This year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival will be taking place online from June 24 to July 5 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“While we are unable to meet in person, we are committed to celebrating culture of, by, and for the people,” the museum said in a statement on its website. “When we would have welcomed you to the National Mall, we are hosting daily live events online that explore the role of culture in addressing today’s global challenges.”
The festival’s events will be available for live-streaming on YouTube and Facebook. There will also be an occasional series of “Story Circles” throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
“In some ways, it’s able to extend beyond the festival, because people can dip back into these conversations in a way that you wouldn’t do on the Mall because you would probably not see these folks again,” Festival Director Sabrina Lynn Motley told WTOP.
On Thursday at noon ET, we welcome artists from Brazil and D.C. to discuss the challenges of maintaining community in the face of gentrification, the public health crisis, and economic hardships.
— SmithsonianFolklife (@SmithsonianFolk) June 23, 2020
The festival will kick off on Wednesday, June 24 with “Earth Optimism: Conservation & Communities from the Kachemak Bay to the Chesapeake Bay.”
Earth Optimism is part of Smithsonian conservation projects. Ruth Stolk, head of the Smithsonian Conservation Commons; Dr. Matt Ogburn who works at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) and leads the Fisheries Conservation Lab and other researchers come together for this session.
Among the other events at the festival are “Arts & Community Engagement from Bahia to DC” on Thursday, June 25; “Traditional Knowledge & Innovative Design at the Solar Decathlon” on Friday, June 26; “Reconstructing Hope: Black Religions in the Age of Black Lives Matter” on Monday, June 29, and “Barbecue Across Cultures: UAE’s Mattar Farm and the DMV’s Bark BBQ” on Friday, July 3.
You can find the full schedule here.