Smithsonian Folklife Festival

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The Bhutan section of the 2008 festival.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, launched in 1967, is an international exhibition of living cultural heritage presented annually in the summer in Washington, D.C. in the United States.[1] It is held for two weeks around the Fourth of July (the U.S. Independence Day) holiday.[1] The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage produces the Festival.[1]

The Festival is free to the public, encouraging cultural exchange.[1] Attracting more than one million visitors yearly, the two-week-long celebration is the largest annual cultural event in the United States capital. Usually divided into programs featuring a nation, region, state or theme, the Festival has featured tradition bearers from more than 90 nations, every region of the United States, scores of ethnic communities, more than 100 American Indian groups, and some 70 different occupations.[1] The Festival generally includes daily and evening programs of music, song, dance, celebratory performance, crafts and cooking demonstrations, storytelling, illustrations of workers' culture, and narrative sessions for discussing cultural issues.[1] Cultural practitioners speak for themselves, with each other, and to the public.[1] Visitors participate, learning, singing, dancing, eating traditional foods, and conversing with people that the Festival program presents.[1]

List of programs by year[edit]

The regions and topics featured at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival since its inception in 1967:[2]

Year Topics
2016 Basque: Innovation by Culture;[3] Sounds of California[4]
2015 Peru
2014 China: Tradition and the Art of Living; Kenya: Mambo Po
2013 Hungarian Heritage: Roots to Revival; One World, Many Voices: Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage; The Will to Adorn: African American Diversity, Style and Identity[5]
2012 Campus and Community: Public and Land-grant Universities and the USDA at 150; Citified: Arts and Creativity East of the Anacostia River; Creativity and Crisis: Unfolding The AIDS Memorial Quilt[6]
2011 Colombia: The Nature of Culture; Peace Corps: 50th Anniversary; Rhythm and Blues: Tell It Like It Is[7]
2010 Asian Pacific American Connections: Local Lives, Global Ties; México; Smithsonian Inside Out; Special Events: Haiti, Ralph Rinzler Memorial Concert, George Wallace, Smithsonian 3D[8]
2009 Giving Voice: The Power of Words in African American Culture; Las Américas: Un Mundo Musical (The Americas: A Musical World); Wales Smithsonian Cymru[9][10]
2008 Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon; NASA: Fifty Years and Beyond; Texas: A Celebration of Music, Food, and Wine[11]
2007 Mekong River: Connecting Cultures; Northern Ireland at the Smithsonian; Roots of Virginia Culture
2006 Alberta at the Smithsonian; Been in the Storm So Long: New Orleans Evening Concert Series; Carriers of Culture: Living Native Basket Traditions; Nuestra Música: Latino Chicago
2005 Food Culture USA, Forest Service, Culture, and Community; Oman: Desert, Oasis, and Sea; Nuestra Música: Music in Latino Culture
2004 Haiti: Freedom and Creativity from the Mountains to the Sea; Nuestra Música: Music in Latino Culture; Water Ways: Mid-Atlantic Maritime Communities
2003 Appalachia: Heritage and Harmony; Scotland at the Smithsonian; Mali: From Timbuktu to Washington
2002 The Silk Road: Connecting Cultures, Creating Trust, including exhibits on Venice, Istanbul, Samarkand, nomads, Xi'an, and Nara[12]
2001 New York City at the Smithsonian, Masters of the Building Arts; Bermuda Connections
2000 El Rio, Tibetan Culture: Beyond the Land of Snows; Washington, D.C.: It’s Our Home
1999 Celebrating New Hampshire’s Stories; Gateways to Romania; South Africa: Crafting the Economic Renaissance of the Rainbow Nation
1998 Wisconsin; Rio Grande/rio Bravo Basin; Baltic Nations: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania; Pahiyas: A Philippine Harvest; Folkways 50th
1997 Mississippi Delta; African Immigrant Folklife; Sacred Sounds
1996 Iowa-Community Style; American South; Working at the Smithsonian
1995 Cape Verdean Connection; Russian Roots/American Branches; Heartbeat: Voices of First Nations Women;Czech Republic: Tradition and Transformation
1994 Masters of Traditional Arts: National Heritage Fellowships, The Bahamas, Thailand, Culture and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean
1993 US-Mexico Borderlands, American Social Dance, metro Music, Kids’ Stuff
1992 New Mexico, Creativity and Resistance: Maroon Culture in the Americas, Workers at the White House, the Changing Soundscape in Indian Country
1991 Family Farming in the Heartland; Indonesia: Forest, Field, and Sea; Land in Native American Cultures; Roots of Rhythm and Blues: the Robert Johnson Era
1990 US Virgin Islands, Senegal, Musics of Struggle
1989 Hawaii, Cultural Conservation: American Indian Program; “Les Fetes Chez Nous”: France and North America, Quincentenary Program: The Caribbean-Cultural Encounters in the New World
1988 Ingenuity and Tradition: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Cultural Conservation: American Folklore Society Centennial; Migration to Metropolitan Washington: Making a New Place Home; Music from the Peoples of the Soviet Union; Music Festival Stage: Bluegrass
1987 Michigan; Cultural Conservation and Languages: America's Many Voices; Metropolitan Washington
1986 Tennessee; Japan; Cultural Conservation: Traditional Crafts in a Post-industrial Age; American Trial Lawyers; 20th Anniversary Music Stage
1985 Louisiana; India: Mela!; Cultural Conservation: Makah and Puerto Rican mask makers; African American cornrowers, Kmhmu craftsmen, Seneca basket makers, Appalachian balladry, Cajun music, cowboy music, song, and poetry, Irish music, Mayan marimba music Mayan Indian weaving
1984 Alaska, The Grand Generation: Folklore and Aging, Black Urban Expressive Culture from Philadelphia
1983 New Jersey, France, Occupational Culture: Flight, NEA: National Heritage Awards
1982 Oklahoma, Korea, Children’s Program, National Endowment for the Arts Program
1981 Regional America: Southeastern U.S. music and crafts, Northeastern music and dance; Native American Program: Ojibwa Indians; Old Ways in the New World: South Slavic Americans; Energy and Community: Adobe architecture; Children's Program; Folklore of the Deaf; American Tent Show, National Endowment for the Arts Program
1980 Old Ways in the New World: Caribbean Americans, Southeast Asian Americans, Finnish Americans; Energy and Community: Folk housing and energy efficiency, community activities, food preservation; American Talkers: Auctioneers, pitchmen, street criers
1979 Energy and Community: Native American architecture; Folklore in Your Community; Children's Program; Medicine Show
1978 Native American Community: San Juan Pueblo of New Mexico; Occupational Community: Organ builders, sleeping car porters, sharecroppers; Energy and Community: Oil and coal industry workers; Ethnic Community: Ellis Island and American Immigration; Regional Community: Chesapeake Bay, Smith Island; Mexican Communities
1977 Virginia; Native American Program: Ojibwa, Tolowa, San Juan Pueblo, Navajo, Seneca; Working Americans: Folklore in Your Community
1976 Regional America: Northeast, Great Lakes, South, Upland South, Heartland, Great West, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Southwest; Native American Program: Tribes from the Northeast, Southeast, Southern Plains, Prairie, Northern Plains, Northwest Coast, Southwest, Plateau, Basin, Northern California, Arctic; Working Americans; Old Ways in the New World; Children’s Program; Family Folklore
1975 Regional America: Northern Plains, California Heartland; Native American Program: Iroquois Confederacy; Working Americans: Railroad workers, aircraft employees, truckers, seafarers; Old Ways in the New World: Germany, Italy, Lebanon, Japan, Mexico; African Diaspora: Jamaica, Ghana, Haiti; Children's Program; Family Folklore
1974 Mississippi; Native American Program: California tribes; Working Americans: Graphic artists, radio operators (amateur/commercial); Old Ways in the New World: Sweden, Norway, Finland, Tunisia, Greece; African Diaspora: Ghana, Trinidad & Tobago, Nigeria, Caribbean; Children's Program; Family Folklore; Performance: Evolution of American Folk Music
1973 Kentucky; Native American Program: Northern Plains Indians; Working Americans: Plumbers, carpenters, electricians, stonemasons, lathers, bricklayers, plasterers, millwrights, operating engineers, pipe fitters, sheet metal workers, steam fitters; Old Ways in the New World: Britain, Yugoslavia
1972 Maryland; Native American Program: Southwest Indians; Labor Program: ILGWU, lithographers and photoengravers, carpenters and joiners, molders and allied workers; Performance: Chicago blues, old-time country blues, gospel, First Annual Fiddlers' Convention
1971 Ohio; Native American Program: Northwest Coast Indians; Labor Program: Meat cutters and butchers; bakery and confectionery workers; glass bottle blowers; bridge, structural, and ornamental iron workers; Performance: Puerto Rican music and dance, Cajun music, country music, ragtime, shouts, jubilees, work songs, blues, Caribbean music and dance, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, old-time banjo and fiddle music
1970 Arkansas; Native American Program: Southern Plains Indians; Performance: Spanish, Irish, and Scottish bagpipers, country, bluegrass music, southern blues, Sacred Harp, Portuguese-American Fado musicians, Chinese dragon dancers, shouts, spirituals, jubilees, string bands, East European folk songs; Crafts: Dairy traditions
1969 Pennsylvania; Performance: French singers from New Hampshire and Louisiana, Grand Ole Opry performers, Turkish, Afro-Cuban, Greek singers and dancers, ballad singers, string bands, fife and drum bands, blues, shouts, jubilees, spirituals; Crafts: Sheep shearing and wool processing, corn culture, Seminole Indian crafts, carvers and toy makers, doll makers, blacksmiths, basket maker, potter; Toby Show: Traditional Touring Tent Theater
1968 Texas; Native American Program: Lummi Indians; City-Country Area: Blues, bluegrass, jazz, gospel, Cajun, Basque, Indian, dancers, ballad singers; Crafts: Butter churning, sheep shearing, soap, candy, sorghum making, milling
1967 Performance: American fife and drum groups; brass bands; string bands; gospel; shouts; jubilees; spirituals; Puerto Rican music; New Orleans jazz; Cajun music; ballads; Mesquakie Indian music; blues; country music; polka music; cowboy songs; clogging; Scottish, Russian, Irish dancers; Chinese New Year's Pantomime; King Island Eskimo dancers; dance of Galicia; Crafts: American basket makers, carvers, doll makers, needleworkers, potters, blacksmith, silversmith, spinners, weavers

Scenes from the 2008 festival[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Mission and History". Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 2015-06-23. Retrieved 2016-06-19. 
  2. ^ "Programs by Year". Smithsonian Institution Folklife Festival. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2016-06-19. 
  3. ^ "Basque: Innovation by Culture". 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 2016-02-13. Retrieved 2016-06-19. 
  4. ^ "Sounds of California". 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 2016-06-19. Retrieved 2016-06-19. 
  5. ^ "2013 Festival Information". 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 2013-06-07. Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  6. ^ "2012 Festival Information". 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 2012-06-24. Retrieved 2012-06-24. 
  7. ^ "2011 Festival Information". 2011 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  8. ^ "Festival Programs". 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 2010-07-02. Retrieved 2012-06-24. 
  9. ^ "A 'one-night' house for America". BBC Wales. 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  10. ^ "2009 Festival Schedule". Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 2009-07-02. Retrieved 2012-06-24. 
  11. ^ "2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival". Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  12. ^ The Silk Road: Connecting Cultures, Creating Trust

External links[edit]