Northwest Folklife Festival Starts Friday at Seattle Center

It’s Memorial Day weekend, so that means it’s time for the Northwest Folklife Festival — the 40-something music fest is still free ($10 suggested donation), and expected to draw more 200,000 people to Seattle Center between its opening Friday, May 24, at 11 a.m., and its closing Monday night, May 27th, around 9 or 10 p.m. or whenever the corn liquor runs out. King County Metro will be on weekend and holiday service schedules, but they’re also running special Folklife shuttles. Car-share service car2go is running a drop-off zone 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. each day, on 2nd Ave N. between Roy St. and Mercer St.

(Graphic: KING 5)
(Graphic: KING 5)

The SunBreak is the proud sponsor of Saturday afternoon’s “Hot Pickin’ & Harmonies Bluegrass Showcase,” featuring the talents of Pearly Blue, The Weavils, Pickled Okra, and Badger Pocket. This isn’t an Mumfordian affectation. We like bluegrass! Seth plays the banjo for god’s sake. (Yes, he’s taken, ladies.) So we chose that one. Now excuse us while we go look for the perfect hay straw to stick in our teeth, and a good, arm-cradlin’ jug of ‘shine.

But actually, if you haven’t been to Folklife in a while, or ever, you might be surprised to know the folks aren’t limited to denizens of Appalachian hollows and Celtic fens. There’s Balkan, Middle Eastern, French, Romanian, and Latin music, even a Bollywood dance party. There’s a lot of participatory dancing, and for when you get hungry, a host of food vendors, and beer gardens, plural.

Here, take a look at the BuzzFeed-friendly “28 Great Things to See at Folklife.” And don’t miss this at the Center House Theatre: “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.”