Northwest Folklife Festival


photo by Christopher Nelson

Rotation Guidelines for the Northwest Folklife Festival Participation

Northwest Folklife promotes inclusivity and is committed to providing opportunities for everyone to share cultural arts, heritage, and traditions. As we move forward to program future Northwest Folklife Festivals, it’s become increasingly necessary to develop a plan to engage current communities, cultivate new communities, and effectively collaborate with the Cultural Focus committee.

Therefore, Northwest Folklife has a Rotation Policy, meaning, a performer/group or showcase will forgo a year or more of participation in order to allow someone else a chance to perform. Northwest Folklife is committed to showcasing programming representative and reflective of our diverse Pacific Northwest communities, so this does not mean the rotated genre/region/culture will not be represented in individual performances throughout at the Festival. Northwest Folklife’s Programming Coordinators will continue working closely with our Community Coordinators to navigate these rotations in an equitable manner that reflects the needs and desires of the communities we serve.

Guiding principles:

  • Support the representation of all Northwest communities
  • Promote the cultivation of new and emerging communities
  • Ensure equitable representation across ethnic, specified genre, geographic and demographic
  • Manage over-representation of specific genres/cultures/audiences
  • Identify ways to incorporate rotated communities in additional year-round programming to cultivate  the connection between the community and Northwest Folklife

In practice:

  • Examine historical schedule of performances and showcases to create recommendations for rotation schedule
  • Examine geographically identified categories for representation
  • The Programming Department, in partnership with Community Coordinators, will identify the suitable venue for each showcase (ie: move showcases to new venues to encourage diversity and to share resources among the communities)
  • Identify venues that require specific rotation (e.g., Armory Court Stage and groups with recorded music)
  • Identify Communities on track to be a Cultural Focus, highlight dates or suggested dates for future Festival inclusion.
  • Make note of exceptions:

o   Where one community is the only representative of the geographic category

o   Where there is a cultivation plan in place

o   Where the community is working on a time/date specific show (e.g., 100th Anniversary of the Bread and Roses Strike)

  • Implement  rotation schedule, and review the rotation schedule each June, referencing preceding Festival
  • Communicate rotation schedule to community coordinators, and work with communities that choose to rotate out of sequence to assure future representation
  • Ensure the rotation guidelines are communicated to stakeholders and reviewed annually

If you have any questions or concerns about this policy, please contact the programming department at