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  • Behind the Scenes: Festival Installation

    Behind the scenes at the 2012 Folklife Festival.
    Behind the scenes at the 2012 Folklife Festival.

    If you have found yourself walking past the National Mall over the past few days, you might have noticed an encampment of white tents and trailers going up. Well, the 2012 Folklife Festival is just around the corner, and we’ve been working hard to get everything set up in time for the opening ceremony. Although it has been very hot out on the Mall, our curatorial teams, administrators, technical and exhibits staff, and interns have been toiling away to make sure the Festival installation goes smoothly.

    There are many groups of people who contribute to the installation process and prepare everything for the Festival. The technical department has been working around the clock making and assembling all the tents, stages, and props, while the design department has been hard at work creating everything from the menus to the space-themed stage set for George Clinton’s concert. The University of Tennessee’s amazing Solar House was delivered a few nights ago at midnight, and our program curators stayed late to receive it, while the technicians worked through the night to finish the delivery. Even the interns have been cleaning out igloo coolers to ensure that there will be plentiful drinking water for Festival staff, volunteers, and participants!

    The wonderful Festival volunteers are also getting ready. If you have any questions or just want to chat with a friendly volunteer, look for one of our volunteer greeters, who will be wearing a blue Folklife Festival apron and wide-brimmed sun hat. The volunteers will be training on Saturday and we couldn’t run the festival without them.

    What kinds of amenities can Festival-goers expect this year? Well, for one thing, it is going to be pretty hot over the next few weeks, so state-of-the-art water stations will be serving up filtered water on the Festival site for free! There are also fans set up in some of the performance venues to keep staff, participants, and guests from overheating. Be sure to keep an eye out for the water stations and fans, especially on hot days! Most importantly, come with an open mind and your dancing shoes to ensure that you take full advantage of all the 2012 Folklife Festival has to offer.

    See images from behind the scenes during the festival installation. Click on images to enlarge.  All photos by James Mayer

    James Mayer is an intern at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.  He recently graduated from Macalester College, where he studied History and Classics.

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