North West Folk Life – a celebration of cultural diversity!

May 20, 2017
by Morten Alfred Høirup

In the days 26 to 29 May I visit for the 5th time the huge NorthWest FolkLife Festival 2017, in Seattle WA on the American west coast, one of the world's biggest folk and world music festivals.

Celebrating the cultural diversity of the American West Coast, the festival draws no less than 250,000 visitors who experience and interact with approximately 5,000 artists from 5 contiguous states.

The 46th edition of NorthWest FolkLife runs as usual in the middle of Seattle city, under the "Space Needle", Seattle's famous landmark. On their website, the festival writes:

"The Northwest Folklife Festival is the place to learn, to dance, to play, to try something new, and to discover arts and cultures that inspire celebration of one another and our big neighborhood. From yodeling to beatboxing, square dancing to Bollywood, – the Northwest Folklife Festival celebrates the global traditions of local, independent artists.”

As I said, I have played at the festival before with e.g. violinist Harald Haugaard and with my old friend and colleague, violinist Ruthie Dornfeld, (American Café Orchestra), who also lives in Seattle herself.

However, it is quite special for me that this year I am playing at the festival together with the Danish violinist Kristian Bugge. We have played as a duo before, but never outside of Denmark, and I look forward to playing our mix of traditional and newly composed music together with Kristian, sometimes assisted by Ruthie Dornfeld as well as Kristian's life partner, the American Métis violinist Jamie Fox.

Find out more on the festival's website:, and watch a video about the festival here – it lasts approx. 10 minutes: