This year’s plans were upended by the global pandemic, but organizers of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival remain committed to making space for sharing ideas, food, and music. This year it will happen online through a series of digital discussions, workshops, and performances. The program schedule is available at festival.si.edu/schedule; weekly events occur through August and daily events June 24 through July 5.
Called “Smithsonian Folklife Festival: Beyond the Mall,” programming has been collaboratively created with partners from the United Arab Emirates; the Brazilian states of Bahia, Maranhão, and Pernambuco; the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon; and the Smithsonian Conservation Commons. In keeping with the overall theme for 2020, many of these sessions will explore how communities draw upon their cultural practices to address and adapt to environmental challenges.
“Beyond the Mall” will also add to the national conversation about racism and intersectional discrimination. True to its purpose, the Folklife Festival will host artisans, artists, educators, and others to discuss the role culture can play in fostering empathy, deepening understanding, and creating a just, equitable world.
Real-time captioning and ASL interpretation will be available for all events. Just as on the National Mall, visitors are encouraged to participate actively in the live comments section of each program.
Visitors can experience the Folklife Festival online on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, #BeyondTheMall, or on the Festival website, festival.si.edu.
Digital programming will continue throughout the summer and fall.