Folklife Festival

I finally man­aged to have my pho­tos from the Folk­life Fes­ti­val in Seat­tle devel­oped. I’ve posted a few of them, and I’ll take this oppor­tu­nity to do a fes­ti­val wrap-up post. I didn’t take as many pho­tos as in pre­vi­ous years. This was largely due to the fact that it rained three out of the four days of the fes­ti­val. It wasn’t pour­ing that whole time, but it was cloudy and dark, mak­ing the light pretty crappy for flash-free photography.

Signs Galore

I guess I’ll start with what I was actu­ally doing at the fes­ti­val. This was my fourth year work­ing as the festival’s Sig­nage Coor­di­na­tor. What that means is that I’m respon­si­ble for hang­ing signs and ban­ners all over the cam­pus of Seat­tle Cen­ter (where the Space Nee­dle is). The pic at the left shows most of the pre­ex­ist­ing signs — all the signs along the wall are stacked 4–8 deep. Every year, there are also a bunch of new signs and ban­ners (which hadn’t yet arrived when I took the pic­ture, to cover new and dif­fer­ent venues and spe­cial one-year events or appear­ances. The first two years, I was pretty much on my own. In each of the last two years, I’ve had good help from Tahoma and one other person.

The nice thing about work­ing sig­nage is that most of my work is done by Sat­ur­day after­noon (the fes­ti­val always starts on the Fri­day before Memo­r­ial Day, and runs through the Mon­day hol­i­day). So, I get plenty of (paid) time to walk around and enjoy the fes­ti­val. I have to carry a radio in case some­one needs me, but it clips nicely to my cam­era bag.

Peru­vian Buskers

I caught parts of quite a few shows. I saw a num­ber of dance groups: tango, fla­menco, salsa, Zim­bab­wean, Irish, belly, samba, etc. A num­ber of these used canned music, but the few who used live musi­cians were the most inter­est­ing. I heard a wide vari­ety of music (in no par­tic­u­lar order): Taiko drum­ming, jazz, Irish tra­di­tional, punk, klezmer, rock­a­billy, gospel, Afro-pop, reg­gae, blue­grass, folk, etc. Some groups were quite good, some were ok, and some were just down­right weird. One such group was a polka band who played noth­ing but Johnny Cash cov­ers. I didn’t catch their name, which may be for the best.

Aside from what’s hap­pen­ing on the var­i­ous stages (21 of them this year), there are always lots of inter­est­ing buskers dis­trib­uted through­out the grounds. Since the fes­ti­val doesn’t pay the per­form­ers (there’s also no required admis­sion charge, just a sug­gested dona­tion), alot of groups will set up on the side­walk to make some money before or after their shows. There are also pro­fes­sional buskers who usu­ally work down­town Seat­tle, groups or bands who aren’t actu­ally play­ing at the fes­ti­val, and high school (and some­times younger) kids who want to make a few extra bucks. Most buskers are musi­cians, but there’s always a vari­ety of inter­est­ing and bizarre per­for­mance art — human stat­ues, human video games, acro­bats, worm-eating, etc.

Boe Odd­ysey

Folk­life offers really good people-watching oppor­tu­ni­ties, as well. It being a free fes­ti­val, peo­ple of all sorts show up. You see peo­ple of all ages, eth­nic­i­ties, reli­gions, socio-economic sta­tuses, sex­u­al­i­ties, and var­i­ous other lifestyle choices. When­ever I tire of walk­ing around, I’ll just stand or sit some­place and watch the crowd. That can pro­vide hours of enter­tain­ment. One per­son who stands out in the crowd every year is Boe. I don’t know Boe’s whole story, but he vol­un­teers for Folk­life (dur­ing fes­ti­val set-up) every year, and I think he did too much of some­thing in the 60s. He always wears a brightly col­ored skirt, pas­tel scarves, and a bell around his waist. He can be seen at out­door shows of all descrip­tions wav­ing around bunches of his scarves, which he bungee-cords to each wrist. He’s bizarre, but he seems to always be hav­ing fun.

Well, that prob­a­bly should have been split up into mul­ti­ple posts, but I had to make up for post­ing almost noth­ing when I was actu­ally in Seat­tle. Each of the pic­tures above links to a larger ver­sion of that par­tic­u­lar pic, but you can see all my pho­tos from this year’s fes­ti­val here. Also, check out my gal­leries from past years: Folk­life 2003 Folk­life 2005. I worked the fes­ti­val in 2004 also, but I got strep and mono part-way through and had to go home. So, no pic­tures from that year.

Posted in needs fixing | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

One Response to Folklife Festival

  1. Lindsey says:

    In light of your com­ment on my blog, yes, these are per­sonal events that have occurred. Con­sid­er­ing I’ve man­aged to watch 9 entire sea­sons of Star­gate in 2 months…However, I will note that the mar­ket­ing ploy for toy zat-guns went no fur­ther than merely a sug­ges­tion, and there was lit­tle or no dis­cus­sion between Sean and I on nam­ing our first­born son Teal’c. But I have prac­ticed rais­ing one eye­brow and failed miserably.