Perhaps Sasquatch! isn't your thing—you'd rather let your freak flag wave a little closer to home, in an all-ages, sage-scented, sockless environment, and for free! The 42nd annual Northwest Folklife Festival has got you covered if banjos are now or have ever been your passion, you've been waiting for an excuse to learn hammer dulcimer within view of the Space Needle, or you're just folk-curious, and marijuana recently became sort of legal (there will be deep-fried PB&Js for sale, just saying). Here's a tiny sampling of Folklife highlights that I either selected after careful consideration or chose practically at random because there's so much to do!
Bollywood Show (Fri, 7 pm, International Dance Stage) Yes, yes, YES.
Sleeping in Seattle: A Bed-Making Contest! (Sat, 2 pm, Olympic Room) A bed-making demonstration (?!), where experts show you how to wrangle bedsheets into beautiful origami. If you're like my grandmother, and already know how to make a bed so tight you can't actually sleep in it, then show 'em what you've got for the chance to win prizes!
Fin Records Showcase (Fri, 6 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) Ballard label Fin Records brings you an indie-roots showcase, with performances by Lures, Davidson Hart Kingsbery, Red Jacket Mine, and Low Hums.
The Soul of Seattle (Sat, 6:30 pm, Mural Amphitheater) Saturday's festivities close with a dance party soul get-down hosted by Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme with Soul Senate, Kissing Potion (best band name!), the Braxmatics, and Little Big Band.
Northwest Fiddle Traditions (Sun, 11:40 am, Fisher Green Stage) First catch Sarah Comer, then be sure to stick around for Vivian and Phil Williams. Besides teaching and playing fiddle and other "old-timey" music for more than 50 years, Vivian and Phil helped found Folklife!
Gaelic Crankie Show (Sun, 3 pm, Center Theater) An Appalachian tradition, the excellently named crankie is a backlit piece of cut-paper illustrated cloth that's animated by hand-cranking a "reel" and presented with Gaelic music accompaniment.
Vamos!: A Latin Dance Party (Sun, 6:45 pm, Mural Amphitheater) Drink a 5-Hour Energy shot and wear your finest dancewear! VamoLá! Brazilian Drum & Dance Ensemble, Cambalache, the Cumbieros, and SuperSones will make you move. Bring a date—it's going to get caliente.
You Can't Fake Fresh—NW Live-Band Hip Hop (Sun, 7 pm, EMP Sky Church) Hiphop at Folklife? Neat! This showcase is brand-new this year and features Global Heat, the Sharp Five, Eastern Sunz, and Irukandji Physics of Fusion.
Everett Norwegian Male Chorus (Mon, 1 pm, Center Theater) Founded in 1902, the Everett Norwegian Male Chorus upholds Nordic culture through traditional songs. Sounds interesting, jah?
Open Dance and Drum (Fri and Sun, 6 pm, Rhythm Tent) I'm pointing these out just in case you want to
avoid them at all costs check them out.
For more: nwfolklife.org/festival.