Northwest Folklife is this Weekend May 27 – 30

Seattle’s 45th annual Northwest Folklife Festival, the country’s largest community-powered arts and culture Festival is this weekend! Beginning Friday, Northwest Folklife creates opportunities for all to celebrate, share, and participate in the evolving cultural traditions of the Pacific Northwest. Northwest Folklife Festival is the non-profit’s signature event, featuring over 5,000 performers from over 65 different cultural communities that help to make up the Northwest’s arts-rich landscape. 


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.

New to the Festival this year is the Open-Air Dance stage that will feature multi-cultural dance performances from around the world, sing-alongs in the Fisher Green Beer Garden, and a massive visual arts exhibition spread throughout the Festival grounds bringing together artists and curators of various disciplines. Marilyn Raichle’s “The Artist Within” displays works from those 60+ aiming to create new ways for people to think about Alzheimer’s and dementia; “Youth In Focus” empowers urban youth through photography, which will be on display; a project called “in·dig·e·nize,” organized by Tracy Rector and Melissa Ponder, offers up a portrait essay of indigenous people currently living in the Pacific Northwest; and Festival favorites PaperStock and Fiber Arts return.

Musically, the 2016 Festival features over 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. This year’s Indie Roots programming is robust with new showcase curator Treefort Music Fest – their showcase will feature performances from Rabbit Wilde, Karl Blau, and Hillfolk Noir. All other Indie Roots showcases are curated in part by community groups such as 91.3 KBCS, Seattle Living Room Shows, and Underwood Stables, and can be found on four different stages including the Fisher Green Stage, the Fountain Lawn Stage, Vera Project Stage, and the Folklife Café.


  • When: Friday, May 27 – Sunday, May 29 // 11:00 am to 10:00pm
    Monday, May 30 // 11:00 am to 9:00 pm
  • Where: Seattle Center
  • Tickets: Free! Donations of $10 welcome


Northwest Folklife’s 2016 Cultural Focus program explores the very first instrument – the human voice. The Cultural Focus explores the role of the human voice among communities and Northwest Folklife has programmed a presentation of “Woody Guthrie’s Songs from the Columbia River;” a multitude of film screenings at SIFF Film Center; musical performances from artists like the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium, gospel and spiritual sounds from The Sojourners and Khari McClelland, a showcase from Jack Straw Cultural Center featuring Juan Barco, Fisher Ensemble, Chenoa Egawa, and Alchymeia; Seattle Symphony’s Lullaby Project; as well as more interactive programs like music workshops, panel discussions, and participatory singing.

“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 45 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.”

The entire 2016 Northwest Folklife Festival schedule is online at

Northwest Folklife                |                    Seattle Center                 |           May 27 – May 30, 2016