Skip to main content

In addition to daily performances and activities on the National Mall, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival organizes and recommends events and exhibitions at other Smithsonian museums and venues around Washington, D.C. All events are free unless otherwise noted.


Upcoming Events

Choro Das 3
August 10, 2019, 7 to 9 p.m.

World Music Night: Jean-Francis Zarré with Sahel
Fort Dupont Park
3600 F St. SE, Washington, D.C.
nps.gov

Enjoy an evening concert in the park with Jean-Francis Zarré and his band Sahel. The D.C.-based group brings the sounds of Senegal and Cape Verde to the district, mixing traditional music with reggae, funk, and song lyrics in English, Spanish, Lingala, French, Wolof, and Portuguese. This program received federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center. This event is co-presented by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.


Exhibitions

Frame of Mind

Frame of Mind: Punk Photos from Washington, D.C., and Beyond, 1997–2017
Lost Origins Gallery
3110 Mt. Pleasant St., Washington, D.C.
June 15–August 11, 2019
lostorigins.gallery

Frame of Mind is a new book and companion exhibition by D.C. photographer Antonia Tricarico. The project captures underground music through both photos and essays. While the photos include musicians of all genders, the essays are written exclusively by women.

Musical Crossroads

Musical Crossroads
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Permanent exhibition
nmaahc.si.edu

In exploring how the intermingling of musical and cultural traditions, styles and beliefs, brought forth new modes of American musical expression, the exhibition expands the definition of African American music to include African American music-makers in all genres and styles.


Past Events

Choro Das 3
July 7, 2019, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Choro Das 3
MilkBoy ArtHouse
7416 Baltimore Ave., College Park, Maryland
sambajig.com

Choro Das 3 is a vibrant and virtuosic all-female instrumental ensemble from São Paulo, Brazil. These three young, talented sisters play in seamless harmony, carrying on the rich tradition of Brazil’s first popular music, choro. Choro Das 3 is a family-based band composed of: Corina (flutes), Lia (seven-string acoustic guitar), and Elisa (mandolin, clarinet, banjo, and piano) with their father, Eduardo (pandeiro). Tickets are $25 for general admission seating. This event is co-presented by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Mary D. Williams at Kennedy Center
July 3, 2019, 6 to 7 p.m.

Mary D. Williams Sings Songs of Protest and Promise
Millennium Stage, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F St. NW, Washington, D.C.
kennedy-center.org

Join gospel singer and educator Mary D. Williams for a sonic journey of the music from the civil rights movement, and come prepared to participate! A performer and historian, she is a leading voice and authority on the narrative of music and black Southern culture. Recognized as one of the best gospel singers in the country, Williams believes the music of her ancestors still has the power to bring people together today, as it did during slavery and the civil rights movement. Her performance offers a powerful message of faith, freedom, and celebration of the human spirit. Co-presented in association with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the Smithsonian Year of Music. All Millennium Stage events stream live on the Kennedy Center website.

Bolivian Folk Dance Company  at Kennedy Center
July 2, 2019, 6 to 7 p.m.

Hughes Schools Performing Arts Bolivian Folk Dance Company
Millennium Stage, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F St. NW, Washington, D.C.
kennedy-center.org

Based in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Hughes Schools promotes cultural pride, academic excellence, and artistic brilliance. Featuring twenty-four dancers and ten musicians from ages fourteen to eighteen, this award-winning group has performed throughout Latin American, United States, and Italy. Through song and dance, they demonstrate Bolivia’s remarkable cultural heritage. Hughes Schools is a ASHA/USAID partner. Co-presented in association with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the Smithsonian Year of Music. All Millennium Stage events stream live on the Kennedy Center website.

Rio Mira at Kennedy Center
July 1, 2019, 6 to 7 p.m.

Río Mira
Millennium Stage, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F St. NW, Washington, D.C.
kennedy-center.org

Co-produced by GRAMMY nominee Ivis Flies and GRAMMY winner Ivan Benavides, Río Mira is a marimba supergroup with Afro-Pacific binational heritage consisting of some of the most in-demand and respected musicians from Colombia and Ecuador. Their music is the sonic rejoining of the region known as El Pacifico Sur, one connected by history, ecology, and culture and divided by the national borders of Ecuador and Colombia. Presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. All Millennium Stage events stream live on the Kennedy Center website.

The Bright Siders at Kennedy Center
June 30, 2019, 6 to 7 p.m.

The Bright Siders : A Tribute to Pete Seeger
Millennium Stage, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F St. NW, Washington, D.C.
kennedy-center.org

The Bright Siders create music that helps children and families have meaningful conversations about emotions. Founded by award-winning songwriter Kristin Andreassen and Brooklyn-based child psychiatrist Dr. Kari Groff, they have put together a not-to-be-missed program celebrating the life and legacy of Pete Seeger, who would have turned 100 this year. Co-presented in association with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, and the Smithsonian Year of Music. All Millennium Stage events stream live on the Kennedy Center website.

Sound Scene
June 29 and 30, 2019, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Sound Scene
Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Independence Avenue and Seventh Street SW, Washington, D.C.
dclisteninglounge.org

This annual interactive audio art installation for all ages is presented by the DC Listening Lounge collective. Rest in a dream tent, hold sounds in your hands, listen through your fingertips, take an acoustic tour, practice mixing samples, transform words from speech to text to dance, and more.

Sisterfire at Kennedy Center
June 29, 2019, 6 to 7 p.m.

Sisterfire Showcase
Millennium Stage, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F St. NW, Washington, D.C.
kennedy-center.org

Roadwork brings the social power of music to the Millennium Stage through the spirit of its Sisterfire Festival. Join us for an intergenerational, multiracial, post-genre hour of womensound.  This year’s showcase features Ysaye Barnwell (singer, composer, arranger, and Sweet Honey In The Rock alum), Ariel Horowitz (violinist, composer, activist), Be Steadwell (vocalist, composer, and director), and Yasmin Williams (acoustic fingerstyle guitarist and composer). Presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival: Social Power of Music. All Millennium Stage events stream live on the Kennedy Center website.

Singing Our Way to Freedom
June 28, 2019, 12 to 2 p.m.

Film Screening: Singing Our Way to Freedom
Hall of Music, National Museum of American History
1300 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
music.si.edu

This documentary film offers a vibrant, multilayered look at the life of Chicano musician, composer, and community activist Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez. It chronicles Chunky’s life from his humble beginnings as a farmworker in Blythe, California, to receiving a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2013. After the film, stay for a discussion between director Paul Espinosa and Grammy Award-winning musician Quetzal Flores before his performance at the Folklife Festival on June 29. Co-presented by the National Museum of American History and the Folklife Festival as part of the Smithsonian Year of Music.

DowntownDC LIVE: Cigarette
June 27, 2019, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

DowntownDC Live: Cigarette
Franklin Park
Thirteenth and I streets NW, Washington, D.C.
downtowndc.org

Get out under the midday sun and enjoy the dreamy slo-core strains of Cigarette. This D.C.-based quartet features Drew Hagelin (drums and percussion), Evan Napala (guitar and vocals), Richard Howard (bass and vocals) and Jonathan Howard (guitar and vocals). This performance is presented in partnership with the DowntownDC BID. Co-presented by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and D.C.: The Social Power of Music.

Music Lab with Christylez Bacon and Wytold
June 23, 2019, 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Music Lab with Christylez Bacon and Wytold
Apple Carnegie Library
801 K St. NW, Washington, D.C.
apple.com

Hip-hop meets electric cello in this performance and workshop for families and youth. In this session, D.C.-based progressive hip-hop artist Christylez Bacon works with classically trained cellist Wytold to demonstrate how storytelling and collaboration are fundamental to his music. This program is presented as part of Apple’s StoryMakers Festival. Co-presented by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and D.C.: The Social Power of Music.

DowntownDC LIVE: TK Echo
June 20, 2019, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

DowntownDC Live: TK Echo
Franklin Park
Thirteenth and I streets NW, Washington, D.C.
downtowndc.org

Grab your lunch and kick off summer with a daytime concert by TK Echo. This quartet, formed in 2016, features D.C. music veterans, including Josh Blair (drums), Fiona Griffin (keyboards, vocals), Aaron Leitko (bass), and Chris Richards (guitar, vocals). With deep roots in the local punk scene, band members of TK Echo have previously played with Et At It, Protect-U, Q and Not U, Supersystem, and other groups. This performance is presented in partnership with the DowntownDC BID. Co-presented by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and D.C.: The Social Power of Music.

Music Lab with WAWA and DJ SupaLee
June 16, 2019, 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Music Lab with WAWA and DJ SupaLee
Apple Carnegie Library
801 K St. NW, Washington, D.C.
apple.com

ASL

Music is more than an auditory experience—it is also a visual, kinetic, rhythmic, and lyrical experience. Explore how music in D/deaf culture is interpreted, engaged, composed, and performed with DMV-based hip-hop artist WAWA and DJ SupaLee. This program is presented as part of Apple’s StoryMakers Festival. This program will be ASL interpreted. Co-presented by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and D.C.: The Social Power of Music.

Frame of Mind
June 15, 2019, 6 to 9 p.m.

Frame of Mind Opening Party
Lost Origins Gallery
3110 Mt. Pleasant St., Washington, D.C.
lostorigins.gallery

Join us for the book launch and opening reception for Frame of Mind: Punk Photos and Essays from Washington, DC, and Beyond, 1997–2017 by D.C. photographer Antonia Tricarico. Prints and books will be available for purchase. Co-presented by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and D.C.: The Social Power of Music.

Brazil in D.C. Mixer
June 8, 2019, 2 to 5 p.m.

Brazil in D.C. Mixer
Rhizome DC
6950 Maple St. NW, Washington, D.C.
rhizomedc.org

As we look forward to a program about Brazil at the 2020 Folklife Festival, we want to connect with people participating and interested in Brazilian music and culture in the D.C. area. There will be activities for children, food available, drinks for those 21+, and a chance to engage with fellow community members. Suggested donation of $5. Co-presented by Takoma Radio.

There’s a Story in Everything: Zinemaking  & Comic Workshop
May 18, 2019, 1 to 3 p.m.

There’s a Story in Everything: Zinemaking & Comic Workshop
Lost Origins Gallery
3110 Mt. Pleasant St., Washington, D.C.
eventbrite.com

Learn to make zines, a universal form of self-expression, with Smithsonian illustrator and comic artist Evan Keeling. This hands-on workshop is based on the idea that everyone has a story to tell and can create their own zines and comics regardless of artistic ability. This event is co-produced with Lost Origins Gallery, which is currently presenting Action. Reaction, Action: Visualizing Fugazi, an exhibition exploring the impact of the band Fugazi. The event is free but limited to fifteen people; register online.

Shakers and Chekeres: A Hands-and-Ears-On Workshop
May 6, 2019, 6 to 7 p.m.

Shakers and Chekeres: A Hands-and-Ears-On Workshop
7DrumCity
1506 North Capitol St. NW, Washington, D.C.
knowledgecommonsdc.org

Make and decorate your own water bottle shaker while taking a musical journey through Latin America and learning about the role of this fundamental percussion instruments. In this free workshop for all ages, Folklife curator Cristina Díaz-Carrera and intern Melissa Queen will cover maracatu rhythms of the Northeastern coast of Brazil to the iconic Cuban rumba. Registration is required. Presented in partnership with the 2020 Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the 2019 Funk Parade.

Sound Scene
April 27, 2019, 7 to 10 p.m.

Visualizing Fugazi Opening Party
Lost Origins Gallery
3110 Mt. Pleasant St., Washington, D.C.
lostorigins.gallery

Join us for the opening reception of a limited-run exhibition exploring the impacts of D.C. punk band Fugazi. The event is all ages. Drinks will be provided. Co-presented by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and DC: The Social Power of Music.

Sound Scene
April 20, 2019, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Make Me Wanna Holler! Exploring DC’s Music Legacy
Charles Sumner School and National Postal Museum
Washington, D.C.
music.si.edu

This free event, presented at two historic D.C. buildings, features the social power of local music and poetry. In April 2019, the U.S. Postal Service releases its new stamp honoring Marvin Gaye, D.C. native son and international music legend. In celebration, join us for a day of activities, discussion, and performances that explore DCʼs rich music history—its legacies and contemporary resonances. Co-presented by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and DC: The Social Power of Music. View event flyer.

“That little piggie went to market, so they’re kicking out everyone”
April 19, 2019, 12 to 1 p.m.

“That little piggie went to market, so they’re kicking out everyone”
Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
600 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington, D.C.
music.si.edu

Explore neighborhood change in DC local music from the 1990s through present day with Nichole Procopenko, D.C. Music program curator at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and archivist at Dischord Records. Join us for a guided listening and discussion of selected tracks by D.C. musicians that address the shifting ground of the city. Presented by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and D.C.: The Social Power of Music.

Hip-Hop Culture Block Party
March 7, 2019, 6 to 8 p.m.

Hip-Hop Culture Block Party
Smithsonian National Postal Museum
2 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Washington, D.C.
postalmuseum.si.edu

In honor of the twentieth anniversary of the Hip-Hop Culture stamp, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum is hosting an indoor Hip-Hop Block Culture Party featuring the DMV Hip Hop Orchestra. Come dance, learn, and have fun for the culture! Admission is free, but registration is requested on Eventbrite.

Mother Tongue Film Festival 2019
February 21–24, 2019

Mother Tongue Film Festival
Various venues in Washington, D.C.
mothertongue.si.edu

The Smithsonian’s Mother Tongue Film Festival celebrates cultural and linguistic diversity by showcasing films and filmmakers from around the world over four days of free screenings in Washington, D.C. Since 2016, the annual festival has opened on February 21, International Mother Language Day. In 2019, the Mother Tongue Film Festival will be featured as a major event of the United Nations’ Year of Indigenous Languages.


Angola Prison with Lead Belly in the foreground
February 12, 2019, 4 to 5 p.m.

Prison Music: Reconsidering Music at Louisiana State Penitentiary, 1964–1976
Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
600 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington, D.C.
music.si.edu

Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola is one of the most notorious prisons in the United States, a place also known for a rich music history. The prison has been a research site for folklorists John and Alan Lomax and Harry Oster and held well known musicians, including Huddie William Ledbetter or “Lead Belly” and Robert Pete Williams. Join Georgetown University professor and ethnomusicologist Benjamin J. Harbert for this free lecture.

Worlds of Sound: The Ballad of Folkways
February 11, 2019, 1 to 3 p.m.

Film Screening: Worlds of Sound: The Ballad of Folkways
Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
600 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington, D.C.
music.si.edu

Folkways Records founder Moses Asch turned the music business model on its head. He avoided hit makers and catered to unknown musicians. He dug into vanishing traditions around the world to harness music and sounds that inspire people. Artists like Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly can still be heard on this original indie label that, for over sixty years, has made good on its mission of gathering sound and spreading it to the people.

Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry
January 11, 2019, 5 to 7 p.m.

Folkways Vinyl Release Listening Party
Home Rule Records
702 Kennedy St. NW, Washington, D.C.
music.si.edu

Join Home Rule Records, ANXO Cidery, and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings as we celebrate the vinyl release of Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry’s Sing, Kaia Kater’s Grenades, Lead Belly’s Easy Rider, and Dave Van Ronk’s Dave Van Ronk Sings Ballads, Blues, and a Spiritual. Enjoy ANXO snacks and ciders for purchase.

Mississippi John Hurt
January 8, 2019, 4 to 5 p.m.

Meaning, Memory, and Music
Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
600 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington, D.C.
music.si.edu

What is the place of music in our lives as both shared and individual experience? This talk offers a reflection on the many ways music features in memory and meaning by tracing the arc of musical experience in John Fenn’s life as a listener, creator, and researcher. Fenn is the head of the Research and Programs section of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. He has conducted fieldwork on expressive culture in Malawi, China, Indiana, and Oregon—exploring a wide range of practices, traditions, and communities. 

Social Power of Music
January 2, 2019, 6 to 8 p.m.

The Social Power of Music Listening Party
Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe
2475 18th St. NW, Washington, D.C.
music.si.edu

Be among the first to hear the new Smithsonian Folkways Recordings box set, The Social Power of Music. This curated collection chronicles the vivid, impassioned, and myriad ways in which music binds, incites, memorializes, and moves groups of people. With over eighty tracks on four CDs, it invites listeners into musical practices, episodes, and movements throughout the United States and beyond.


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

.