KEXP Suggests: Folklife Festival this weekend! Free!

The 42nd Annual Folklife Festival will commence Friday, May 24th (that’s tomorrow) at Seattle Center and is sure to be packed – as audiences have come to expect – with musicians, artists and a wide variety of delicious food options.

Some musical highlights for this year’s event include the Fin Records Showcase, featuring The Lures and Red Jacket Mine on Friday from 6-9pm on the Fountain Lawn Stage; a Bollywood dance performance on Friday from 7-8pm at the International Dance Stage at the Ex Hall; a Jimi Hendrix tribute on Saturday from 1-4pm in the EMP Sky Church; Levi Fuller’s Ball of Wax Showcase on Saturday 7-10pm at The Vera Project; the Giddy Up! Country Roots Show, featuring Country Lips and Annie Ford Band Sunday from 6:30-9pm on the Fountain Lawn Stage; and, rounding out the weekend, Vamos!: A Latin Dance Party on Sunday from 6:45-10pm at the Xfinity Mural Amphitheater.

“There’s a lot to look forward to,” said festival organizer Kelli Faryar. “Folklife is truly a ‘choose your own adventure’. You can show up looking forward to the big, brass sounds of the Balkan Misfits show and stumble across genres of music, styles of dances and ‘strange’ instruments you’ve never seen before. I suggest picking a few shows to catch, but showing up ready to discover something new.”

Faryar also noted that the festival’s “indie roots” programming – a new wrinkle of the festival – has grown. “It has been extended across five stages this year, instead of one stage out on Broad Street. So you can catch the next Seattle ‘sweetheart’ band on our biggest outdoor stage to our smallest, intimate setting.”

Along with the music, there will be plenty of food options, such as Corn Roasters, Bumpus Burgers, Little C’s Funnel Cakes, Pat’s Philly Steak Sandwiches, Peanut Butter Goodness preparing deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Piecora’s New York Pizza slices, and Zieglers Bratwurst Haus offering German sausages. Food booths will be placed alongside performance venues and merchandise booths where jewelry, art works and souvenirs can be purchased.

As Folklife is one of the Northwest’s most family friendly festivals, there will also be lots of activities for kids, including toy boat building, a milk carton derby, puppet making and mosaic crafting from recycled materials.

Launched in 1972, Folklife focuses on creating opportunities to share music, art and culture throughout the Pacific Northwest. The festival begins daily at 11am and concludes 10pm Friday through Sunday, and at 9pm on Monday. The event is free to the public, but asks for a $10 donation per person per day.

“Folklife is the largest free music and arts festival in the nation. No performer is getting paid and there’s thousands of volunteers making it happen. It’s not about selling tickets, or getting the big headliner to sell-out… it’s about showcasing who we are.”

Archived audio from prior Folklife performances can be found here:

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