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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

Topic: Folklife 2013

You’ve found all of The Seattle Times’ coverage of Folklife 2013. Welcome, and read away.

May 27, 2013 at 8:53 PM

Folklife Festival 2013: It’s a wrap

Note: This is an overview of Folklife 2013. Go here for detailed daily coverage and photos.

With alternately soggy and sunny days over Memorial Day weekend, the Northwest Folklife Festival drew slightly fewer folks to Seattle Center than Executive Director Robert Townsend would have liked.

The Portland band Closely Watched Trains plays Folklife 2013. Photo by Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times.

The Portland band Closely Watched Trains plays Folklife 2013. Photo by Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times.

But on Monday, based on counts from the first three days, Townsend estimated that the sprawling, ever-popular, free spree still would bring in 220,000-230,000 people.

“We’ll have some work to do before the end of the year,” Townsend said of his $1.2 million organization, “but we’re not in debt.”

Attendance was light Friday, strong Saturday and Sunday, when the sun made an appearance, and slow on Monday, as a light rain persisted.

Still, the crowds came out, some with umbrellas, some braving the drizzle in stoic Seattle style.

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Comments | More in Festivals | Topics: Baby Gramps, En Canto, Folklife 2013

May 26, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Folklife Sunday — old friends, new voices

I had a lovely, if a little moist morning emceeing the Fountain Lawn stage Sunday, reconnecting with old Folklife friends, being reminded of what a truly community event Folklife is, and hearing some terrific new players. Thanks to the legacy of the late Dumi Maraire, Seattle’s one of America’s hotspots for Zimbabwean marimba music, but I had never seen the Chiroto Marimba Ensemble. That’s probably because they’re based in Idaho, and their leader, Tendai Muparutsa, lives in Massachusetts, where he teaches African music at Williams College.

tendai

Tendai Muparutsa of the Chiroto Marimba Ensemble

You could see your breath in the air at 11 a.m. when the band started, entertaining a faithful crowd that gathered for their thundering vibrations and soon everyone in the vicinity was feeling the warmth.

Volunteers tend to come back to Folklife year after year after year. I was lucky enough to be working with Tom DiStefano, who has volunteer stage managed at Folklife for 27 years. It was great catching up with Tom — he said business is finally picking up at his West Seattle wine shop now that the Great Recession moves closer to the center of the rear view mirror — and it was good to have someone in charge who really knows what he’s doing. Tom kept me hopping.

Most folks who come to the festival have no idea what really goes into making it happen, but there are hundreds of volunteers like Tom, as well as staff production people who are hired and Seattle Center stage hands and sound engineers. It’s quite an array and a great crew.

Performers play for free at Folklife, but if you’re a country fan you may have already paid a cover charge to hear Jessica Lynne at the Little Red Hen or the Tractor. I had never seen Lynne before, but I was glad I did. What a great voice and terrific stage presence. “You’re not my cowboy,” she informed the man on the receiving end of one of her songs, as she strummed her guitar and belted out the lyrics with honky tonk attitude. Lynne is from Denmark of all places, but you can’t hear a trace of a Danish accent (one of her parents was American). Her family was out in the crowd, cheering her on. She’s been in Seattle two years and has several gigs coming up around town. Check her out. She’s got an album : “Spiritual Cowgirl.”

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May 25, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Folklife 2013 mellow and sunny Saturday

The sun banished the clouds Saturday afternoon at Folklife 2013 as the quintet Song Sparrow Research spread its slow, mellow vocals — cello, bass, guitar, tinker bell keyboards and drums — over the comfy crowd on the Fountain Lawn. Walking across the grounds was like spinning the radio dial, as a marimba duo plinked and plonked…

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May 24, 2013 at 7:31 PM

Friday at Folklife 2013: A day to play

Logan Adolf  of Tacoma played rock 'n' roll on his banjo with no accompaniment, working for donations at Seattle Center Friday. By Alan Berner/The Seattle Times.

Logan Adolf of Tacoma played rock ‘n’ roll on his banjo with no accompaniment, working for donations at Seattle Center Friday. By Alan Berner/The Seattle Times.

Despite its 2013 cultural focus on the labor history of Washington State, the 42nd annual Northwest Folklife Festival was not about work but mostly about play on opening day.

Taking advantage of lighter crowds and mostly sunny weather Friday, festival-goers celebrated the first day of the four-day festival at Seattle Center by browsing arts and crafts booths, sampling ethnic foods, listening to live music and dancing to contra tunes at Warren’s Roadhouse at Fisher Pavilion. (View a photo gallery here.)

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Comments | More in Festivals | Topics: Folklife 2013, Philip Boulding, Seattle Center

May 24, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Folklife day 1: Strike up the bands

The NW Folklife Festival got off to a mellow start Friday afternoon with mostly clear skies and light crowds. Ukulele players happily co-existed with brass bands; belly dancers with Irish cloggers. Here, the LoveBomb Go-Go Marching Band of Portland Oregon stopped near the Fisher Green Stage to entertain onlookers. Folklife continues through Monday night…

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May 24, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Get to the Folklife Festival the easy way

What’s the easy way? Depends on where you’re coming from. Folklife has put together a really great web page detailing all possible options: Driving and parking; public transportation; and biking. Note that there’s a special Folklife shuttle operating Saturday, Sunday and Monday from Northgate and from Renton to Seattle Center. The fare is $2.50. The page

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Comments | More in Festivals | Topics: Folklife 2013, Seattle Center

May 24, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Go outside! Festival season is here; and we’re there

The clouds are parting, if only intermittently, and summer is at least a possibility. That means it’s time to listen to music in a big crowd outdoors.  And we’ll be there for it all, at the Gorge for Sasquatch! (complete coverage here) and Seattle Center for the Folklife festival (here). Check back with…

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Comments | More in Festivals | Topics: festivals, Folklife 2013, Sasquatch 2013