It's FREE, yes, but something as wonderful and massive as Folklife does cost money to put on, which is why you should donate what you can. Their suggested donation is $10/person/day. I think that's pretty darn fair, given the amount of entertainment offered.
For tips on attending Folklife and some in-depth reviews of some of the artists to look forward to, go to Hearth Music's 2013 Guide to Folklife. Here's a likely list of what I would try to check out (although there is so much going on, you really can only get to a fraction of the action).
- Luc and the Lovingtons (at the Groove Train Showcase), 6:30pm at the Mural Amphitheater. If you're a fan of that Jason Mraz song, "Freedom Song" (it's the first song off his latest album), it is actually a cover of this Seattle band's song.
- The Bollywood Show, 7-8:30pm at the International Dance Stage in the Exhibition Hall
- Louisiana/Cajun dance lessons (at Cajun Roadhouse Showcase), 8-10pm at Fisher Pavilion/Warren's Roadhouse
- Team Up For Nonprofits Showcase, 1-4pm at the Fountain Lawn Stage. In conjunction with Artist Home (the movers and shakers behind Doe Bay Fest and the new Timber! Outdoor Music Festival), see an excellent lineup of Shelby Earl, Song Sparrow Research, Bradford Loomis (who performed at Bushwick Book Club back in January and was fantastic!), and St. Paul de Vence.
- Bushwick Book Club - Music inspired by The Wizard of Oz!, 1:30-3:30 at the Folklife Cafe
- Impossible Bird (see me there helping Nick and Tyler sell merch!), 3-3:30pm at the Fisher Green Stage
- Folk, Redefined Showcase, 12:45-3:30 at the Mural Amphitheater. Featuring The Local Strangers, Grand Hallway, and The Washover Fans.
- 206Zulu Jam, Junior Breakdance Competition and Hip Hop Showcase, 3-6pm at Vera Project
- The Side Project, 5:40-6:10 at the Folklife Cafe
- Vamos! A Latin Dance Party, 6:45-10pm at the Mural Amphitheater
- Wide Open Spaces Showcase, with Pepper Proud and Br'er Rabbit, 1-3:30pm at the Fisher Green Stage
- K Records Showcase, with Briana Marela, 2-5pm at the Vera Project