Tucson Meet Yourself Folklife Festival 2023

OCTOBER 13-15, 2023


Wander downtown Tucson and digest food, music, art and dance from a wide range of cultures and nationalities.

Under the shade of the mesquite and palm trees at Jácome Plaza, between the stratospheric mirroring of Tucson’s high rises, you’ll find the Meet Yourself Folklife Festival, where thousands of people gather each fall in a celebration of the many cultures and traditions that have come to make up the United States. 

For lunch, taste frybread from the O’odham Ladies (the Tohono O’odham nation is located in south central Arizona), potato and onion vareniki (dumplings) from Natalka Ukrainian Bakery, or pad thai from the monks of Wat Buddhametta. (Peruse all of the festival’s food offerings here.) At the festival’s three stages, listen to musical acts like Latina-led mariachi and boleros string quintet Las Azaleas or Yaqui flamenco-jazz guitarist Gabriel Ayala. And dance: catch performances by Tucson Sino Dance, the Urvashi Dance Academy, and Siva Maia Polynesian Dancers, among others. In the Folk Arts tent, learn about folk arts and crafts from dozens of makers.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Tucson Meet Yourself Folklife Festival, so expect extra special events, including discussions on the future of cultural resilience, and craft and cooking demos pairing traditional home cooks with renowned celebrity chefs. And definitely don’t miss the Dukes Car Club vintage lowrider show and car modification workshop. 

The Specs

  • More than 150,000 visitors and community members descend on downtown Tucson for theannual Tucson Meet Yourself Folklife Festival.
  • The 3-day event is free and open to all. (Though organizers welcome donations.)
  • Looking for other things to do in Tucson, AZ? Check out Fifty Grande’s guide here.


What is the closest airport to the Tucson Meet Yourself Folklife Festival?

Fly into the Tucson International Airport (TUS) nine miles from the festival grounds, then grab a rideshare to downtown. 

Where is the festival held exactly?

An address to use is 115 N Church Ave , Tucson, Arizona, United States.

I need special accommodations. What can the Tucson Meet Yourself Festival provide? 

Free wheelchair and personal amplifier loans are available at the Information Tent. Large-print programs are available, as well as an online PDF TMY Program for text-to-speech readers and Stream Text live transcripts available at each stage (follow the stage’s QR code). The festival also offers a Tranquility, Lactation, and Prayer Tent for those who need it. 

What can I bring? What should I leave at home?

Dogs are allowed, alcohol is not. Make sure to bring a reusable water bottle (the festival provides water filling stations). 

It’s my first time attending the event. What can I expect?

Tucson Meet Yourself is an annual and free celebration dedicated to the living traditional arts of local folk communities in southern Arizona and multi-national Arizona-Sonora region. The three-day block party includes food vendor booths, entertainment and cultural activities. The festival’s schedule includes: a lowrider car show, a corrido contest, an event to remember festival founder, a “memory tent” to celebrate the year the festival was founded, 80 performing artists and more than 65 food booths. All of this happens at Jácome Plaza (101 N Stone Ave.) and the surrounding streets in downtown Tucson. TMY started in 1974 and founded by University of Arizona anthropologist Dr. James “Big Jim” Griffith.

What types of food will be offered?

The website lists these foods to be offered: Order of Ahepa’s Greek food (Order of Ahepa is a Greek men’s organization affiliated with Tucson’s St. Demetrius Greek Orthodox church), takoyaki balls (which are octopus balls) and churros. New booths this year are expected to include Nepalese food from Maya Gracie’s, Salvadoran dishes from Pupuseria Rosita’s, Puerto Rican from The Sweet Coqui, and more.

Who is performing at the Tucson Meet Yourself Folklife Festival? 

AR Flamenco with Angelina Ramirez & Misael Barraza Diaz, Arizona Balalaika Orchestra, Arizona Kertenkeleri, Ayure, Baba Marimba, Ballet Folklorico Tapatio de Tucson, Bouncing Czechs, Buddy Greenbloom & the Gothic Cowboys, Calpulli Tonantzin, Celtic Minstrels, Chalako the Band, Dan Levenson and The Cat Mountain Rounders, Capoeira Mandinga & Capoeira Institute Southwest, Diluvio AZ, El SurCo, Elijah and his Kora, Fadi Iskandar, Gabriel Ayala, Gamelan Dewi Malam, Gertie N the T.O. Boyz, Glitter And The Zombie Freaks, Grupo Folklórico Miztontli, Grupo Riken, Halau Hula O Ualani and her Menehune Dancers, Hung Gar Wing Chun Club, Jaliya World Contemporary Music, Kathi Huhtaluhta & World Winds, King Doumbya, Klezmerkaba, Kyklo, Lajkonik Polish Folk Ensemble, Las Azaleas, Leikarring Scandinavian Dancers, Swedish VASA Dancers, Ludo Djore, Maguire Academy of Irish Dance, Majda Khatoon, Mari Kaneta & Suzuyuki-Kai, Mariachi Pueblo Viejo, Mzekala Balkan Ensemble with Balkan Allspice, Nagoyaka – Traditional Music of Japan, Nossa Bossa Nova, Odaiko Sonora, Philippine Mabuhay Cultural Foundation of Tucson, Purple Bamboo Asian Music Ensemble and Tucson Sino Guzheng, Quarter Royale, Ritmos Latinos, Saguaro Stompers Clog Dance Company, Saguaro Strutters, Sampaguita Dance Group, Santa Pachita, Seven Pipers Scottish Dancers & Tucson District Pipe Band, Sister Spirit Drum, Siva Maia Polynesian Dancers, Somos Tango, Sound of Thunder of Tucson, South Image Waila Band, Suerte Musical Tamara Khachatryan, Ted Warmbrand, The Just Intervals, The Old Pueblo Bluegrass Band, Thistle & Bear, Tom Walbank, Tony Kuya, Tradiciones, TucSon Casineros, Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, Tucson Chinese Dance, Tucson Refugee Beat, Tucson Sino Dance, Urvashi Dance Academy, Xanadu Dance Collective, Yaqui Ceremonial: Deer Dancers, Yellow Bird Indian Dancers.



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BY Katherine James