Yesterday, I headed over to the Northwest Folklife Festival at Seattle Center.
To be honest, I didn’t head over for the festival as much as I did to catch a specific artist. You see, Olympia’s favorite son, Calvin Johnson was playing a set at the “Folklife Cafe” (which was inexplicably not a cafe at all). This is the same Calvin Johnson who is the primary namesake for the large park on Capitol Hill. How could I possibly miss it?
I walked down to Westlake Park, hopped on the Monorail, and 3 minutes later, there I was. But where was The Folklife Cafe? Nobody had heard of it. I snagged a map, and got in the general vicinity, but everyone from staff to vendors to the SPD guys working security were unaware of its existence.
After 30 minutes of aimless wandering, I finally found it. It was great to see Calvin after all of these years. He has not changed one single bit. If a more real dude has ever existed, I’ve yet to meet him.
After the gig, I headed out into the sea of people to spend the remainder of the day enjoying the festival.
I ate strange food, such as a square mountain of french fries and a crabcake/shrimp wrap.
I watched what is perhaps the most eclectic group of street performers I have ever seen in my life. Rappers performing next to human statues performing next to bluegrass bands performing next to bellydancers performing next to garage heroes.
I hung out by the International Fountain and watched as the brood frolicked in the water.
I consumed three sheets of blotter acid and climbed the Space Needle naked in an effort to raise worldwide awareness of the Canadian vowel holocaust.
Well, I did most of those things.
For the most part, I had a very good time. The only thing that wore me down was the second job I will need because of my visit.
I stopped to ask for information a couple of times, but each time I did one of the festival organizers asked me if I had “donated yet”. Not only that, but they had roving bands of collectors who encouraged us to donate early and donate often. It got so tiring that I began avoiding staffers like the plague. Next year, I am going to set up a booth at Folklife selling t-shirts that read “Yes I Donated, Now Leave Me The Hell Alone!”.
It wasn’t like the merchandise was under-priced, and all of the individual buskers encouraged tips as well, so unless you are impervious to feeling guilty, I would recommend taking a fat wallet to Folklife.
With that caveat being noted, it’s actually a pretty good time.
There are a lot of things to see and do, and given the wide variety of music, people, and cuisine, there is bound to be something for everyone.
If you have yet to visit, you still have time to check it out. The festival runs through tomorrow, May 30th.
For more information, visit: http://www.nwfolklifefestival.org/