Notwithstanding Sunday’s rain, Folklife 2014 was a huge success. You’ll likely never see more men wearing skirts, female body hair, or Scottish-reggae mashup groups than this one weekend in Seattle, but hey, some people pay a lot of money to experience a similar scene out in the Black Rock Desert, and this one’s free.
What’s more, this year was well-organized and ultra-chill. Recent fests have been dampened by a few bad apples—gun-brandishing thugs and drugged-up deadbeats—but this year it seemed, perhaps thanks to the passage of 502, fest-goers were less concerned with what drugs they could get away with doing in public and more tuned into the music. I most appreciated the all-around minding of this year’s many pets (which was a parade in and of itself, from Great Danes to rat terriers), including the dude curbing his dog (after the poor creature must have eaten some gross fried thing), and the service pooch getting a much needed drink from his owner’s water bottle.
As ever, the tunes were as free (and as free-spirited) as the crowd it attracted. The busker scene was particularly lively, and while some Peruvian flute bands were better than others—a particularly nascent group had a one-note style reminiscent of Jimmy Fallon’s “I Wish It Was Christmas Today”—the fest’s official bills were epic across the board (some of my faves were Corespondents on Saturday and Left Coast Country on Sunday, both at the Vera Stage) and kept the event humming right along.
We sent Seattle Weekly’s Kyu Han to snap a few photos. Click through for a glimpse of this year’s people, dogs, and spirit of Folklife 2014.