Northwest Folklife Northwest Folklife Festival


Perform at The 48th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival

Thank you for joining us and for making the 48th Northwest Folklife Festival possible! Each year, over 5,000 artists and culture bearers from across the Pacific Northwest gather to perform, teach, encourage discovery, and inspire - thank you!

As you plan your trip to the Festival, please be aware of the changes on Seattle Center grounds. We’ve included travel information and maps that locate parking areas, stage locations, Hospitality and Welcome Stations. Northwest Folklife is committed to bringing programming representative and reflective of our diverse Pacific Northwest communities. Though the redevelopment of the New Arena at Seattle Center has impacted our ability to keep the number of stages, showcases, and activities we have traditionally provided, we are confident that the 20+ stages, hundreds of vendors, and countless hours of dance, music and workshops at the Festival will celebrate the cultural tapestry of the Pacific Northwest as it has for the last 48 years.

Festival Updates

  • Performer Registration and Hospitality – NEW LOCATION! Previously stationed near the Skate Park, Registration is now located in the McCaw Hall Lobby and Café. Check-in and get your VIP button here!
  • Underground Folklife Café – NEW LOCATION! Folklife Café has moved to Cornish’s Alhadeff Studio located directly south of the Cornish Playhouse. Find this “secret” venue by looking for#4 on your map.
  • Music and Dance Workshops – NEW LOCATIONS! Workshops have moved up one floor. Take the elevator to the 4th Floor. Check out #19 on your map for Studio C- music workshops and Theatre 4- dance workshops.
  • Jams – NEW LOCATION! Scheduled Jams are now just a few feet away in the McCaw Promenade from its original location. Look for #6 on your map.
  • MoPop | Sky Church - Museum of Pop Culture is opening up their Sky Church venue to highlight Cultural Focus Showcases on Monday from 12:00 PM-7:00 PM. Check out talented young artists by looking for #23 on your map.
  • Pete Seeger Centennial Folk Jam! – In celebration of Pete Seeger’s 100th Birthday, Armory Loft 4 on the 3rd Floor of the Armory building has transformed to an informal open mic space. Look for the banjo icon for more Pete Seeger Celebrations happening throughout the Festival all weekend long.

Performer Registration

NEW LOCATION inside the McCaw Hall Lobby! Look for Performer Check-in on your map. To access the Hospitality Lounge and Checkroom, you must retrieve your VIP button from Performer Registration. Arrive promptly at your stage at least 40 minutes before the start of your performance. Each VIP button allows one additional guest into the Hospitality Lounge. Lost or forgotten buttons will not be reissued.

Additional Performer Registration Information and Tips:

  • One VIP button per performer will be issued regardless of how many groups a performer is participating in.
  • To enjoy the Hospitality Lounge all weekend long, performers can check-in early to receive their VIP button.
  • The leader of a group may ask one performer to check-in for the entire group and pick up all the VIP buttons; however, Northwest Folklife prefers performers’ to check-in for themselves only. Large quantities of button distribution will be tracked to those performers who pick up VIP buttons for the group.
  • Fill out a travel reimbursement form here! Information about the travel reimbursement form and policy is in your Final Performer Packet and will also be at Performer Registration.

Registration Hours:

9:00 AM - 8:30 PM
9:00 AM - 8:30 PM
9:00 AM - 8:30 PM
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Hospitality Lounge

NEW LOCATION inside the beautiful McCaw Hall Café! To access the Hospitality Lounge, you must retrieve your VIP button from Performer Registration located in the Lobby of McCaw Hall. Each VIP button allows one additional guest into the Hospitality Lounge. Lost or forgotten buttons will not be reissued.

  • Snacks, water, soda, coffee, tea and beer are available in the Hospitality Lounge. Northwest Folklife charges a nominal fee for beer (serving from noon-close), but non-alcoholic beverages are free.
  • Hospitality will open at Noon on Friday. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Lounge Hours:

12:00 PM - 10:00 PM
9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM

Hospitality Checkroom

Your VIP button allows you to check your instrument or any equipment in and out throughout the weekend. Hospitality Checkroom is safe and secured. Overnight storage is strongly discouraged.

Checkroom Hours:

9:00 AM - 10:15 PM
10:00 AM - 10:15 PM
10:00 AM - 10:15 PM
10:00 AM - 9:15 PM


Arrive promptly at your stage after checking in at Performer Registration – at least 40 minutes before the start of your performance. The time shown on your itinerary is your actual performance time and does not include set up time. We allow transition time between performances, but be prepared to set up quickly. If you have not arrived by 15 minutes before your performance time, we may fill your slot with another group.

  • You must keep your performance within the time limits. If you go over your time, it will affect all of the performers following you as well as your ability to return to the Festival in future years.
  • Review your technical requirements as outlined in your application with the Stage Manager. If your technical needs change before the Festival, please call the performer hotline at (206) 684-4189 or email Any technical changes day-of the festival need to be brought to the attention of your Stage Manager 40 minutes before your set. Technical support not requested in advance may not be provided.
  • Connect with the MC who will introduce you and communicate anything you would like them to announce.

If your performance is to recorded music, Northwest Folklife and Seattle Center want to ensure your performance runs smoothly without any disruptions. Please bring your media on the following format:

  • CD – tracks should be neatly labeled and clearly visible. If you would like the sound engineer to manage your music, please provide a tracklist for them to follow.
  • Jump Drive / Thumb Drive – we cannot provide a laptop. Please remember to bring your own laptop in order to play media off your device.
  • iPod / iPhone / Android – make sure that you have disabled all sound except what you actually want played. To ensure no disruptions, ALL notifications should be turned off or put silent.
  • An easy fix is to make sure your files are downloaded on your phone and then place your phone in airplane mode while in use.

Dressing Rooms

If your venue has a dressing room, please check with your Stage Manager for your room assignment. Northwest Folklife is not responsible for lost, damaged or stolen items. Please do not use Seattle Center restrooms as dressing rooms.

Selling Merchandise at Seattle Center

At each venue, there’ll be a merchandise area which will be promoted from the stage. Performers MUST have a City of Seattle Business License or a Universal Business Identifier before selling anything. Northwest Folklife is not responsible in providing licensing. Visit: to obtain your license before the festival.

Photographer and Videographer Policy

Northwest Folklife has a proprietary license for the use of the Seattle Center Campus and Facilities associated with the Northwest Folklife Festival during Memorial Day weekend and can determine how they are to be used. In accordance with the City of Seattle legal department, indoor facilities are not a part of the public discourse; therefore, 1st amendment rights do not have precedent in these venues. We also must maintain fire lanes, egress, and safety protocols inside and outside of venues. All video recordings beyond hand held devices, within the confines of a general venue seats, must be pre-approved by both the performer and the Festival.

Encouraging Donations

You have the stage, so please encourage donations! This festival can continue only with community support, and your help toward that goal is outstanding- Thank you!

Below are a few key points to mention:

  • Performers, communities, volunteers and donors make the Folklife Festival Community-Powered.
  • There is no admission charge thanks to your donations of $10!
  • Show your love for Folklife: donate today!


It takes hundreds of volunteers to staff the Festival and ensure its sustainability. If you’re interested in volunteering, sign up online at If you’re interested in being an MC, contact the Volunteer Coordinator at

2019 Cultural Focus: Youth Rising

Northwest Folklife presents the 2019 Cultural Focus: Youth Rising. As folk is “for the people, by the people” this Cultural Focus is built “for and by the youth.” In partnership with youth organizations and community partners, this program convened a youth and mentor cohort in late 2018. This committee began meeting monthly to envision how Youth Rising could become a resource for youth leaders, artists, musicians, and change makers to celebrate and amplify youth voices. In a series of community gatherings, brainstorming sessions and design workshops, the cohort developed an innovative platform to network, showcase, and inspire through arts: The Hydrant. Throughout 2019, the Cultural Focus will weave through all of Northwest Folklife’s programs, including the 48th annual Northwest Folklife Festival, the Youth Residencies, the 6th annual Seattle Children’s Festival, and the Our Big Neighborhood program. Audiences will experience youth voices from around the Pacific Northwest through stories, visual art, film, music, song, dance, and culture.