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Folklife 50th

One of Seattle Center’s most enduring community partnerships is with Northwest Folklife, an active, year-round arts organization that produces the annual Northwest Folklife Festival, this year celebrating its 50th anniversary. The four-day event, held over Memorial Day weekend, serves as the start of summer on the grounds. Each year (apart from last year), the festival presents around 5,000 artists on 25 stages representing over 100 cultural and artistic communities to about 250,000 people.  

As Northwest Folklife Festival celebrates its 50th anniversary, virtually this year because of the pandemic, it continues to live into its mission “to preserve the integrity of traditional arts in the Northwest and to encourage their growth by providing a forum for performance and the exchange of ideas and skills with the public.” It is now one of the largest and last remaining major community festivals in the country. 

The partnership between Northwest Folklife and the City of Seattle through Seattle Center is codified through City ordinance. The commitment reflects City of Seattle values around inclusion and cultural understanding–and stands as a unique and positive collaboration that benefits the whole community. The Agreement that creates the partnership calls on the City to “co-sponsor and co-promote on the Seattle Center grounds an annual folk and ethnic arts, crafts and entertainment festival thematically oriented to folklife and folklore…free and open to the public.” 

Within the partnership, Northwest Folklife plans, organizes, stages and produces the festival. Seattle Center helps promote it, provides the space for the sprawling event and provides staff to cover a number of functions including technical equipment operations, sound, stage, security, admissions, event service, janitorial and other labor, recycling and garbage. 

A happy 50 years to NW Folklife Festival!

Check it out Memorial weekend by clicking here.

#didyouknow #seattlecenter #centerspotlight #folklifefestival

About Seattle Center: 

Connect to the extraordinary at Seattle Center, an active civic, arts and family gathering place in the core of our region. More than 30 cultural, educational, sports and entertainment organizations that reside on the grounds, together with a broad range of public and community programs, create thousands of events on the 74-acre campus and attract over 12 million visitors each year. At Seattle Center, part of Uptown Arts & Cultural District, our purpose is to create exceptional events, experiences and environments that delight and inspire the human spirit to build stronger communities. Activities at the Center generate $1.864 billion in business activity and $631 million in labor income.