The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, one of DC’s most anticipated annual events begins this Wednesday! Taking place on the National Mall between 3rd and 4th Streets from June 29 – July 4 then July 7-10, this year’s celebration will showcase the culture and heritage of Basque country as well as California sounds.
“Basque: Innovation by Culture” will feature musicians, cooks, artisans, craftsman, and language experts who will explore themes of cultural sustainability, identity, and migration with festivities and fun for all ages. Hands-on activities for families and children will take place at the Txiko Txoko tent — txiko txoko (pronounced cheeki-choko) is a Basque phrase that means “little place” — and throughout the event. Take a Basque language lesson, try a dance class led by Basque Americans, play kid-friendly versions of Basque sports such as stone lifting and corn-cob racing, and do crafts inspired by the art and traditions of the region.
“Sounds of California” will highlight the diverse music from the state, whose musicians demonstrate the social power of music and cultural heritage. Enjoy daytime performances, evening concerts, activities for all ages, and discussions. Sixty California musicians will perform music reflecting their different influences and heritage, including Afghan, Afro-Cuban, Armenian, Filipino, Japanese, Kumeyaay, Mexican and more. Most of these will take place in the main tent. In the smaller “La Cueva” and “The Studio” tents, visitors can engage directly with participants as they prepare for their performances, teach games, and demonstrate crafts, such as basket and instrument-making, while master artists lead dance, language, and music workshops.
Festival hours are 11am – 5pm each day it runs, with special events taking place most evenings at 6:30pm. Admission is free. For more information, including the schedule of events, visit the Festival website.