Smithsonian Folklife Festival


Volunteers are critical to the success of the Festival and work closely with the Festival staff and participants. Volunteers contribute to a variety of duties, which include conducting surveys, assisting stage managers, audiovisual documentation of performances, and general administrative and production support. These are just a few of the opportunities available. Year after year, volunteers return to the Festival because it offers great fun, great people, and lots to learn.

Volunteers can help participants explain and interpret their crafts and other traditions for visitors. Photo by Rachel Winslow, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives

The application to volunteer is posted here in the spring. Contact volunteer coordinator Michelle Banks at or call 202.633.7488 for more information.

Volunteers who are experienced in photography, videography, and audio recording and can join the Festival documentation teams. Photo by Josh Weilepp, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives

National Museum of African American History and Culture

In September 2016, the Folklife Festival is producing Freedom Sounds: A Community Celebration for the grand opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Performances, workshops, and discussions will take place September 23 to 25 on the National Mall, adjacent to the new museum.

Volunteers are needed to help assist performers, guide visitors, and lead sustainability efforts at this historic event. For a complete list of volunteer opportunities and to apply, go to Due to security measures, all volunteers must be registered and approved in advance; no walk-up volunteers are permitted.