Sunday is the last day of the Folklife Festival this year. It could also be the last day the Folklife Festival will take place on the lawn at the National Mall.Beginning in August, the National Park Service is spending millions to install new turf on the grassy panels of the National Mall, but this comes with a host of regulations about how the lawn can be used. These new rules are so restrictive that they are forcing large scale events to either make major changes or be forced to find a new home.
“There’s no problem with people on the Mall — that’s what the grass is for,” says Carol Johnson, a spokeswoman with the National Park Service. “The problem is when you have structures and tents on there for a long period of time; the grass can’t get sunlight or water.”
After 47 years of world-class public programming, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival is now being asked to squeeze its tents onto the gravel walkways and streets, all to protect this new grass. The future of the Folklife Festival is imperiled starting next year.
“The National Mall has always been used as a site for historic events of public benefit that showcase what we value most as a country,” says Kim Stryker, a longtime volunteer with the Folklife Festival.
Sign our petition www.savethefestival.org,