Northwest Folklife Programs
Northwest Folklife Festival
Each year, on Memorial Day Weekend, we present the Northwest Folklife Festival at Seattle Center. The Festival has grown to be the largest free community arts celebration in the United States and a signature event in the Pacific Northwest. It presents the talents of more than 6,000 musicians, dancers, storytellers, and craftspeople from the region and engages audiences in an array of participatory activities, creating a multicultural celebration that enriches, educates, and inspires.
A concert series that allows Folklife to provide additional performance opportunities for Northwest artists. Northwest Folklife programming staff works to pair artists from diverse musical genres in new ways, expanding the definition of “folk” for its audiences.
Roots & Branches CD Series
An annual compilation of live recordings gathered during the annual Festival.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
The 41st Annual Northwest Folklife Festival in 2012, was a huge success with over 250,000 attendees. Over 6000 performers entertained crowds with 65 different genres of music and an expansive variety of traditional arts.
This year, Northwest Folklife has taken great steps toward reaching beyond Memorial Day Weekend to further our mission and service to the community. We believe that all people deserve the opportunity to create, share, and experience the incredible arts and culture of the people living in this region. On the heels of completing a significant strategic planning process and the successful implementation of the new Community Arts Engagement Mentorship Project (CAEMP) in conjunction with ArtsWA, Folklife is looking toward the future.
The CAEMP program managed and supported the development of two showcases of traditional Somali arts in partnership with the Somali Youth and Family Club in Renton. In the process of successfully developing this new program, Folklife built a partnership with the leaders of this community in an effort to respond to a very real need – to help them connect the youth of their community to the traditions of their native Somalia. The project created a new relationship with a population that is quickly growing in our region. It also provided a great source of inspiration to continue our partnership and to strengthen the Somali community’s sense of place and identity in the Pacific Northwest.