The 2012 Folklife Festival opens June 27 on the National Mall! The official start of the Festival—the opening ceremony—begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Justin S. Morrill Performing Arts Center tent. Distinguished speakers and talented performers will lead the way, in typical Festival fashion, with their energy and passion.
Opening ceremony speakers include Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Congressman John Lewis, U.S. representative for Georgia; and Julie Rhoad, executive director of The NAMES Project Foundation. The Foundation manages The AIDS Memorial Quilt, which will be displayed during the Festival.
Performing at the opening ceremony are University of Texas-Pan American Mariachi Aztlán, which has won many awards for its spectacular Mexican folk music performances, and The NAMES Performers, a group that was put together specifically for this occasion by David Bell and the Music Theatre Program from Northwestern University. Head-Roc, D.C.’s progressive hip-hop artist, will also share his artistic rhymes with us, and D.C. hip-hop dance group Da Originalz will showcase some of their signature dance moves.
Other speakers include Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough and representatives of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, who have been working hard to put together this year’s Festival. Come join this memorable event full of music and inspiration!
Marina Kondo is an intern helping out with Special Events, such as the opening ceremony and the evening concerts, for the Folklife Festival. She is currently studying art history and Spanish at University of Virginia.