Folklife Festival’s the place for family fun

  • Wed May 23rd, 2012 1:22pm
  • Life

By Jackson Holtz Herald Writer

The Northwest Folklife Festival, the annual Memorial Day celebration of art, music, dance, the spoken word and more, takes place this weekend at Seattle Center.

More than 250,000 people are expected at the free festival, which features hundreds of performers including dozens from Snohomish County.

For example, Everett blues singer Stacy Jones and her band are scheduled to play at 6:45 p.m. Sunday at the Fountain Lawn Stage.

Jones is gearing up for the June 1 release of “Live and Untapped,” her newest recording.

Mountlake Terrace comedian Kermet Apio sets aside jokes to play the music of his native Hawaii.

“It’s a blast,” Apio said. “There’s such a great vibe.”

This is the fourth year that Apio will play at Folklife. His 10-year-old daughter plans to join him on stage to dance along with the music.

Catch his set at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Folklife Cafe.

And Camano Island slide guitar player Nick Vigarino has enjoyed playing Folklife since the mid-’80s.

“My attitude is that as long as it stays free. I’ll play there,” Vigarino said.

He’ll be teaching a slide guitar workshop Monday afternoon, and then performing a concert starting at 7:45 p.m. at the Fountain Lawn Stage. He’ll start solo, add a drummer and then a bass player to evolve into his trademark slop-jar Delta funk.

“Who knows? There may even be a surprise person there,” he said.

There’s much more at the festival, now in its 41st years.

On Friday night, three performers push the boundaries of folk music with a program called “In the Loop.” Each of the musicians uses computers to lay down tracks and “loop” the music while they play live.

The Bellingham Circus Guild features jugglers, acrobats and a string band Sunday at the Northwest Court Stage.

In a combination of video and music, electronic sounds and video games, “Next 50” will use images and sounds from vintage computers and games. The experiment is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday in EMP’s Sky Church.

The 41st Northwest Folklife Festival starts at 11 a.m. today and continues with events through Monday at the Seattle Center.

For a complete schedule, go to or download the Folklife app to your smartphone.

Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3447;