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2013 WRAP REPORT Artwork by Drew Christie.



A CELEBRATION OF THE NORTHWEST The 2013 Northwest Folklife Festival brought together over 5,000 performers across 22 stages, with the aid of more than 800 volunteers. This year the Festival drew an estimated crowd of 230,000 people to Seattle Center over four days. The crowds enjoyed surprisingly fair weather for most of the event, and spirits were high despite periods of rain on the final day. But, as the lead singer from The Sojourners noted, “Rain crowds are the best audience, because you know they really want to be here!” Festival highlights included a fascinating and moving discussion with Washington State “Rosies,” women who went to work in the shipyards during WWII. The talk was part of the Cultural Focus “Washington Works.” Energetic crowds were in full force for a Saturday night performance by soul band Eldridge Gravy, as well as Monday evening’s performance by reggae legend Clinton Fearon and his Boogie Brown Band. Rain was even embraced during the stirring set by pedal-steel band The Slide Brothers on Monday afternoon. And the Exhibition Hall was standing-room-only during Friday night’s Bollywood Showcase, a good sign that next year’s Cultural Focus on India will be hugely popular and engaging. The 2013 Festival reaffirmed Northwest Folklife as essential to the cultural fabric of the Northwest by uniting a diverse group of people with the common interest in music, dance, art, and the unique character of the region.


IN 2013, NORTHWEST FOLKLIFE CELEBRATED WORK. The Cultural Focus, or theme, of the 42nd annual Festival, was “Washington Works,” a multimedia program that featured panel discussions, special presentations, demonstrations, film screenings, storytelling, sing-a-longs and more, all on the topic of working. The program was part of a project that explored labor culture and history in the Northwest, a join effort between Northwest Folklife and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Festivalgoers had the opportunity to learn more about other people’s jobs through panels and presentations on the Narrative Stage at SIFF Cinema (sponsored by KUOW 94.9FM), at art exhibits in the Lopez Room, during demonstrations and storytelling sessions in the Olympic Room, and in the discussions and exchanges that took place throughout the weekend. Highlights of the schedule included a presentation by Seattle Public Librarians that featured their favorite fiction and nonfiction works about labor; a bed-making contest with members of Unite Here! Local 8 (representing the hospitality industry) showing us the way it’s done in hotels; a panel made up of some of Washington’s “Rosie the Riveters,” women who stepped up to work traditionally male jobs such as shipbuilding during WWII; stories told by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 77’s linemen about working in winter storms to get the electricity back on; an exhibit of the work of New Deal printmaker Richard V. Correll on display in the Lopez Room all weekend; and even stories from two local ministers and a rabbi about the “work” of being a clergyman or woman. Northwest Folklife worked with the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at the University of Washington, and other labor history groups to present a variety of programs as part of “Washington Works.”

Washington “Rosies” (left); Labor exhibit in the Lopez Room (right). Photos by Dan Thornton.



235,000 Attendees

1116 Individual Friends of Folklife Donors

5,100 Performers

826 Scheduled Performances

22 Stages

65 Genres of Music

740 Volunteers

4,536 Volunteer Hours

20 Media Sponsors

$100,585 Media Sponsorship Value

$0 Admission Fee

Dancers in the Roadhouse. Photo by Dan Thornton.

Photo by Dan Thornton.

Facebook Reach: 171,000 Total Facebook Fans: 15,200

Twitter Reach: 101,000 Twitter Followers: 1,764

Festival Website Visits: 409,000




The Festival was pleased to partner again with several local radio stations, reaching a wide demographic. All sponsor stations ran promotional spots before the event, including KUOW, KBCS, and— newly returning this year--KSER. NPR music affiliate KEXP devoted a special edition of the show “The Roadhouse” to the Festival Preview Party on April 25, with live performances by bands scheduled as part of our Indie Roots programming. Editorial coverage included an interview with programmer Michelle Demers-Shaevitz on the show “Get Active with Pat Pauley” that airs on Alternative Talk 1150 KKNW, and a live interview about the Cultural Focus, Washington Works, with Deputy Director Deborah Fant, followed by an in-studio musical performance, on NPR affiliate KUOW’s popular “Weekday” program. Programmers of the Washington Works series also appeared live on KBCS during the Music + Ideas show.

Print & Online

Northwest Folklife continued its partnership with The Seattle Times for both the production of the souvenir Festival guide and promotional support. The Times printed 235,000 copies of the guide, with half included as an insert in regional editions. The Times also wrote several feature-length stories and blog posts about the Festival and posted highlights and photo galleries online for each day of the event. Other notable print coverage included extensive previews from No Depression, ParentMap, The Everett Herald, The International Examiner, The SunBreak, and the alt-weeklies The Stranger and Seattle Weekly. Previews and calendar items were featured in Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, Alaska Airlines Magazine, iBuki Magazine, City Arts Magazine, and The Olympian. Online coverage included write-ups on the sites,,, West Seattle Blog, Fresh Picked Seattle, and Downtown Seattle. This year we were pleased to have stories and profiles on niche and local sites that had not featured the Festival in recent years, including, The News Tribune, Kingston Community News, Seattle Office of Film & Music, and Seattle Dances. Special follow-ups reflecting on the Festival events ran in the Seattle Times, Northwest Asian Weekly,, and at The Economist online. An ad ran in the Seattle Times after the Festival, thanking the community for their support and involvement.


Northwest Folklife was pleased to have KCTS 9 as our primary television sponsor for the second year. KCTS 9, a local PBS affiliate, ran promotional spots about the Festival in the weeks leading up to the event. The station also spent an entire day on grounds collecting footage for a feature piece that will run this summer on the arts & culture program PIE. Other television sponsors included Univision-KUNS, and the Seattle Channel returned as a broadcast sponsor, airing segments from our Northwest Stories series to promote the Festival.


Swing dancers in the Arm

ory. Photo by Dan Thornt on.


Voted one of the 10 best cultural festivals in May in the world by, a division of USA Today Travel Northwest Folklife continually offers up one of the most diverse festival experiences around. Where else can you take in Balkan brass, Bollywood dance, indie rock, and street busker tunes in a matter of mere minutes? --Seattle Metropolitan Olympia’s alternative-rock label, K Records — celebrated Monday at The VERA Project — fits in as nicely as bagpipers, indie-folksters and high-school jazzers. --Seattle Times

One of the best things about Folklife is the chance to discover emerging artists alongside established ones in an engaging and nurturing format you won’t find anywhere else. --Seattle Weekly Walking across the grounds was like spinning the radio dial, as a marimba duo plinked and plonked out Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” jazz saxophones sliced through air, drum circles percolated from under the trees and children screamed as they ran in and out of the Seattle Center fountain spray. --Seattle Times

The Northwest Folklife Festival, Seattle’s free four-day party, is a celebration of cultures where people can listen to music, try out dances and hear stories from all around the world. --Everett Herald

OUR SPONSORS CASH, IN-KIND & MEDIA SPONSORs The Northwest Folklife Festival is presented in partnership with Seattle Center.

Photo by Ryan Davis.

MEDIA Television KCTS 9 Seattle Channel Univision-KUNS Radio KCTS 94.9FM KEXP 90.3FM KBCS 91.3FM KSER 90.7FM Hollow Earth Radio Print The Seattle Times Seattle Weekly The Celtic Connection Epoch Times Northwest Asian Weekly Web Mother Jones No Depression ParentMap The SunBreak Seattle Pipeline Washington Blues Society Victory Music



Bathfitter BECU Ben & Jerrys Blue Moon Bridge Port car2go Clowns Unlimited Comcast Dole Deschutes Eventsfy Frankfurter Fungi Perfecti GEICO Pacific Continental Bank Proletariat Renewal by Andersen The New York Times Trumer Pils

Brew Dr. Kombucha Caffe Ladro Central Co Op Choice Organic Tea Courtyard Marriott Cravedog Dave’s Killer Bread Einstein Bagels Evergreen Hearing & Speech Clinic Executive Hotel Pacific Seattle Field Roast Fresh Breeze Organic Dairy Gibson Guitar Guitar Center Honest Tea Hosteling International Mediterranean Inn Metropolitan Market Mighty-O Donuts Morgan Sound Mt. Townsend Creamery Odwalla Panera Bread Partners Crackers Pepsi PODS Popchips PTT Communications Pyramid Staging QFC Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Safeway Seattle Fudge Seattle Parks & Recreation Taco Del Mar The Bread Garden The Essential Baking Company Trader Joe’s Urban Press

All photos by Dan Thornton.

Thank You for a Wonderful Festival!


Fame Riot. Photo by Dan Thornton.

2013 Northwest Folklife Festival Wrap Report  
2013 Northwest Folklife Festival Wrap Report