops have moved from the Northwest Rooms and EMP Learning Labs to the Armory Lofts (3rd Floor of the Armory), as the NW Rooms are now home to our partner, KEXP.
  • Narrative Stage – Will now be held in the JBL Theatre inside of the EMP Museum.
  • All Ages | All Day – This programming moved to Monday (formerly on Sunday) and will be held in the EMP Museum’s Sky Church. The programming this year will highlight the vibrant Hip Hop community of the Northwest.
  • Armory Improvements – Two workshop spaces are now located on the 3rd floor, in the Seattle Center’s newly refurbished conference rooms.
  • Jamming Hot Spots – Check out the Festival map for Jamming Hot Spots – New areas designated for open jams.

Getting Here

You might notice some construction around Seattle Center—if you’re driving to the festival, please take note!   The Seattle Department of Transportation is working with Northwest Folklife and Seattle Center to ensure open and clearly marked access to the Seattle Center campus for the 2014 Northwest Folklife Festival. For complete, up-to-date information on current street conditions, click here.

There are many great options of how to get to the festival!  The Seattle Center Monorail can whisk you to the Center from downtown in 90 seconds. Fifteen Metro bus routes serve Seattle Center from around the region, and there is easy access by car from both Interstate 5 and Highway 99.  Plentiful parking is available.  Public transportation to and from the Northwest Folklife Festival can be planned by going here.

Festival Tips from the Folklife Crew:

  • Coming to the festival with your family? Designate a safety spot on Seattle Center grounds where you will meet in case of separation.  Folklife draws around 250,000 people each year and the Seattle Center can get very crowded.  Having a safety spot can help in these situations!  Also, if you or a member of your family is lost—find any of the Folklife staff or volunteers (look for a Folklife badge or vest) and they can help!
  • Drink water!  There are water fountains in most of the indoor venues at Folklife.  Bring a bottle and fill it up!  Also, look for the plethora of delicious drinks options available from our food vendors.
  • Looking for performer CDs?  All performers are encouraged to sell CDs next to their stage before and after their performance.  Look for them then or find them online through links on the Folklife Schedule.
  • Check out all of the performers, workshops and more coming to Folklife and start planning your weekend!  You can make your own personal festival schedule using our online schedule.  But remember to keep yourself open to discovering new things!  There are over 800 performing groups at Folklife this year, so you might find yourself waylaid by a new group you had never heard of!  Try something new—learn to play the didgeridoo or dance the tango.  The possibilities are endless… 

We’re very excited for Folklife this year and we hope that you are too!  Can’t wait to see you all at the Festival!