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

Upcoming Events

The Potomac River, with a single rower heading upriver, and the buildings of the Kennedy Center in the background.
March 22–April 22, 2023

RiverRun Festival
Kennedy Center

Spanning World Water Day to Earth Day, RiverRun invites hundreds of extraordinary talents from around the world—musicians, actors, dancers, authors, filmmakers, chefs, and visual artists—to converge in Washington, D.C. RiverRun will carve an artistic path through the stages, grand halls, and terraces of the Kennedy Center as well as the studios and green spaces of the REACH.


Marvin Gaye on stage in a pink jacket and silvery shirt, hands both raised, and sweat on his brow.
On view until November 2023

Spirit in the Dark: Religion in Black Music, Activism and Popular Culture
National Museum of African American History and Culture

Spirit in the Dark examines Black religious life through a selection of photographs from the Johnson Publishing Company, publisher of Ebony, Jet, and Negro Digest. The images in the exhibition spotlight noteworthy individuals and uplift objects from the museum’s collection, many on display for the first time. Together they reflect diverse aspects of the Black religious experience and testify to the role religion has played in the struggle for human dignity and social equality.

Digital illustration of Black faces, a compass rose, and a galaxy formation.
On view March 24, 2023

Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures
National Museum of African American History and Culture

Investigating Afrofuturist expression through art, music, activism and more, this exhibition explores and reveals Afrofuturism’s historic and poignant engagement with African American history and popular culture. From the enslaved looking to the cosmos for freedom to popular sci-fi stories inspiring Black astronauts, to the musical influence of Sun Ra, OutKast, Janelle Monae, P-Funk, and more, this exhibition covers the broad and impactful spectrum of Afrofuturism.

Black and white photograph of Sister Rosetta Tharpe singing and holding a guitar.
On view until February 2024

Music HerStory: Women and Music of Social Change
National Museum of American History

From our earliest musical encounters to the formation of complex social identities, the American musical landscape wouldn’t be what it is today without the countless contributions of women changemakers, groundbreakers, and tradition-bearers. Women’s leadership in music and social change is central to the American story. Music HerStory explores these contributions through unique media collections from across the Smithsonian.

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