Posted tagged ‘Roots & Branches Vol. 2: Live from the 2010 Northwest Folklife Festival’

Programming the Festival: How Does it Work?

January 7, 2011

The gorgeous ladies of Programming. From left: Jerin Falkner, Kelli Faryar and Lucie Klimes. Center: Debbie Fant

Do you ever wonder how four days of music, 26 stages and over 6,000 performers are organized and scheduled for the Festival? Well, I do.

With that being said, I went to the Programming Department yesterday afternoon to learn a bit more about this gigantic task.

First off, I’ll dispel any preconceived notions of the proverbial waving of wands or snapping of fingers. If this were true, the Northwest Folklife Festival would be somewhat of an anomaly. What our Programming Department has in abundance is patience, passion for music and culture and a keen ear.

Already, when you walk into their office an enormous scheduling board takes up a whole wall and breaks the Festival into days, then intervals of time, and lastly performer tags of where they can schedule which artists and when. Confused yet? To me, this board closely resembles a puzzle; to them, it’s the Holy Grail.

Before I jump ahead, Programming gives me the scoop on the application process.  On September1st applications go live on the Northwest Folklife website. People who are interested in performing at the Festival can either submit an online or paper application. The application deadline is November 1st and at that point, Programming has collected anywhere from 1,200-1,400 applications. No big deal, right?

Programming then goes through every single application, listens to the submitted CDs or music links and enters the applications in the database.  As you can imagine, this process takes quite a bit of time and energy. 

After hundreds and hundreds of applications are reviewed, Programming starts the scheduling aspect.  Their goal is to represent over 61 genres of music at the Festival. These genres include global and regional music and dance styles. To help find performers who best represent a particular cultural community or genre, Programming relies on 60-70 Community Coordinators.  These Community Coordinators are active within their cultural community and help connect performers who best represent their cultures’ music or dance styles.

Overall, the application process results in scheduling around 900 to 950 performances.  The preliminary schedule is done in mid-March and final confirmations are sent out in April.  By Memorial Day Weekend, the kinks are (cross your fingers) all smoothed out, and Programming is ready to have their hard work enjoyed by the 250,000 people who attend the Festival.

What is one of Programming’s favorite times of the year you might ask? Well, besides Memorial Day Weekend, it’s probably June when they can decompress and reevaluate their work. Not to mention relive the Festival over and over again by listening to recorded tracks from the weekend and “digging for nuggets” to put on the Roots and Branches Vol. 2:  Live From the 2011 Festival CD. That isn’t a plug or anything…but you should probably check it out.

A Night for Folklife Revs Up

November 8, 2010

Get ready to rock as we roll into the holiday season!

With November already here and December just around the corner,  several things come to mind: turkey (duh), black Friday, Starbucks’s red holiday cups, an unusually snowy winter, and my personal favorite, A Night for Folklife events.

Put your party hats on because these next few weeks Northwest Folklife’s  fundraising event line-up delivers great entertainment sure to put you in a merry mood!

Join us and the various communities we work with to celebrate the cultural traditions of the Pacific Northwest in a fun and festive atmosphere. From Balkan and square dancing to house parties and live concerts at local venues, our friends have pooled together to produce Folklife fundraisers  truly representative of the Northwest and our organization.

Some of these fundraisers consist of a ticketed event, a ‘pass the hat’, or a suggested donation but ALL events help benefit the production of the 40th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival Memorial Day Weekend, May 27-30, 2011.

Also at A Night for Folklife events, we are selling memberships to our Friends of Folklife program. Don’t miss out on the special  rate of $40 in honor of our 40th Festival, this May*.  By becoming a member you receive several benefits including a Festival t-shirt, the latest copy of the Roots & Branches CD and a Festival store discount.

Wondering when and where all these events are? Check them out right here!

* New members only.

Featured Musicians: Noah Gundersen & The Courage

October 22, 2010

In case you need another reason to attend the CD Release Party, this Sunday, 7 p.m. at the Tractor Tavern, here it is: the pop folk music of  Noah Gundersen & the Courage.

While many young performers sing what they know, and a lot of  what they don’t, Noah Gundersen, his sister Abby, brother Ivan, and band mate Travis lay it all out there—in a honest and soulful manner.

Noah Gundersen & the Courage are a group of remarkably talented musicians who produce deep songs that come from a young and faithful point-of-view while still remaining accesible to all-ages. Noah’s gravelly folk voice will stop you in your tracks as his sister, Abby, jams away on the violin and harmonizes with her soothing vocals. If this doesn’t sound cool enough, Noah Gundersen & The Courage has also been featured on network television (One Tree Hill).

Tickets are available for $8 online or at the door. Money raised at the show supports Northwest Folklife and the evenings’ artists. We’ll also be selling copies of Roots & Branches Vol. 2: Live from the 2010 Northwest Folklife Festival three weeks before you can buy it in stores and online. No joke.

So what the heck, come on down, listen to some truly amazing performers and enjoy your Sunday night!

Check out this song— it’s featured on the Roots & Branches Vol. 2: Live from the 2010 Northwest Folklife Festival CD: