Northwest Folklife

Northwest Folklife creates opportunities for all to celebrate, share, and participate in the evolving cultural traditions of the Pacific Northwest. We aim to strengthen our diverse communities through arts and culture.

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Address: 305 Harrison St
Seattle, WA 98109-4623
Phone Number: 206-684-7300
EIN: 91-1311548
The first Northwest Folklife Festival took place in 1972 on Memorial Day weekend at Seattle Center. A coalition of local groups had decided to create a festival of all ethnic folk arts in the Northwest, both foreign and domestic, which would give people an opportunity to experience the rich heritage of traditional arts present in the area. Staged on a shoestring, this free celebration of folk and ethnic music, dance, arts, and crafts gathered over 300 performers and a remarkable audience of 123,000. The second year was even bigger, drawing an estimated 225,000 people, and securing the festival its permanent and much-needed space among Northwest arts programs.

Today Northwest Folklife is a leading nonprofit arts and culture institution in the Pacific Northwest. The Northwest Folklife Festival, now in its 47th year, is a beloved Seattle icon and a major focal point for more than 100 diverse cultural communities. Visitors from all over the world come to Seattle Center to take part in the four-day community celebration, which attracts over 250,000 visitors, 6,000 performers, and 800 volunteers.

Outside the Festival, Northwest Folklife sustains the vitality of folk, ethnic and traditional arts through an array of year-round programs, including a Youth Residency, the Crossroads Cultural Arts Series, and Our Big Neighborhood, a youth and families-focused partnership with Seattle Center, which includes the Seattle Children's Festival, Movin' Around the World, Global Playground, and the Seattle Center Winterfest Launch Party. Through our unique Cultural Focus program, each year we showcase in depth a different Pacific Northwest cultural community through a series of special performances, panels, workshops, and exhibitions. Northwest Folklife's programs are accessible to all, creating some of the most inclusive, wide-reaching arts experiences in the region, and quite possibly the nation. In 1999, Northwest Folklife was selected as a Local Legacy by the Library of Congress.
We are thrilled to announce that The Wyncote Foundation Northwest has offered to match 100% of all GiveBIG donations to Northwest Folklife up to $40,000!