Seattle Culture

Events in Seattle

Folklife Northwest Folklife Festival

The Northwest Folklife Festival is an annual event that includes: folk and traditional music, arts, and crafts that take place over the Memorial Day weekend in Seattle Washington at the Seattle Center.  It brings together an estimated 250,000 visitors, 1,800 volunteers, and more than 6,000 musicians, and other performers. Admission is free, but greeters at the entrances encourage visitors to make a donation.

Many think of the Northwest Folklife as just acoustic guitars and vintage dobros; it is also hip-hop, rockabilly, gospel, indie rock, soul, blues, and much more.  The festival is the classic event that begins the summer in the Pacific Northwest.  Here is just a sample of what you will see at the 42nd annual Folklife Festival.


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. It will feature 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.
Scheduled for 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.
Scheduled for Sunday, May 26 from 3:00-4:00pm, Center House Theatre.

You Can’t Fake Fresh—Northwest Live-Band Hip Hop:  Featuring Global Heat, The Sharp Five, Eastern Sunz and Irukandji Physics of Fusion.
Scheduled for 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. This showcase honors the music of Hendrix as well as the important musicians that came before him. This is sponsored by the Washington Blues Society.
Scheduled for 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.
Scheduled for 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.
Scheduled for Saturday, May 25 from 6:00-9:00pm on the Fountain Lawn Stage.

Vamos: A Latin Dance Party; join the rhythms of The Cumbieros, Cambalache, and SuperSones.
Scheduled for Monday, May 27 from 6:45-10:00pm at the Xfinity Mural Amphitheater

Groove Train: 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.
Scheduled for 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 hit the stage during this Indie Roots showcase. The lineup includes The Sojourners, The Sumner Brothers, Crow Quill Night Owls and The Slide Brothers.

Scheduled for Monday, May 27th from 3:30 to 6:10 PM on the KBCS Fisher Green Stage


Northwest Folklife Festival: Memorial Day Weekend – May 24th through May 27th

Art Showcase: Complete Schedule

Music Samples: Folklife Streaming Audio

Northwest Folklife Blog: Blog

Directions: Map-Directions

Metro Bus: Online Trip Planner

Tickets: Free…There is no charge, Free

Volunteer Opportunities: Event Staff

When: Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-27, 2013. Friday-Sunday 11am-10pm; Monday 11am-9pm.

Where: The Seattle Center – 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109.

Parking Tip: The festival draws a huge crowd, so show up early for easier parking. Even the paid lots near the Seattle Center will fill up fast.


  1. It sounds like Seattle would be a hard place to get bored in!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful event.
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