The 42nd Northwest Folklife Festival: Music from Accordion to Zither
Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-27
Folklife is back and better than ever. Guest Ryan Davis shares this celebration of the venerable festival.
Think Northwest Folklife is just acoustic guitars and vintage dobros? Think again! Northwest Folklife is hip-hop, rockabilly, gospel, indie rock, soul, blues, and much more! And of course, the Festival is free and open to everyone.
Here are 10 incredible shows you might not have expected to see at Folklife:
206Zulu Jam featuring Junior Breakdance Competition and Hip-Hop Showcase: See youth from local b-boy/b-girl classes showcase their dancing in a one-on-one competition. Featuring danceable music for everyone by DJ Cues & DJ Zeta Barber, with special guest performance by artist Fleeta Partee. All b-boys & b-girls are invited to come support the next generation of dancers & participate in open circles!
Sunday, May 26 from 3:00-6:00pm at The VERA Project.
Gaelic Crankie Show: Artist and musician Su Truman revives and reinterprets a beloved Appalachian tradition. Half movie, half handmade folk art, crankies are animated drawings and papercuts on cloth “reels,” hand-cranked for movement, and presented with traditional Gaelic music accompaniment. Sounds amazing, right?
Sunday, May 26 from 3:00-4:00pm, Center House Theatre.
You Can’t Fake Fresh—Northwest Live-Band Hip Hop: *New!* The name says it all! Featuring Global Heat, The Sharp Five, Eastern Sunz and Irukandji Physics of Fusion.
Sunday, May 26 from 7:00-10:00pm in the EMP Sky Church.
Hey, Hendrix—Jimi Hendrix Tribute: Local musicians pay homage to one of the Northwest’s favorite sons. Jimi Hendrix took the blues to a place it had never been before, but the roots of that music were always an important element. This showcase honors the music of Hendrix as well as the important musicians that came before him. Presented in partnership with the EMP, whose “I Hear My Train A-Coming” exhibit is currently on display. Sponsored by the Washington Blues Society.
Saturday, May 25 from 1:00-4:00PM in the EMP Sky Church.
The Soul of Seattle: Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme (recently seen rocking Bumbershoot stages), join Soul Senate, Kissing Potion, The Braxmatics and Little Big Band for this popular dance party that both closes out and brings to a climax Saturday’s programming.
Saturday, May 25 from 7:00-10:00pm at the Xfinity Mural Amphitheatre.
Balkan Misfits Show: Sometimes it’s the old favorites that keep ‘em coming back! If you’ve never checked out this beloved showcase, make this the year. Experience the bad boys of Balkan brass, including Erev Rav, Bucharest Drinking Team, Orkestar Zirkonium and Chervona.
Saturday, May 25 from 6:00-9:00pm on the Fountain Lawn Stage.
Vamos!: A Latin Dance Party *New!* Save some energy on Sunday to join the rhythms of The Cumbieros, Cambalache, and SuperSones. That’s not enough? Parade in with VamoLá! Brazilian Drum & Dance Ensemble!
Monday, May 27 from 6:45-10:00pm at the Xfinity Mural Amphitheater.
Groove Train: *New!* Kick off the first night of the festival dancing under the stars with Luc and the Lovingtons, Unite One, Wet City Rockers, Gravity Kings and the Jefferson Rose Band. These groups are sure to move your body and soul.
Friday, May 24 from 7:00-10:00pm at the Xfinity Mural Amphitheater.
American Standard Time Showcase: Some of the best names in roots music (and a little bit of gospel!) will hit the stage during this Indie Roots showcase, brought to you by BECU, and hosted by KEXP’s Roadhouse radio presenter Greg Vandy. The lineup includes The Sojourners, The Sumner Brothers, Crow Quill Night Owls and The Slide Brothers. Sponsored by alt-country authority No Depression.
Monday, May 27 from 3:30-6:10pm on the KBCS Fisher Green Stage.
Bushwick Book Club Seattle Presents Original Music Inspired by the Wizard of Oz: If you haven’t experienced the latest trend in musical folk art, check out this showcase to enjoy the pages of L. Frank Baum’s novel brought to life with glorious original music. But don’t expect Judy Garland impersonations—we said original music!
Saturday, May 25 from 1:30-3:00pm in the Folklife Café.