WASHINGTON — The sights, sounds and aromas of cultures from across the Atlantic and across the Rockies will be featured Wednesday on the National Mall with the opening of the 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
This year, the annual summer event explores the Basque culture that spans northern Spain and southern France, as well as the immensely diverse musical traditions that have sprung from the cultural melting pot of California.
“There is a lot going on in California,” said Sojin Kim, a curator at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. “In addition to being the most populous state, it’s also one of the most diverse states. It has the largest Native American population.”
And more than a quarter of California’s population is made up of people not born in the U.S., Kim added.
Particularly apropos of the current political conditions and conversations both here and abroad, the festival features an “On The Move” tent that will help people examine and consider how the act of moving can impact identities and culture.
“The overall theme for the 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival is resilient communities,” said James Mayer, also with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. “That is an element that unifies both the Basque culture as well as all of the different communities from California that we’re featuring.”
The “On the Move” tent will explore the unifying themes in more detail, Mayer added.
The free festival offers a wide variety of foods for sale that reflect the cultures visitors are invited to experience.
Anyone attending the festival’s evening concerts, which start at 6:30 p.m., should bring a blanket or lawn chair — no seating will be provided.
The festival is on the National Mall between 4th and 7th streets during the last week of June and first week of July — June 29-July 4 and July 7-10. Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., but special events happen most festival nights beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Find a full list of events on their website.
It’s going to be hot out on the National Mall over the next few weeks. While visiting the festival, be sure to dress appropriately and stay hydrated.
The post Smithsonian Folklife Festival highlights ‘resilient communities’ appeared first on WTOP.