Breaking Ground The Innovative Spirit
Dom Flemons, also known as “The American Songster,” is a GRAMMY Award-winning folk musician, singer-songwriter, and slam poet. (SarahVictoria Rosemann/ Smithsonian Folklife Festival)
9th Wonder is a GRAMMY Award-winning producer, DJ, college lecturer, and social activist. (SarahVictoria Rosemann/ Smithsonian Folklife Festival)
Since its inception in 1985, the Liberty Brass Band has been bringing the various backgrounds of their members together, infusing classical brass forms with creative elements to create a crisp, fresh sound based on the musical traditions of New Orleans. (SarahVictoria Rosemann/ Smithsonian Folklife Festival)
The McIntosh County Shouters come from Bolden/Briar Patch, Georgia, the last known community that still faithfully teaches and performs the “ring shout.” (SarahVictoria Rosemann/ Smithsonian Folklife Festival)
A centuries-old tradition with West African roots, the ring shout, performed by the McIntosh County Shouters, originates from enslaved Africans in the United States and Caribbean. (SarahVictoria Rosemann/ Smithsonian Folklife Festival)
Charlotte Blake Alston performs traditional and contemporary tales of African and African American culture throughout the United States and internationally, often incorporating traditional instruments such as the djembe, mbira, shekere, and kora. (SarahVictoria Rosemann/ Smithsonian Folklife Festival)
Jean Carne is an R&B, jazz, and pop singer and musician. During her early career, she performed with Duke Ellington and Norman Connors, then sang lead vocals on Earth, Wind & Fire’s first two albums before gaining her own success in 1982 with the single “If You Don’t Know Me By Now.” (SarahVictoria Rosemann/ Smithsonian Folklife Festival)
Cey Adams is a hip-hop visual artist and graphic designer. A New York City native, he was influenced by early 1970s graffiti, comic books, and artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. (SarahVictoria Rosemann/ Smithsonian Folklife Festival)
Sonia Sanchez is an award-winning poet, activist, and educator focused on black culture and literature, women’s liberation, peace and racial justice. (SarahVictoria Rosemann/ Smithsonian Folklife Festival)
Jean Carne has released nine albums and has been credited as one of the first African American women to control her own voice as a musician rather than being controlled by the industry. (SarahVictoria Rosemann/ Smithsonian Folklife Festival)
Founded by Bernice Johnson Reagon with the D.C. Black Repertory Company in 1973, Sweet Honey in the Rock is an all-woman Grammy-winning a cappella group whose music is powerful and emotional in both sound and message (SarahVictoria Rosemann/ Smithsonian Folklife Festival)
Charlotte Blake Alston is the recipient of two honorary doctorates, the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, Artist of the Year for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, along with the National Storytelling Association’s Circle of Excellence and the national Association of Black Storytellers’ Zora Neale Hurston Award. (SarahVictoria Rosemann/ Smithsonian Folklife Festival)
Crowds at the Public Enemy free concert on the National Mall after the grand opening ceremony for the National Museum of African American History and Culture (SarahVictoria Rosemann/ Smithsonian Folklife Festival)
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, the ever-evolving Public Enemy (Flavor Flav, above) is widely sampled, influencing all varieties of popular music worldwide. (SarahVictoria Rosemann/ Smithsonian Folklife Festival)
Living Colour debuted their recipe of funk, metal, jazz, and punk on the 1989 album Vivid, which won two GRAMMY Awards in the hard rock category. (SarahVictoria Rosemann/ Smithsonian Folklife Festival)
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, the ever-evolving Public Enemy (Chuck D, above) is widely sampled, influencing all varieties of popular music worldwide. (SarahVictoria Rosemann/ Smithsonian Folklife Festival)

The Music Is Turned Up High at the Freedom Festival (PHOTOS)

Where to go and who to hear as the celebrations begin at the concert on the National Mall "Freedom Sounds"

smithsonian.com

The celebrations have begun and the music is underway. To celebrate this weekend's grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage is treating visitors to a spectacular musical festival on the Washington Monument grounds. Grammy-award winning musicians 9th Wonder and Dom Flemons have already taken the stage. We'll be updating throughout the festivities and celebrations with stories from the festival grounds. 

The three-day festival includes performances of jazz, R&B, gosepel, folk, classical, New Orleans brass band, Afro-Latin jazz and hip-hop. Note the schedule of performers. 

We encourage you to leave your car at home. Check for road closures and note that security includes bag checks at the festival grounds. Weapons may not be carried into the festival and umbrellas will not be permitted for Saturday's opening ceremonies, regardless of weather. Entrances to the festival on the Washington Monument grounds are at 17th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W. and 17th Street S.W. near Independence Avenue.

Participants include the Stax Music Academy, Len Chandler, Josh White Jr., Dom Flemons, Rising Star Fife and Drum Band, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the Original Liberty Jazz Band, Medoune Gueye, Jean Carne, the McIntosh County Shouters, Bobi Cespedes, Paito y los Gaiteros de Punta Brava, Morgan State University Choir, the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Freedom Singers, Sonia Sanchez, Robert RandolphSweet Honey in the Rock, 9th Wonder, Stanley Clarke, Louise Toppin, the National Hand Dance Association, the National Association of Black Storytellers Inc. and Urban Artistry. A full schedule of events will be available on the museum's website.

Bag checks will be required to enter festival grounds. Weapons may not be carried into the festival and umbrellas will not be permitted for Saturday's opening ceremonies, regardless of weather. Entrances to the festival on the Washington Monument grounds are at 17th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W. and 17th Street S.W. near Independence Avenue.

To tour the new museum, free timed entry passes are unavailable for this weekend and are required in order to prevent overcrowding. Passes for later this fall and winter can be obtained through the museum's website for the coming months, but are no longer available for the opening weekend.

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About Beth Py-Lieberman
Beth Py-Lieberman

Beth Py-Lieberman is the museums editor, covering exhibitions, events and happenings at the Smithsonian Institution. She has been a member of the Smithsonian team for more than two decades.

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