The 2016 Folklife Festival celebrated resilient communities around the world. Visitors could discover how the Basque country sustains culture, drawing on traditions to innovate in a rapidly changing world. Audiences could learn renowned cooking techniques and phrases in the Euskara language, experience bertsolaritza poetry competitions and stone-lifting matches, or drink a refreshing glass of cider or rioja wine and meet master artisans. In the other main program, visitors were invited to explore the Sounds of California through the music and stories of communities shaping the diverse state, and to interact with artists in music workshops or stretch out on the lawn for an evening concert series.
In 2016, the Festival was located on the National Mall between 4th and 7th streets, and between Madison Drive and Jefferson Drive, just north of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (see site plan , ). The Festival Marketplace was inside the Arts and Industries Building. Most music and dance performances took place in the Musika eta Dantza Etxea, Frontoia, Sounds of California Stage & Plaza, and indoors at the Arts and Industries Building Stage. Evening concerts were held at the Ralph Rinzler Concert Stage, along 4th Street. The 2016 Festival took place for two five-day weeks (June 29-July 4 and July 7-10) and featured three programs and special events including the Rinzler Concert. The 2016 guide included participant lists for each program, a site plan, and daily schedules.