Smithsonian Folklife Festival Preview

2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival Celebrates Resilient Communities

The 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival opens in six weeks! Join us on the National Mall between Fourth and Seventh streets in Washington, D.C., June 29–July 4 and July 7–10 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with special events beginning at 6:30 p.m. Want to kick off the event with us? Join us in the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building on June 29 at 10 a.m. for the opening ceremony.

Some upcoming events in Washington, D.C.:

·         May 22: Txotx! Third Edition

·         May 28: Basque Journeys: Stories in Film, Part Two

·         June 21: Basque Untapped: Ciders of the Basque Country

Read below for a preview of this year’s programs and more!

Basque: Innovation by Culture

Basque: Innovation by Culture will celebrate the Basque country’s distinct cultural heritage. In addition to its unique language, the Basque country is well known for its food, crafts, music, and poetry. Meet more than 200 Basque and Basque American cooks, musicians, craftspeople, dancers, and more. At the Festival you can:

·         Play pilota, Basque handball

·         Learn to sing in Basque

·         Watch craftspeople build a small Basque boat using traditional methods and tools

Read more

Sounds of California

Sounds of California will offer a glimpse into how musical culture mirrors the movements reshaping the state and the nation today. We will feature artists who contribute to the soundscapes of California, who demonstrate the social power of music and cultural heritage. At the Festival you can:

·         Dance the FandangObon, a mix of son jarocho music of Veracruz, Mexico, and obon, a Japanese Buddhist ritual.

·         See Homayun Sakhi, Smithsonian Folkways artist and master Afghan rubâb player.

·         Hear other diverse sounds of California, with a sneak preview playlist of Smithsonian Folkways songs selected by music journalist Betto Arcos.

·         Meet Banda Brillo and Nuu Yuku/Danzantes de los Diablos de San Miguel Cuevas, a Mixteco dance and music group.

Read more

Share Your Immigration Stories

We invite you to reflect on how immigration and migration impact your life today in the activity and presentation tent, On the Move: Migration and Immigration Today.

Learn more

Bring Your Own Blanket to the Evening Concerts

The music continues as the sun begins to set. Starting most nights at 6:30 p.m., the evening concert series at the Ralph Rinzler Concert Stage on the National Mall will feature Basque and Californian musicians, dancers, and special guest artists. Highlights include Kepa Junkera (June 29), Quetzal and Meklit Hadero (July 2), and John Santos Sextet with Bobi Céspedes (July 9).

On July 3 at 6:30 p.m., in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts and as a preview for a 2017 Folklife Festival program, the Ralph Rinzler Memorial Concert will feature extraordinary musicians from across the country who have received the NEA National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest award for excellence in the folk and traditional arts.

Bring a blanket or lawn chairs, and grab dinner from the concessions stands!

View schedule highlights

Know Before You Go: Marketplace

The Festival Marketplace will be located in the newly renovated Arts and Industries Building, June 29 to July 10. Stop by between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. to shop for creative works made by Festival participants along with specialty food items and more.

·         Up your culinary game with wine-flavored salt ($8.50) harvested from the flats of the Añana Valley in Araba, Basque Country, where salt has been mined for over 6,000 years.

·         Blanka Gomez’s pottery is inspired by Basque traditional designs. These delicate bowls ($20 each) were thrown in her studio, which is also home to the Museum of Basque Traditional Pottery.

·         Add handcrafted whimsy to your home with an iron and glass spider ($150) by iron artist César Alcoz. Choose from one of his own contemporary creations melding iron, glass, and stone in the Marketplace.

Eat and Drink at the Festival

Hungry? Curious about world-renowned Basque cuisine or the diverse food of California? At our concessions stands, you can feast on Basque txangurro (crab and cod burger) or Tolosa bean stew, Mexico tacos and churros, Thai noodles and spring rolls, and more Basque and Californian favorites. Many vegetarian options are available. Wash it down with Basque cider, limeade, or a refreshing frozen kalimotxo cocktail. Concessions are open daily from 11 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.

View full menus and descriptions

Join Us: Volunteer!

We need your help to make the Festival a success. Volunteers are critical to the Festival and work closely with participants and staff. They assist stage managers, interact with visitors at the information booths, help with audiovisual documentation, translate and interpret for participants, and more. Basque, Spanish, and French speakers are encouraged to apply.

Apply here

Smithsonian Folkways Magazine on Music and Migration

The new Smithsonian Folkways Magazine explores the theme of music and migration. From labor songs and Yiddish music revival to son jarocho and Rastafarian sounds, this issue examines how migration can bring new opportunities for sustaining and re-contextualizing musical traditions across borders.

Sounds of California Festival participant Hugo Morales writes about how, from the picket line to radio, music and theater inspire farmworkers’ spirit for change.

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