NW Folklife Memorial Day Weekend Schedule

Largest Community-Powered Arts and Culture Festival in the U.S. from May 22-25 at Seattle Center 
NW FolklifeNW Folklife

Seattle’s Northwest Folklife Monday announced the full schedule of events for the 44th annual Northwest Folklife Festival, the country’s largest community-powered arts and culture Festival and the non-profit’s signature event. The Festival features over 5,000 performers from over 65 different cultural communities that help to make up the Northwest, available to all for no admission charge, thanks to donations from the community at large. The Northwest Folklife Festival runs May 22-25 on Seattle Center grounds, with hours of operation each day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

This year’s Festival is rich with live music, dozens of different cultural dance performances; first-time Indie Roots showcase curators, all-new additions to the family-friendly Discovery Zone, and a Cultural Focus – Beats, Rhymes & Rythms: Traditional Roots of Today’s Branches – whose programming schedule explores the traditional roots of Hip-Hop in the Northwest.

“We’re thrilled to showcase the five elements of hip-hop and their origins, going back to early jazz scatting, African dance and music, Brazilian capoeira, and spoken word,” Programs Director, Kelli Faryar commented. “We’re working with 206 Zulu and Arts Corps to bring in youth b-boys and b-girls, and SIFF who is will play amazing films, including ‘Louder Than a Bomb’ and ‘The Hip-Hop Fellow.’ The music is incredible — The Soul of Seattle showcase will feature Grace Love And The True Love’s, the popular Love City Love Collective, and then some.”

Musically, the 2015 Festival marks the launch of the new, intimate Back Porch Stage to the Northwest Court area of the Festival grounds. Returning to the Festival after nearly 10 years, the Back Porch Stage will showcase traditional styles of American music including Blues, Folk, Old Time, Bluegrass, R&B and more. Festival-goers will also find local DJs from 91.3 KBCS, 90.3 KEXP, and DJ Collective Sophisticated Mama in the various Beer Gardens throughout the Festival grounds spinning records during stage downs.

“This might be the best Northwest Folklife ever,” Director of Underwriting and Sales for 91.3 KBCS, Patrick Whalen commented. “We love the hip-hop roots theme and can’t wait to see it expressed across four days of great music, fresh ideas and real community…we’re bringing some KBCS DJs to spin beats, rhymes and rhythms alongside the Fisher Green stage daily. As ever, 91.3 KBCS is proud to partner with Northwest Folklife.”

The Festival’s Indie Roots programming thrives with more than seven showcases curated in partnership with a number of individuals including the celebrated event producers of Seattle Living Room Shows as well as Hearth Music and all-new this year, Underwood Stables who will bring not only a music showcase including bands Caleb and Walter, Lowman Palace, Cahalen Morrison, and The Ganges River Band, but also their outlaw swing dance floor.

Northwest Folklife will present over 100 cultural dance showcases throughout the four-day Festival including Irish Set Dancing, Brazilian music and dance, clogging, Russian Folk Dance, Thai Classical dance, Flamenca, bellydance, Bollywood, Hip-Hop, a Palestian dance “Dabke,” and much more.

“We are excited to introduce the Vietnamese community to the Northwest Folklife audience for the first time – they will be presenting a beautiful dance showcase in the Cornish Playhouse with performances from the Duoc Su Lion dance team and Huong Viet Performing Arts Group,” Faryar commented.

The family-friendly hot spot, The Discovery Zone, will be packed with all kinds of hands-on workshops and activities that young Festival-goers have grown to love. Brand new this year, the Discovery Zone boasts an all-ages Drawing Jam produced by the Gage Academy of Art and a rhythm instrument exploration experience from Seattle Children’s Museum. Performances will take place in the Discovery Zone throughout the four days of the Festival with one exception; the incredibly popular Kindiependent showcase outgrew the Discovery Zone long ago. Seattle’s favorite kindie bands like The Not-Its! and Recess Monkey will perform on the Fountain Lawn Stage on Monday, May 25 from 11 a.m. to  3 p.m. The most exciting family-friendly addition to the Festival this year is Seattle Center’s all-new imaginative, artist-created outdoor play area called Artists at Play, a permanent fixture on grounds that debuts on Friday, May 22, the first day of the Festival.

Northwest Folklife’s 2015 Culture Focus program “Beats, Rhymes, and Rhythms: Traditional Roots of Today’s Branches” will explore the roots of Hip-Hop in the Northwest through visual art galleries; discussion panels on race and social justice with community members; live music from local artists like Draze, Owour Arunga, and Otieno Terry; dance performance including a Break Dancing challenge from Arts Corps featuring Massive Monkees; and spoken word including poetry readings from 4Culture’s Poetry on Buses poets and the City of Seattle’s inaugural Seattle Youth Poet Laureate finalist readings.

Popular programs that will return to the Northwest Folklife Festival include the second annual Paperstock featuring the prints of many current and popular concert poster artists and silkscreen print artists. On-site screen-printing demonstrations will show attendees how prints are produced and Festival-goers will be able to peruse art and maybe even find their favorite new print to purchase directly from the artist. Fiber artists will once again take over the Fisher Apron (between the Roadhouse and Fisher Green stage) with their DIY projects, a number of parades will breakout at various times and places during the Festival, films will be shown at SIFF Film Center, and contra dancing will take over Warren’s Roadhouse in the Fisher Pavilion.

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