DC Public Library Punk & Go-Go Archives
In support of its mission to document local history and culture, the DC Public Library Punk and Go-Go Archives collect and preserve materials that capture our city’s amazing music. The local community contributes to this effort by donating collections, attending library music programs and performances, and volunteering to organize collections. At the Festival, the library team demonstrated their audio digitization and Memory Lab; engaged the public in making zines, journals, and buttons; provided punk rock-themed story time for young visitors; presented workshops by Malik DOPE Drummer, OnRaé LaTeal (Black Girls Handgames Project), and Nico “the GoGo-ologist” Hobson (GoWin Media).
Globe Collection and Press at MICA
Globe Poster Printing Corporation, historically one of the nation’s largest showcard printers, has been telling the story of American music and entertainment through bright and iconic posters since 1929. For decades, these iconic posters promoted both national acts and homegrown shows on the walls and posts of D.C. streets. At the Festival, visitors browsed examples from their historic collection, reminisced about the shows they had attended, and took home postcard-size posters that Globe Collection and Press at MICA printed on site.
Anacostia Community Museum
For over fifty years, the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum has engaged local communities in documentation projects, exhibitions, and programs. Festival visitors learned about the current Off-Site and In the City initiative as well as past research on D.C. school music programs, Banding Together: School Bands as Instruments of Opportunity. Local artist Alma Robinson provided music-themed hands-on activities making banjos, drums, and pop-up cards.
Mayor’s Office on African American Affairs
This division of the D.C. Mayor’s office engages the diverse African American communities of the city through advocacy, capacity building, and community engagement. The office was created to highlight the rich cultural identity as well as focus its efforts in the areas of housing, health, education, employment, social services, public safety, and expanding business opportunities for African Americans in Washington, D.C.
D.C. Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment
This office produces and broadcasts programming for the city’s public, educational, and government access cable channels and digital radio station; regulates the D.C.’s cable television service providers; provides customer service for cable subscribers; and supports a sustainable creative economy and labor market in the District of Columbia. Partnering with Georgetown University in 2019, the office launched the first-ever D.C. Music Census, which seeks to gather information that will reveal challenges and opportunities and inform the growth of the local music ecosystem.
National Park Service
Staff from the Cultural Resources and Natural Resource Stewardship and Science divisions shared information about their research and programming initiatives, which includes music-related topics such as the popular Summer in the Parks, which was established in 1968 to 1976 and directly contributed to local music scenes—providing performing opportunities for young go-go and punk artists.
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
The Rinzler Archives of the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage contains thousands of audio recordings, photos, and moving images documenting D.C. local culture and communities, including over fifty years of Smithsonian Folklife Festival performances. Visitors learned about these resources and how to access them. Visitors were also invited to record their own five-minute D.C. music memory—a story about the role of music in their life or a notable music experience in the city. These recordings, facilitated by the DC Oral History Collaborative, will become part of the Rinzler Archives.
DC Oral History Collaborative
Established in 2016 as a partnership project of the Historical Society of Washington, DC, and HumanitiesDC, with the DC Public Library as the sponsoring agency, the DC Oral History Collaborative preserves unrecorded Washington history by making existing oral history recordings more accessible and giving residents the training and resources they need to conduct quality interviews.
The Will to Adorn
The Will to Adorn: African American Dress and the Aesthetics of Identity is a multi-year collaborative research and public presentation project of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. It explores the diversity of African American identities as expressed through the cultural aesthetics and traditional arts of the body, dress, and adornment. At the Festival, the project team asked and recorded people’s responses to the question: how do you wear your love of D.C. music?
Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, University of Maryland
The music, theatre, and dance materials of this library include circulating, reference, and serial collections, consisting of books, musical scores, periodicals, as well as audio and video recordings. At the Festival, the archives featured the Washington, D.C., Punk and Indie Fanzine Collection (DCPIFC), which documents the publications created by fans and participants in local music scenes that have thrived in the area since the late 1970s.
#DontMuteDC – Don’t Mute the Movement
The #DontMuteDC uprising that began with a battle over music and public space has morphed into an urgent public conversation about gentrification, culture, history, and racial disparities in education, healthcare, criminal justice, and public safety. Go-go music has given a voice to these issues and inspired many longtime Washingtonians to renew their ongoing fight to enjoy the prosperity washing over the city. Visitors talked about cultural preservation, fighting for peace and against displacement, and a more equitable city with cultural scholar Natalie Hopkinson, peace activist Ronald “Mo” Moten, hashtag creator Julien Broomfield, music producer Tone P, and Metro PCS store owner Donald Campbell.
Local Record Market
Independent record labels have long been a staple of the D.C. music scene—controlling the terms and keeping local the means of producing their music. This market offered the rare opportunity to shop in person a selection of these local catalogs and meet the people behind the labels that typically operate only as mail-order retail. Participating labels: Carpark, Crooked Beat, Dischord, Electric Cowbell, Free Dirt, Lovitt, Smithsonian Folkways, and This Could Go Boom!
Crow Vic and Area Woman’s Weird World Record Party
Local artists and producers Jim Thomson and Eliza Childress took visitors on a vinyl romp through a universe of varied regional music styles from ethnic classics, old-world curios, and grooves from Washington, D.C., and beyond.
DC Bluegrass Union Jam
Visitors were encouraged to bring their instruments and join the DC Bluegrass Union for an open jam session D.C. has had a significant bluegrass underground since the late 1940s. Over the last two decades, it has been undergoing a renaissance, and the DC Bluegrass Union has contributed to supporting and promoting the music locally.
The Royal Pocket Tour
“The pocket” is the drumbeat that survived the hellish transatlantic slave trade and continues to be used to communicate in many of the District of Columbia’s black neighborhoods. Organized by Ronald Moten and Natalie Hopkinson, three legendary go-go conga players, along with veteran musicians from seminal bands, performed a special selection celebrating black resilience and strength—400 years since the first enslaved Africans landed in Jamestown, Virginia.