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Schedule PDF and Mobile Options

Navigate the Festival — Your way!

There’s lots of ways to plan your 2012 Folklife experience.

First, you can download a PDF of the entire souvenir Festival guide, including the schedule grid, by clicking right here(Remember, the schedule, like life, is subject to change. The most up-to-date schedule is on the website.)

You can find copies at many libraries, or by stopping by the Folklife offices at 158 Thomas Street. Or, become a Friend of Folklife and have one delivered to your door!

Also, the entire schedule is online at Here you can see the entire lineup at once, or organize it by day by mousing over the date display (see image below).

You can also sort it a variety of other ways, such as by venue, by mousing over the “options” tab:

Or, you could mouse over the type of event you are looking for, to see all related events displayed:

This online scheduling tool has lots to offer! You can create a personalized schedule and view it on your mobile phone, even when not connected to the internet. You can also share your picks with your friends via Facebook and Twitter, or see who else has expressed interest in a showcase so you can meet up.

You can also view it on your mobile phone. When viewing the schedule, click on “Mobile” in the right navigation pane. Follow the prompts to allow the site to download to your phone, so you can access it even without cell coverage. No special app download necessary!

If you’d like to download a bookmark to the schedule on your phone’s homescreen, you can follow these directions from Lifehacker.

This video is a helpful way to learn your way around:



Don’t Be Overwhelmed! 27 Things to See at Folklife

Feeling like you don’t know where to start when you look at the over 6000 performers in this year’s schedule? Here are some highlights to help you navigate the 2012 Northwest Folklife Festival.


  • The Balkan Misfits Show: A swirling whirlwind that will sweep up even unsuspecting bystanders in its wake, featuring Balkan brass bands Orkestar Zirkonium and Nu Klezmer Army! Join the parade that leads to this show at the Fountain. Friday, May 25; Fountain Lawn Stage, 6:00–9:00 PM
  • The inaugural Northwest Stringband Throwdown: Shake a leg with these young, up-and-coming string bandsFriday, May 25; Fisher Green Stage 6:00– 9:00 PM
  • In the Loop: Is this the future of folk? Three groups play traditional music but use modern technology such as looping. Friday, May 25; Folklife Café, 7:00–9:00 PM
  • Legacy of NW Improvised Music: This is a brand-new showcase featuring some of the best improv jazz players in the region, including the renowned Wally Shoup. Friday, May 25; Center House Theatre, 7:00–10:00 PM
  • The first-ever Bollywood Showcase! This dance performance extravaganza will feature classic Bollywood hits and choreography. Friday, May 25; the Ex Hall, 8:30–10:00 PM



  • Next 50: Chiptune & VJ Showcase: This is the first year that our VJ and Chiptune artists have paired up to bring you a new–fashioned electronica showcase set to fresh, live video imagery. For those new to these terms, a VJ is a video jockey, a digital artist who combines video images with music in a real–time performance. Chiptune, or chip music, is synthesized electronic music that is made using the sound chips of vintage computers and video games such as old Game Boys, Nintendos, or Commodore 64 computers. Think of the Mario Brothers! Saturday, May 26; 1:00–4:00 PM, EMP Sky Church
  • American Standard Time Show: This popular show features Shelby Earl, whose latest album featured, as described by City Arts Magazine, “the great force of her raw and gorgeous alto.” Also on the bill is Denver, described by the Portland Mercury as “the finest sad–bastard roots rock act of the Pacific Northwest.” Now is the perfect time—and Folklife is the perfect place— to see these rising stars! Saturday, May 26; 1:00–4:00 PM, Indie Roots at Broad Street
  • Folk, Redefined: Catch up with all your favorite emerging indie roots acts that are changing the face of folk music in the Northwest. The show includes Big Sur, whose song “I’m Not Leaving” made Sound on the Sound’s top 40 songs of 2011; Smokey Brights, a band that describes itself as “some rock, some blues, some R&B, some twang.” Fort Union and Kris Orlowski complete the lineup. Saturday, May 26th; Indie Roots at Broad Street, 7:00–10:00 PM



  • The Bushwick Book Club Seattle Presents: Original Music Inspired by Dr. Seuss. Your favorite festival artists return to perform a song based on the marvelous Dr. Seuss. All ages welcome! Sunday, May 27; Folklife Café, 1:00–2:00 PM
  • Ukenalia Showcase: This traditional Hawaiian instrument has found a rabid new fanbase through online videos and hip new bands. Enjoy this tribute to the hottest rediscovered instrument of the year… And don’t miss The Canote Brothers! Sunday, May 27; Center House Theater, 3:00–5:00 PM
  • Polka Party! We are bringing back the classic for a new generation to discover. Join us! Sunday, May 27; Center House Court, 4:00–6:00 PM
  • The 1960s Folk Music Revival—Seattle StyleThis discussion brings together musicians who lived through the good ole days of the folk revival to talk about how those traditions have influenced music today. A possible place to spot sandals-with-socks as well as tie-dye! Sunday, May 27; Narrative Stage at SIFF Cinema, 12:00PM.
  • Artist Home Showcase: The first year of the show gets off with a bang. Bands include Cumulus (called by Seattle Weekly “a riot of fuzzy rock goodness”), Koko & the Sweetmeats and Dude York. For more info on Artist Home visit Sunday, May 27; Indie Roots at Broad Street, 3:00–6:00 PM          
  • All Ages | All Day: Members of the all-ages community are key players in the ongoing continuation of folk traditions as well as trailblazers for the arts in the coming years.  This day brings you a showcase of the Northwest youth artist community, with spoken word and song. Starting off the day is the Pongo Teen Writing Project, with performances by talented teen poets reading the work of incarcerated and at–risk youths, followed by The Old Fire House Showcase. The focus for the Old Firehouse community this year is on young female singer-songwriters from the Eastside.  Other contributors to this day of art for youth by youth are the local Seattle bands BOAT and Us on Roofs.  Closing the day is the All Ages Alternative showcase featuring The Deep Wake, runners up in the EMP’s Sound Off!, the ultimate all–ages battle of the bands. Sunday, May 27; EMP Sky Church, Noon to 10:00 PM
  • 206 Zulu Showcase: Featuring a reunion of Central Intelligence (performing for the first time at Folklife since the 90′s!) with Sista Hailstorm of 206 Zulu, Keep See of Junya League from Zulu Nation proper (Virginia). Sunday, May 27; VERA Project, 3:00–6:00 PM
  • The Southern Comfort Show: Southern tunes with Northwest roots. Enjoy blues and American from The Jelly Rollers, Spoonshine, and SweetKiss Momma. Sunday, May 28; Fountain Lawn Stage, 6:00 PM–9:00 PM.
  • Bellingham Circus Guild: This entourage of jugglers and acrobats will entertain the audience between acts in the Subdued Stringband Showcase. Sunday, May 27; Northwest Court Stage, 7:00–10:00 PM
  • Ghost Stories. Wind-down your long day of musical performances on Sunday with these creepy tales told live. Sunday, May 27; Center House Theatre, 8:00–10:00 PM.



  • Kindiependent Show is back: This super-popular performance is enjoyable indie rock for the whole familyFeaturing performances by Recess Monkey, Caspar Babypants and The Not-It’s! Monday, May 28; Fountain Lawn Stage, 11:00 AM–3:00 PM
  • Latin Folkloric Showcase: The whole family can enjoy these songs from South America, sung by talented songwriters and musicians. Monday, May 28; Fisher Green, 1:00–3:30 PM
  • A Tribute to Harry Smith and The Anthology of American Folk Music: Festival performers return to play a song from the classic anthology, which has its 60th anniversary this year! Monday, May, 28; Northwest Court, 1:00–4:00 PM
  • Clinton Fearon and the Boogie Brown Band. This legendary reggae artist used to play in The Gladiators. He’ll be closing out the Reggae Rising Party on Monday. The band almost certainly won’t be wearing tie-dye, but we’re pretty sure you’ll spot a few in the crowd. Monday, May 28; Mural Amphitheatre, 8:00 PM.



  • Spirit sampling at the Indie Roots Lawn at Broad Street. Local distillers will be gathering at the Indie Roots Stage beer garden each evening, offering samples of their local spirits.  Take the edge off and experience a regional take on whisky, gin, and vodka!
  • The 100th anniversary of the Bread & Roses Strike. One hundred years ago, textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, launched a militant, eight-week strike that popularized the slogan “Bread and Roses.”  The workers, mostly immigrant women, organized and fought not only for higher wages but also for dignity, respect, and better working conditions. That pivotal strike called into sharp focus the problems that existed with child labor, workplace safety, and an increasingly unequal distribution of wealth.  This year the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) is marking the anniversary with MayWorks, a month-long celebration that culminates at the 2012 Northwest Folklife Festival. The Bread & Roses theme will be reflected in exhibits featuring photographs, student art, and a textile installation; screenings of the statewide film contest winners; a panel featuring workers who built the Seattle Center fifty years ago; and discussions of current struggles that bring the lessons of the Bread & Roses Strike into the twenty-first century. There is also a series of special performances: the Labor Show, Voices of Occupy Hosted by David Rovics, and the Bread & Roses Commemoration: 100 Years of Justice and Dignity.
  • Meet our newest venue, SIFF Film Center:  Northwest Folklife partners with the Seattle International Film Festival in its new 94–seat theater to present the Narrative Stage at SIFF Cinema. Four days of cutting-edge films, panels, and performances will deal with issues of community, history, sustainability, and local heritage. Each day there will be a special lecture and slide presentation by Paula Becker and Alan J. Stein, authors of The Future Remembered: The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and Its Legacy, a new book about the history of the 1962 World’s Fair and Seattle Center. BookIt Repertory Theatre will present performances of its new play, The Future Remembered, based on the book. Stokley Towles will present his one–man showStormwater: Life in the Gutter. “Water Calling” short films will feature the themes of water and sustainability in the Puget Sound region. In addition, there will be discussions with union workers who built Seattle Center, readings from Jack Straw authors, documentaries about roots musicians from More Dust Than Digital, and performances by storytellers and local community artists. Friday, May 25th–Monday, May 28th; SIFF Film Center
  • Vendors from the Northwest…selling food & crafts from around the world! Almost all of our food vendors hail from towns you’ll recognize, but the cooks channel their ethnic roots with cuisine from Lebanon to Louisiana. It’s the biggest food cart pod in Seattle. Our craft vendors are also Northwesterners, bring goods to market like homemade kitchen utensils, herbal face creams, handcrafted ponchos and organic pillows.
  • Street performers galore! Enjoy one of the best Festival traditions: impromptu group sessions and dynamic, crowd-pleasing busking.

Festival Tips at Folklife’s Blog

We’ve recently revamped the Northwest Folklife website, and will now be blogging over there!

The Folklife Beat is place where you can get all the information and behind-the-scenes access for the programs and events we produce all year. We’ll post details about the ways Folklife intersects with the community, and announce ways that you can participate in the many ethnic and cultural arts events that take place in the Northwest.

As we get closer to the annual Northwest Folklife Festival, happening at Seattle Center each year on Memorial Day Weekend, we’ll be sharing insights into our programming, artist profiles, and tips on how to best “do” the festival.

Look forward to many guest bloggers, too, who will share their experience and traditions—and how you can be involved with those traditions with Folklife.

We encourage you to tell us what you think by posting comments or emailing our contributors. Northwest Folklife is a resource for all people of the Northwest to engage in the communities around them, and this blog is one more way we hope to make that participation possible.