Northwest Folklife

Gas is expensive, and not everyone wants to drive all the way to the Gorge for Sasquatch!, which can be a long, hot, expensive weekend. Instead, cheaper, closer to home, and easily served by Metro, there’s the reliably popular (and populist) Northwest Folklife Festival, now in its 40th year. Folklife is durable, even venerable, because it’s adapted to the times. Sure, it was born in the hippie era, but this year’s lineup of music and arts isn’t locked in the past—there’s even an iPhone app! Some of the musicians are quite young, like the Garfield High School Jazz Band (5:50 p.m. Fri., Center House Court), from one of the best music programs on the West Coast. And if ’70s funk is your thing, the all-star Wheedle’s Groove ensemble, recently celebrated in a SIFF documentary and Light in the Attic Records reissue of the same name, should be a blast (9:10 p.m. Fri., Mural Amphitheater). Another Friday pick, from Erin K. Thompson: “Ravenna Woods have been gaining a lot of steam lately; they’re kind of an unclassifiable mixture of super intricate guitar work and almost tribal sounding percussion” (9:30 p.m., Center Square). On Saturday, don’t miss The Jelly Rollers, blues revivalists extraordinaire (1:05 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage). Later that evening, we also love James Coates (7:50 p.m., Folklife Cafe), of whom Mike Seely writes: “With his bushy red hair and beard, local boy Coates is exactly like American Idol frontrunner Casey Abrams, only much heavier, much humbler, and much more talented. The best name among dozens of acts spread out over four days? The beard-celebrating Hobosexual (5:30 p.m. Sat., The Vera Project). Sunday’s top pick has to be the high-energy VamoLá Drum & Dance Ensemble (7:30 p.m., Mural Amp). And on Monday we recommend Clinton Fearon and the Boogie Brown Band, one of the city’s best and most popular reggae acts (7:40 p.m., Mural Amp). (Free, but $10 donation recommended; $20 for family groups.) BRIAN MILLER

May 27-29, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Mon., May 30, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., 2011

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