Smithsonian’s 46th Annual Folklife Festival June 27–July 1 and July 4–8, 2012

Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu

From an email:

It’s that time of year again for the Smithsonian’s 46th annual Folklife Festival. The 10-day free festival runs June 27–July 1 and July 4–8, 2012 on the National Mall. This year’s festival features live music, group dance parties, demonstrations, local food and much more!

Be sure to check out this year’s festival programs:

Campus and Community celebrates the 150th anniversary of the founding of two institutions that touch our lives every day: public universities and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Citified: Arts and Creativity East of the Anacostia River presented in collaboration with the Anacostia Community Museum, highlights the connections among residents of urban communities as expressed through arts and creativity.

Creativity and Crisis: Unfolding the AIDS Memorial Quilt features the remarkable artistry, inspiration and impact of the largest community art project in the world.

Wondering where the funk has gone? Look no further than this year’s Festival! The National Museum of African American History and Culture will “Bring Back the Funk” with a free opening concert on the National Mall, Wednesday, June 27, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The free concert will feature music legends George Clinton, Meshell Ndegeocello and Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk.

17 Comment

  • I recommend that you do not go to this opening event. Nope. Crowded, hot, threats of violence, the Park Service lacks the funkospheric experience needed to pull something like this off, you have to go to work in the morning….

    OK, if you have to go, I recommend going late. Give things time to settle in. I’ll tell you what — I’ll tweet PoP and he can post if it’s an OK scene and y’all can crowd on in. Plan on showing up, say,at 6:15 or so. 6:30 if I can’t get off work early to perform this community service for PoPland.

  • I was really disappointed with these selections- they seem very nebulous as opposed to specific exhibits in the past (Bhutan, Texas, NASA, Wales). The AIDS quilt should be moving, but how can “public universities” offer a glimpse into a unique culture? I also don’t see any opportunities for international food, which is a big ole bummer.

    • +1. This probably is the first year I won’t attend in as long as I can remember.

      • The Folklife Festival transcends geographical boundaries. Expand your horizons, mate! There are some very interesting programs this year.

    • What happened to at least one international program area? Is it a funding problem?

      • I’ve heard it is. The states or countries will often subsidize many of their representatives, and with budgets so tight, that wasn’t feasible.

        I agree that it’s not my favorite theme, but it’s still fun. To me, the folklife festival just says “Summer is here!”

    • I agree. “East of the Anacostia” is the only one that is based on a specific geographic area. I enjoyed in past years when they had exhibits from two specific international locations and one specific US location.

      These programs all sound interesting, but not what I associate with the Folklife Festival.

    • When I walked by on Sunday they had a tent set up for Azerbaijani food and Southern Comfort food. Not quite sure how that fits in with the themes, but it seems like they will at least have some international food?

    • +1, I thought they typically highlighted one or two countries, one state (or city?), and one cultural theme (like a style of music, or historical phenomenon like the Silk Road). This year’s setup sounds odd.

    • I made a similar remark to my girlfriend when I saw the themes. They sound so abstract and boring (although it’s great that the Annacostia arts movement will be getting attention from a broader audience). Maybe the USDA will have some interesting food-related exhibits. The first year I lived here there was some program tht sounded totally uninteresting, but it involved a beehive and tofu-making demonstration that was actually really neat.

      • WOW… I am always amazed at what people think and actually say in BLOGS – thank god they are NONs.

        I sure wouldn’t refer to the AIDS Memorial Quilt – the largest community art project in the world – as “so abstract and boring.”


        • I was referring more to the other programs, and as mentioned I made the comment outside of the blog world also (what does NON mean?). But I’ll bite…

          The AIDS quilt is meaningful to me– I’m gay and have a lot of friends that have been affected by the AIDS crisis, and I sew and have an appreciation for quilting– but I don’t think your average DC tourist is going to find it as exciting as previous years’ exhibits. And what’s going to accompany the quilt? There are a lot of interesting pieces of art in the world, but how do you build an exhibit around them that the general public will get something out of?

          • How about we just ignore it? AIDS really is not much fun – I agree.

            Last I knew a museum was supposed to educate us. Verizon Center is there to excite us.

            NON’s – my short for A”non”ymous

          • Don’t you know that people learn the most when they are excited about a topic, in touch with it, relating to it, feeling that it’s relevant to them? If the museum where I work presents a topic that doesn’t excite our visitors, then we have failed. Dismally.

        • Just relax Frankie…

  • Good gravy, this sounds like the most boring Folklife festival ever.

  • Ok, is it just me or does it seem odd to feature Anacostia on the Mall? I’m not dissing Anacostia. My point is that rather than go see some exhibits ABOUT Anacostia I could actually GO to Anacostia to experience the cultural offerings of the neighborhood.

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