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Roadwork 40th Anniversary Concert

The Movement That Put Women’s Culture on the Road

July 7–8, 2018

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival joins Roadwork in celebrating its fortieth anniversary as a D.C.-based multiracial coalition that puts women artists on the road globally. The 2018 Festival will close with two evening concerts featuring Roadwork performers and millennial women artists whose sounds lead us into the future. Our daytime stage offerings include poetry, spoken word, and activist reflections on women’s cultures past and future.  

Founded in 1978 by women leaders from African American civil rights, women’s, global justice, and lesbian-feminist movements, Roadwork aims at transforming consciousness and creating new movements in global arts and social justice. The organization produced concerts, festivals, tours, and rallies that inspired tens of thousands of people to work for social change. It built coalitions across race, gender, sexual orientation, and economic class—the foundations of intersectional activism today.

July 7, 6–7 p.m.
The Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage
Join us for free concert featuring D.C. artists Ysaye Maria Barnwell, Be Steadwell, and Carolyn Malachi.

July 8, 6–8 p.m.
Folklife Festival, Ralph Rinzler Concert Stage
Enjoy an evening on the National Mall with Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely, Holly Near, the Bernice Johnson Reagon Songbook, Martha Redbone, Alexis DeVeaux, Ariel Horowitz, and many more.

Folklife Festival co-founder Ralph Rinzler saw artists as more than entertainers. To him they were leaders of social change. An early Roadwork supporter, Rinzler provided its office on Harvard Street NW and, along with Smithsonian Folkways artist Pete Seeger, remained an unwavering advocate of the organization’s local and global work.

July 8, daytime sessions
Folklife Festival, narrative stage
First session: Poetry and spoken word
Second session: Activists reflect on Roadwork then and now

Sisterfire at the 2018 Folklife Festival is a part of the Roadwork Oral History and Documentary Project. All concerts and narrative sessions will be recorded for a feature-length documentary and an online oral history archive featuring dozens of artists, activist, technicians, producers, and audience members who built the coalition.

Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.