As of January 1999, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies was renamed the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The 1999 Festival hosted programs on New Hampshire, Romania, and South Africa. A central theme was the ability of diverse people from three continents, living with incredible societal changes, to use their own deeply held cultural traditions as a means of crafting their own identities, their own stories, their and our very future.
Celebrating New Hampshire's Stories pointed to the many ways people from that fiercely democratic state define their lives. The state's natural bounty is continually expressed in the arts and enjoyed with the help of varied crafts and skills that serve a vibrant recreational and tourism industry. Economic life illustrates ingenuity and a historic continuity with traditional manufacture, both in large corporate workplaces and smaller, high-tech, precision manufacturing shops. Community life reflects a strong investment in the historic preservation of the built environment and participation in institutions such as town meetings, contra dances, and soirées that bring people together just when other forces in society tend to keep them apart. And the life of our nation itself is dramatically shaped by the most contemporary of conversations that traditionally occur in New Hampshire cafes and living rooms during presidential primary campaigns. These stories were recounted to Festival visitors by the participants from New Hampshire.
Gateways to Romania was an apt title for what was, in effect, an opening at the Festival of relationships between the American and Romanian people. The Festival program, and the process of achieving it, represented an important collaboration between Romania and the United States. Following decades of political repression, Romanians at the end of the 20th century were seeking the means of realizing a democratic and humane society. The cultural correlates of such a society are freedom of cultural expression, and the ability to practice and preserve one's traditions as well as create new cultural syntheses. Romania had long been a cultural crossroads with Latinate, Orthodox, Balkan, Germanic, Hungarian, Roma, Turkish, and Jewish influences in music, song, dance, craftsmanship, sacred and culinary arts. The Festival provided both a showcase and a means for culture-rich Romania to use its treasures, for the benefit of its own citizens and to inform Americans about its people and heritage.
South Africa: Crafting the Economic Renaissance of the Rainbow Nation revealed the attempts of thousands of community-based craftspeople to enhance their economic development and civic participation through their artistry. Crafts in South Africa are as diverse as the Rainbow Nation itself, drawing upon the generations-old traditions of indigenous people and those of Asian and European immigrant communities, from functional crafts of everyday use to the arts of survival that developed in townships. For many, crafts have a civic as well as an economic role, expressing the identity of a community while at the same time earning income for a family's livelihood. The Festival was part of an ongoing attempt to build upon the knowledge and skills of local-level artists in order to help build a new nation based upon human and cultural rights and economic opportunity.
The 1999 Festival took place during two five-day weeks (June 23-27 and June 30-July 4) between Madison Drive and Jefferson Drive and between 9th Street and 13th Street, south of the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History (see site plan
). It featured three programs, with special events that included the Ralph Rinzler Memorial Concert.
The 1999 Program Book
included schedules and participant lists for each program; essays provided background on the Festival and on each of the programs.
The Festival was co-presented by the Smithsonian Institution and National Park Service and organized by the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.
Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Richard Kurin, Director; Richard Kennedy, Deputy Director; Diana Parker, Festival Director; Anthony Seeger, Director, Smithsonian Folkways Recordngs; James Early, Director, Cultural Heritage Policy; Thomas Vennum, Jr., Senior Ethnomusicologist; Olivia Cadaval, Chair, Research & Education; D.A. Sonneborn, Assistant Director, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings; Betty J. Belanus, Marjorie Hunt, Diana Baird N'Diaye, Peter Seitel, Curators, Folklorists, Education and Cultural Specialists; Carla M. Borden, Program/Publications Manager; John W. Franklin, Program Manager; Cynthia Vidaurri, Coordinator, Latino Cultural Resource Network; Jeffrey Place, Archivist; Stephanie Smith, Assistant Archivist; Arlene L. Reiniger, Program Specialist; Charlie Weber, Media Specialist; Stanford Carpenter, Roland Freeman, Dan Goodwin, Nancy Groce, Yanique Hume, Ivan Karp, Alan Lomax, Worth Long, René López, Kate Rinzler, Lynnell Thomas, Nilda Villalta, Fellows & Research Associates
Folklife Advisory Council and Folkways Advisory Council
Michael Asch, Phyllis Barney, Jane Beck, Don DeVito, Pat Jasper, Ella Jenkins, Jon Kertzer, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, John Nixdorf, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Gilbert Sprauve, Jack Tchen, Ricardo Trimillos
National Park Service
Robert Stantion, Director; Terry Carlstrom, Director, National Capital Region