It may be the fact that it’s the first outdoor festival of the season after a long snowy winter, it could be the diversity of cultures and people that attend, or it could just be the food, but the Living Traditions Festival, presented by the Salt Lake City Arts Council this weekend May 20–22, is one of my favorite times in Salt Lake City. Oh, and did I mention it’s free?For 26 years, Salt Lake’s ethnic artists, musicians, dancers and chefs have come to Washington Square to share unique traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation. Whether it’s Sudanese dance, Tongan cuisine or Navajo basket making there is always something new to discover.Featured guest artists from around the world also join the festival. On Friday, May 20 Vieux Farka Toure the son of the great Malian guitarist Ali Farka Toure, hits the North Stage in front of the Salt Lake City & County Building. Toure mixes traditional African rhythms and tones with blues, rock, reggae and funk. During the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa he performed before a billion people and has become one of the most celebrated African guitarists in history.Toure is set to release his third studio album, The Secret, on Six Degrees Records on May 24. The album produced by guitarist Eric Krasno (of Soulive fame) also features Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks, John Scofield, Ivan Neville and Toure’s final collaboration with his legendary father, Ali Farka Toure.Be sure to get down to Living Traditions to see Toure live, and possibly hear some tracks from his new album. Then when the album becomes a huge international hit and wins a Grammy (you never know, it may), you’ll be able to say, “I saw him play live outside in Salt Lake City!”For more information on the Living Traditions Festival visit’s a preview from The Secret—Aigna featuring Derek Trucks:The Secret (May 24th) by Six Degrees RecordsAnd check out Toure during his 2010 World Cup performance:Vieux Farka Touré - Fafa (2010 FIFA World Cup™ Kick-off Concert) Read more from Eugenie Jaffe at