The annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival kicks off on the National Mall today, as usual highlighting three cultures to share their music, goods, traditions and rituals. The lineup for this year sounds pretty enticing, which we haven't been able to say in recent years when planners seemed to choose some themes seemingly at random. U.S. maritime culture, anyone? Or what about that beekeeping year? That was weird. Did anyone even go to that?
This year features Giving Voice (a nod to African-American oral traditions), Las Américas (starring some prominent U.S. and Latino musical performers) and the culture of Wales.
Multiple events run nearly every hour on the hour, and it's all free. Because you don't really want to pay to attend an accordion workshop (3 p.m., today), but if it's free, how could you say no? The photo ops alone make it all worthwhile.
Some of today's festival highlights:
Noon: WPFW-FM Live Broadcast: Don't Forget the Blues
1 p.m.: Giving Voice: The Persona of the Black Deejay
2 p.m.: Wit and Wisdom of the Barbershop
3 and 5 p.m.: Hair Stories
6 p.m.: Evening Concert: Circle of Love, A Storytelling Session
Noon: Bakestone and Cauldron Cooking
1 p.m.: Fiddle, Pipes, and Guitar
2 p.m.: Welsh Lesson: Greetings
4 p.m.: Welsh Dance Music
5 p.m.: Welsh Lesson: ABCs
5:30-7:30 p.m.: Evening Concert: Pub Performance
6-7:30 p.m.: Evening Concert:Welsh Harps, Fiddles, and Flutes
See the full schedule here. The festival runs through Sunday, July 5.