KEXP Suggests: Northwest Folklife Festival 5/27-5/30


From outside the windows of KEXP’s New Home, we can see them setting up: it’s almost time for the 2016 Northwest Folklife Festival! This Memorial Day Weekend, May 27th through 30th, Seattle Center will transform itself into a multi-cultural arts and music extravaganza.

This year’s focus is “The Power of the Human Voice through Song,” a proposal from long-time Northwest Folklife Community Coordinator James Roe, who sadly passed away last summer. Kelli Faryar, Programs Director for Northwest Folklife, explained, “When Jim passed away… we envisioned a festival of many, many voices coming together to sing in his honor, and ‘The Power of the Human Voice through Song’ concept was born.”

As they explain on their website, “Singing is one of the most natural means of human communication and expression. Songs play an essential part of the social fabric of cultures – every ritual a community shares calls for its own song: birth, marriage, death, the planting and harvest, the coming of spring and fertility, the changing of the seasons. Songs are used for protest, for love and honor. They are used as expressions of unity through national anthems and sports teams. Songs are used to sing babies to sleep and to accompany a child’s play. Singing is thus an ideal tool to express the common themes of humanity and culture.”

Lending their voices to the choir of Folklife will be 30 different bands over 9 different showcases throughout all four days of the Festival. A few KEXP favorites on the lineup include: Hurray for the Riff Raff, Country Lips, Karl Blau, and more.

And KEXP DJ Greg Vandy will read from his new book, 26 Songs in 30 Days: Woody Guthrie’s Columbia River Songs and the Planned Promised Land in the Pacific Northwest, on Monday, May 30th at 1:30 PM in the SIFF Film Center and at 3:00 PM from the Fisher Green stage.

As always, KEXP is proud to sponsor the Indie Roots Showcase. This year’s showcase was programmed by our friends at the Treefort Music Fest, and you can find the bands across all four stages: the Fisher Green Stage, the Fountain Lawn Stage, Vera Project Stage, and the Folklife Café. Check out the schedule below.

And don’t forget: Folklife is always FREE, thanks to on-going community donations!


Kickin’ Up Dust Showcase
Featuring The Lucky Shots, The Gortexans, Johnson Country, and The Fentons
6:00 ­ 9:00 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage


Next Generation: Indie Roots
Featuring Crow’s Share, Dark Madrona, The Banner Days, and The Bruised Hearts Revue
7:00 ­ 9:55 p.m., Vera Project

Seattle Living Room Showcase
Featuring The Cloves, Lanford Black, The Hollers, and Sarah Gerritsen and the Shadow Catchers
12:30 ­ 3:15 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage


91.3 KBCS Acoustic Showcase
Featuring Naomi Wachira, Luz Elena Mendoza, Hurray For The Riff Raff, and The Sweet Lowdown
12:30 ­ 3:20 p.m., Fisher Green Stage

Ear to the Ground: Indie Roots
Featuring Murfitt and Main and Fish and Bird
2:00 ­ 3:25 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage

Folk, Redefined
Featuring Familiar Wild, Shelita Burke, Intisaar, and Aimee Wilson
3:00 ­ 6:00 p.m., Vera Project

Kinfolk: Ancient Voices
Featuring Jean Rohe and Meghan Yates
1:00 ­ 2:10 p.m., Folklife Cafe

Underwood Stables Show
Featuring Caleb and Walter, Denver, Silverhands, and Country Lips
6:00 ­ 9:00 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage


Treefort Music Showcase
Featuring Hillfolk Noir, Rabbit Wilde, and Karl Blau
3:45 ­ 5:45 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage

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