Northwest NEWS

May 21, 2001


Folklife Festival celebrates 30 years

by Deborah Stone
   In 1972 the first Northwest Regional Folklife Festival was produced as a joint project of the Seattle Folklore Society, the National Park Service, the National Folklife Festival Association and the City of Seattle.
   The event was part of the National Park Service's urban outreach efforts and was coordinated by the National Council for the Traditional Arts. Its overwhelming success made it an annual event, which is still going strong 30 years later.
   Each Memorial Day weekend, Seattle Center comes alive with an extensive, eclectic array of performances and activities, from music and dance to storytelling, visual arts, exhibits, workshops, crafts, food, demonstrations and more, celebrating ethnic and folk traditions from the Northwest region and around the world.
   Over 220,000 people attend with more than 6,000 participants contributing their talent, time and energy.
   Highlights for the 2001 Festival include "Han Madang: Korean American Communities of the Pacific Northwest," featuring master musicians from Seoul, Korea performing rare folk song traditions from North and South Korea, the Korean Arts Society of North America, traditional Korean gospel, zither music and dance performances, demonstrations of martial art forms, a traditional wedding ceremony, Korean games and an exhibit of contemporary art and artifacts depicting the ceremonies of Korean life cycles.
   A labor show with music from the Wobblies to Woody to the WTO, addressing socio-political issues, along with the festival's first-ever fiddle contest will help commemorate the event.
   Joining the line-up will be a variety of favorite songwriter veterans, legendary Celtic performers, a special Jewish show featuring cantorial music, U.W. visiting artists Kelak Lama from Tibet and Munir Bekin from Turkey, sharing traditional music from their respective countries, Tahitian and Maorian drumming and dancing, top Northwest bluegrass bands, the 5th annual Northwest Hip Hop Show, a Gospel gathering with a potpourri of traditional and contemporary gospel and Balkan and flamenco dancing.
   At the PCC World Kitchen, there will be cooking demonstrations of a variety of ethnic cuisine and the Ethnic Food Village will tempt the palate with over 35 booths serving international cuisine. The public can participate in impromptu jam sessions, spontaneous music making, demonstrations, and participatory dances available throughout the weekend.This is a festival for the whole family, with something for everyone's tastes and interests. There are over 19 performance stages and roughly 1,000 performances over the four days.
   Folklife has no admission charge; however, the suggested donation is $5 per person per day.
   For more information call (206) 684-7300 or check the festival's Web site at