Folklife Festival

What is a folklife festival?

A folklife festival seeks to encourage the celebration of tradition and the recognition of tradition-bearers. The festival attempts to provide a way of "coming together" by various people with differing individual backgrounds.

Folklife Festivals are a place for cultural exchange. The festival is a place where everyone is free to engage in traditional practices "without walls". The objective of folklife festivals is to give all people the chance to participate in tradition and gives voice to regional culture. A folklife festival attempts to be as inclusive as possible which represents a wide cross-section of the population, including many voices that are seldom heard.

A folklife festival seeks to achieve cultural understanding and transmission based upon the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Division's encouraged guidelines. Folklife festivals have gained increasing popularity and have an interesting history. In 1967 the Smithsonian Museum's CFCH (Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage) produced an annual folklife festival which serves as a model for many other ICH folklife projects.

Festival and Folklife: Project Planning for Cultural Festivals


Folklife Festival 2013- Newfiki: A Celebration of East-European Culture in Newfoundland

This year's folklife festival celebrates East-European culture in Newfoundland and Labrador. The festival is part of a project which focuses on diaspora groups established by recent immigrants to Canada from post-Soviet bloc countries. It concentrates on the ways newcomers respond and contribute to their new locations, creating a new sense of belonging and identity, and how they maintain or abandon their European beliefs while also absorbing the values and ideas of Canadian society. As part of this project, the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador will be offering events celebrating Eastern-European community and culture during multicultural week in March.

Newfiki: A Celebration of East-European Culture in Newfoundland


Folklife Festival 2012 - Make and Break Engines

The fourth annual Folklife Festival is centered around antique Make and Break engines. Once a staple inboard motor for small fishing vessels, Make and Break engines served an important role in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador. The iconic putt-putt sound of a make and break engine is cherished by those who remember these early inboard motors. Recently, the island has seen an increased interest in these antique engines as newspapers document restoration projects and use of one lungers by locals. The 2012 Folklife Festival hopes to bring boat lovers, both young and old, together to celebrate our living history.

Make and Break Engines


Folklife Festival 2011- Seeds to Supper

This year's theme has an agricultural focus. When we surveyed community groups in the greater St. John's area, there was a large concern about the loss of agricultural knowledge and practices. This year we will to coordinate events with a number of the groups in the greater St. John's area to promote the historical background of agriculture, and the contemporary movements that are active in the area. We wish to highlight the agri-culture that comes from the past but remains contemporary. Participation as a part of the 2011 Folklife Festival, Seeds to Supper, will be of no cost to any groups wishing to hold an event however, all participating groups are responsible for their individual event.

Seeds to Supper


Folklife Festival 2010 - The Festival on Fire!

From the woodstove in the kitchen, to the St. John's Fire of 1892, to the annual lighting of bonfires on November 5th, fire has a firm place in the heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador. As part of a plan to explore that history, the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador is compiling a list of community events surrounding one of the province's most colourful holidays. The list is part of a new festival celebrating fire and fire traditions in the province.

Search the DAI/ICH Inventory Bonfire Night Collection


Folklife Festival 2009 - The Mummers Festival

In December 2009, the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador launched a Mummers Festival, the province's first annual folklife festival. The Mummers Festival brought together tradition-bearers throughout the province and encouraged the expression of Christmastime house-visiting traditions through celebratory means. Events included a night of lectures, public storytelling sessions, several workshops, and a mummers parade. This folklife festival aimd to showcase the various ways mummering can be expressed today, through performance, art, and custom.

DAI Christmas Traditions Collection

Intangible Cultural Heritage