May 21st, 2016

Smithsonian Folklife Festival Updates


As we get closer to the 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival and begin to count down the days (39 left!) we thought we would share some updates. Though the official schedule likely won’t be released until mid-June, there are already several events that have been announced for both during and before festival.  Here is the most complete list of events that we’re able to put together based on what The Smithsonian has released up until today. We hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 22nd

6:30 p.m.

Txotx! A Basque Ciderhouse Experience

3118 Georgia Avenue Northwest

Washington, DC, 20010


Saturday, May 28th

2–4:30 p.m.

Basque Journeys: Stories in Film, Part Two

Warner Bros. Theater
National Museum of American History


Tuesday, June 21st

6:45–8:45 p.m.
Basque Untapped: Ciders of the Basque Country
Smithsonian Castle Commons
1000 Jefferson Drive SW


Concert Series

Throughout the festival there will be evening concerts related either to the Basque theme or the California theme. Click here for full descriptions of each act. Below are just the listings.


Wednesday June 29th

6:30 p.m.
Kepa Junkera & Sorginak
Kirmen Uribe


Friday July 1st

6:30 p.m.
Biotzetik Basque Choir
Saturday July 2nd
6:30 p.m.
Quetzal & Meklit Hadero


Sunday July 3rd
6:30 p.m.
Ralph Rinzler Memorial Concert
NEA National Heritage Fellows: Celebrating 50 Years of the National Endowment for the Arts


Thursday, July 7th
6:30 p.m.


Friday, July 8th 
6:30 p.m.
Kalakan with Aukeran
Kern County Basque Club Klika


Saturday, July 9th
6:30 p.m.
John Santos Sextet & Bobi Céspedes

Along with these events, there are a series of activities and ongoing exhibitions which will take place throughout the festival. Here is a list of the ones we know about. Below is a map of the festival layout.

 Smithsonian Folklife Festival Map_v2 



That’s right guys, there’s going to be a frontoia! They’re calling it The Folklife Festival Frontoia and it’s a venue that will allow visitors to watch and participate in pilota lessons and games, bolo (bowling) lessons and games, sokatira (tug-of-war), lokotz bilzea (cob gathering), demonstrations of other bertoko kirolak (local Basque sports), music and dance performances, and bertsolaritza.




The folks at the festival are also putting together a series of exhibits under the heading of Baserria. These exhibits include some of what you would expect to find at a traditional baserri including:

Traditional Idiazabal Cheese Making by the Goiburu Murua family from Segura, Guipuzkoa

Cooking Exhibitions Chefs  Igor Ozamiz Goiriena and Gorka Mota, culinary students Hasier Acebes and Rakel Rey, and other Basque artisans will teach visitors how to prepare iconic dishes, such as piperrada (pepper-based sauce) and marmitako (tuna and potato stew) at the Ostatua Kitchen


Baratzeak (Kitchen Gardens) which will include three types of Basque peppers Gernikako Piperra, Ezpeletako Biperra, and Tolosa Piperrak


Añana Salt Valley This one is really impressive. The Festival will build a small scale salt flat with the Salt Valley of Añana Foundation which Alberto Plata and Edorta Loma  will tend to each day in order to exhibit the salt production process and provide seasoning for the Ostatua Kitchen cooking demonstrations. Visitors can try salt samples and buy Añana salt to take home from the Festival Marketplace.




There will also be a series of exhibits and activities that recognize and highlight the vast maritime heritage of the Basque Country.


ALBAOLA SEA FACTORY Based out of Pasaia, Guipuzkoa, the Albaola Sea Factory and Maritime Museum is bringing a few of their skilled craftsmen with the skeleton of a twenty-six-foot txalupa, which they will rebuild on the National Mall to demonstrate traditional techniques.


Saregileak literally means net-menders or makers but is a word that has come to represent the many faceted role of women in the fishing industry. While men are out to sea for months, the saregileak do the bookkeeping, mend nets, prepare hooks, and often sell at fish markets, all while taking care of their families. Maria Elena Garate Astralaga from Bermeo, Bizkaia show will Festival visitors how she mends large fishing nets and also cook up traditional food in the Ostatua Kitchen tent.


Tknika Tknika is Basque country’s Center for Innovation in Vocational Training. Engineer Miren Canellada has been working with Jon Lasa, who came to Tknika with the idea to create a carbon fiber traineru, a traditional fishing boat now used in competitive racing. At the Festival, Canellada and Lasa will demonstrate the carbon fiber fabrication process and the pressure sensor system for each rower’s oar. Alongside a full forty-foot-long traineru, they will also build miniature prototypes.


Wow. This is a lot of stuff, and this isn’t even the full list. Stay tuned for more updates. This is going to be awesome.


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