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40th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival 2011

Good Turnout at the Folklife Festival

Good Turnout at the Folklife Festival

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.

Calvin Johnson Performing at Folklife Festival

Calvin Johnson Performing at Folklife Festival

Calvin Johnson Performing at Folklife Festival

Calvin Johnson Performing at Folklife Festival

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.

Lots of Curly Fries

Lots of Curly Fries

Crabcake and Shrimp Wrap

Crabcake and 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.

Folklife Festival Belly Dancers

Folklife Festival Belly Dancers

Folklife Festival Performers

Folklife Festival Performers

Human Statue and Guy with Ad on His Back

Human Statue and Guy with Ad on His Back

Folklife Festival Human Statue

Folklife Festival Human Statue

Folklife Festival Bluegrass Performers

Folklife Festival Bluegrass Performers

Stage in front of the EMP

Stage in front of the EMP

Folklife Festival Bellydancers

Folklife Festival Bellydancers

Folklife Festival Performers

Folklife Festival Performers

I hung out by the International Fountain and watched as the brood frolicked in the water.

Hanging Out at the International Fountain

Hanging Out at the International Fountain

Hanging Out at the International Fountain

Hanging Out at the International Fountain

Hanging Out at the International Fountain

Hanging Out at the International Fountain

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.

The Festival Crowd

The Festival Crowd

Hanging Out at Folklife

Hanging Out at Folklife

The Barbeque Pit

The Barbeque Pit

The Festival Crowd

The Festival Crowd

The Crab Cake Food Stand

The Crab Cake Food Stand

Enjoying the Day at the Folklife Festival

Enjoying the Day at the Folklife Festival

Crowded at Folklife

Crowded at Folklife

The Curly Fries Food Stand

The Curly Fries Food Stand

The Space Needle

The Space Needle

Good Turnout for the Festival

Good Turnout for the Festival

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/

4 comments to 40th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival 2011

  • w

    Wow! That’s the biggest collection of white people I’ve ever seen!

  • w

    I’ll follow up on my one-line smart-ass comment.

    I understand that folk-music is the province of mellow white people, just like NBA week in Vegas is for black gang-bangers. But…I spent a week in Seattle last summer, and have passed thru its airport numerous times, and this has to be the whitest big city with pretensions to diversity. The stats say that there are many Asians in Seattle, but all I saw in the central core of the city were very pale people. Often on bikes. In ugly clothes. Physically unattractive.

    And, did I say I have never seen so many white people?

    I thought the waterfront was ugly. And the rain! The clouds! I don’t care what the data says, Seattle has the grayest climate of all major US cities. I used to lived in Pittsburgh, the 2nd grayest city. After one summer with 40 straight days without sun, I said, “Get me the fuck outta here.” How many Seattlites say the same thing year after year?

    • Seattle Rex Seattle Rex

      How many Seattlites say the same thing year after year?

      Not nearly enough as traffic and the price of everything keeps going up.

      I wish more people would follow this lead. If you don’t like the weather, leave so those of us that do can pay significantly less to wallow in the grey.

  • SPRUNT

    I wasn’t at FolkLife this weekend, but I was equally surrounded by dirty hipsters.

    I went with some friends to see “Trailer Park Boys Live” in Portland, OR. That place is full of hipsters.

    And I thought it was bad here.

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