The 2023 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, a two-week festival on the National Mall, will focus on the Ozarks in 2023.

The festival runs June 28 - July 4th and July 6 - July 9. and the festival is sponsoring Ozarks-based musicians, artists, cooks and performers and others to participate in the festival to share in the unique Ozark culture - plus the Smithsonian pays travel, lodging, food, and more for participants who are selected!

Presentation spaces will include:

  • A formal music and dance venue with stage and dance floor for musical, dance, and storytelling performances and workshops
  • Cooking and food demonstration areas
  • Craft and occupation demonstration areas
  • A narrative stage for thematic discussions and panels
  • A family area with activities geared toward younger visitors

Key themes at this year's Folklife Festival include:

Celebrations and Gatherings 

Possible topics: seasonal events, homecomings and homegoings, religious and spiritual practices, foodways, pie suppers, quilting circles.

Stories, Sounds, and Show Business

Possible topics: house parties and jam sessions, the legacy of the Ozark Jubilee and underground “show caves,” the contemporary showcases of Branson and Silver Dollar City, storytelling (traditional and contemporary).

Migrations, Movements, and Pathways

Possible topics: highways, railroads, tourism corridors (e.g., Route 66), waterways, hiking trails, “Trail of Tears,” Osage Trace, ancestral vs. adopted homelands, transplanted traditions of new immigrant groups.

Connections to Land and Place

Possible topics: gardening, herbalism, foraging, gig fishing and making, johnboats, lakes, rivers and streams, vernacular architecture, outdoor recreational activities, mountain biking, and other sports.

Selected candidates should be able to:  

  • Attend the Festival June 28 to July 9, 2023, in Washington, D.C.
  • Provide hands-on learning opportunities for visitors of all ages (e.g. workshops, discussions, activities, performances, or demonstrations)
  • Present cultural expressions in accessible and interactive ways (i.e. without screens or PowerPoint presentations)
  • Represent diverse geographical, gender, or ethnic identities
  • Present on multiple areas of expertise

Please note that the Festival is held outside on the National Mall. Participants must be able to withstand the outdoor summer climate of D.C. for eight hours at a time, with temperatures often reaching or exceeding ninety degrees. All participants have access to the Festival’s participant hospitality tent, where they can hydrate and rest during breaks.

More information about how to apply to participate in the festival can be found here: https://festival.si.edu/2023/ozarks/participate



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