World Culture Festival at The National Mall in DC: A Festivalgoer’s Guide

World Culture Festival

Everyone’s excited about the upcoming World Culture Festival! If you don’t already have your pass, stop what you’re doing and get your free pass now! 

Topics covered:

  • Getting to and from the National Mall
  • What to bring each day
  • Prohibited items
  • Programming overview
    • Friday, September 29th
    • Saturday, September 30th
    • Sunday, October 1st
  • Festival Village: Offstage activities
  • Food options
  • Bonus program: Wisdom series with Gurudev

Getting to and from the National Mall

DC Metrorail

Uber and Lyft may not be able to get you close to the National Mall given the number of visitors for the World Culture Festival (WCF), but MassTransit options will likely be better travel means. Driving into the area and parking will also be challenging. Instead, use the following options to plan your visit during WCF.

National Park Service Guide

D.C. Metrorail Accepts Apple Pay and Google Pay. You can also download the Smartrip app. Cash is accepted on most routes, but exact change will be required.

D.C. Metrobus (WMATA) The Same info as above applies.

D.C. Circulator

The DC Circulator National Mall route has 15 stops at the major destinations throughout the National Mall (including Metro stops). The service is convenient, low cost ($1), and frequent (every 10 minutes), with stops within walking distance of nearly 30 monuments, memorials, and museums.

What to bring each day

  • Water bottle (not glass, thermal, or metal)
  • Sunscreen (if you plan to attend daytime activities)
  • Rain poncho (no umbrellas allowed)
  • Backpack 
  • Fully charged cell phone
  • Picnic blanket
  • Yoga mat (if you attend the Saturday morning yoga event)
  • Your SMILE!

Prohibited Items 

This list of prohibitive items includes the following but is not limited to:

  • Aerosols
  • Alcohol
  • Ammunition
  • Animals (other than service/guide dogs)
  • Balloons
  • Umbrellas
  • Bicycles/Scooters
  • Coolers
  • Drones/Unmanned aerial systems
  • Explosives/Fireworks
  • Firearms
  • Glass, thermal; or metal containers
  • Laser pointers
  • Mace/Pepper spray
  • Portable chairs, tables, and tents
  • Selfie sticks
  • Toy guns/Toy weapons
  • Weapons of any kind
  • Any other items determined to be potential safety hazards

Programming overview

Three days of deep meditation, music, dance, and inspirational talks. Arrive one hour early to explore and enjoy cuisines from around the world. 

This WCF will feature performances from 17,000 GLOBAL ARTISTS FROM ALL CULTURAL TRADITIONS. 

Here’s a breakdown of what is planned for each day.

Friday, September 29th, 6:00 to 9:30 p.m.

WCF Friday
  • The Howard University Showtime Marching Band
  • The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own”
  • National Anthem by the U.S. Army Chorus and Youth Choirs
  • Native American Dance, Drums, and Land Acknowledgement
  • Blessings Invocation
  • Sounds of the Swiss Alps
  • Nadhaswaram Oboe Symphony
  • Anka Dje Anka Be / Come Together in Unity: African Drums and Dance
  • Folk Rhythms of the Andes
  • “America the Beautiful” and “Vande Mataram”
  • East Meets West Global Dance Fusion
  • Soul of Japan: Traditional Dance and Music
  • Jazz with the U.S. Army Blues
  • Panchaboothem: Indian Symphony and Classical Dance
  • Arabian Nights: Middle Eastern Dance
  • 1000 Global Guitar Ensemble
  • Global Peace Meditation
  • Reggae Rhythms with Skip Marley

Saturday, September 30th, 8:00 to 9:30 a.m.

World Culture Festival Yoga
  • Yoga for Blissful Life with Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., at the Lincoln Memorial. Includes breathwork, yoga practice, guided meditation, and inspiration. Bring your yoga mat and water bottle!

Saturday, September 30th, 6:00 to 9:30 p.m.

WCF Saturday
  • Beats of Go-Go Music
  • “I Belong 2 U”: Youth Chorus
  • Sounds of Swiss Alps
  • 10,000 Garba Dancers for Unity
  • Songs and Smiles: A 1,000-Person Celebration of Chinese Culture
  • Heart of Ukraine: Folk Music and Dance
  • Thousand-Voice Gospel Choir
  • Wonders of Bulgaria
  • Rhythms of LATAM
  • “The Circle of Life” with Alex Boye and the African All-stars
  • Irish Step Dance
  • Flavors of Bolivia
  • With Love from Pakistan: Music, Dance, and Ecstacy
  • Mystical Afghan Melodies
  • “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” Choir
  • Global Peace Meditation led by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
  • Cosmic Chants: The Art of Living Bhajan Experience
  • Beats of Brazil: Batala and Martial Arts
  • Wonderful Indonesia
  • Bhangra Dance Euphoria
  • Celebrating 50 Years of Hip Hop: Then and Now

Sunday, October 1st, 9:30 am to 1 pm

WCF Sunday
  • Chenda Melam: Kerala Percussion Ensemble
  • Caribbean Carnival Showcase
  • Living Traditions: Dances of Israel
  • Argentine Tango Sizzle
  • Traditional Dances and Melodies of Nepal
  • Iranian Folk Orchestra
  • Pop R&B Mashup – Weston Estala
  • Mongolian Extravaganza
  • Folk Dances of Albania
  • Soulful Melodies: Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC
  • Interfaith Peace Prayers
  • A Slavic Celebration
  • Peace Chants: Shanti Mantras in Sanskrit
  • Timeless Echoes: Artists From the World Forum for Arts and Culture 

Festival Village: Off-stage activities

Festival Village

During the day, there’s a whole village of activities! Here are some of the highlights: 

  • Kid’s Zone- Fun and Games for Youngest Festival Goers
  • Mindful Oasis- Nourish Your Mental Well-being
  • Global Village- A Celebration of Global Cultures and Cuisines
  • The Ripple Effect- A Call to Action to Change Your Communities
  • Acoustic Avenue- Intimate Solo Performances by Local Musicians
  • Food Truck Bonanza- Over 80 Food Trucks

Booths and tents with information, activities and mini-workshops

Many sessions repeat every 30 to 45 minutes. Click here for schedule details.

Ayurvedic Health Spa

  • Learn About Ayurvedic Principles & Wellness Tips
  • Top 5 Herbs to Boost Hair Growth

Art of Living – Healthful Living

  • Lifelong Brain & Gut Health
  • Sleep Like a Baby

Art of Living – Purposeful Living

  • Being Authentically You
  • Unleash Your Creativity

Art of Living – Stress-Free Living

  • Keeping Cool In Hot Situation
  • Tame the Monkey Mind

Harmony Heaven (partial list)

  • Words for Peace – Poetry Heals You & The World
  • Breath of Creativity
  • Creating Your Visual Vocabulary
  • Urban Sketching: Draw What You See
  • Mindful Mandalas
  • Paint & Meditate

Kids Wellness Exhibit

  • SKY Kids Programs

Teen Well-being Exhibit

  • Breathwork & Meditation for Teens

I Stand for Peace

  • Exhibit on Disaster Relief Initiatives
  • Exhibit on Equality & Quality of Life Initiatives
  • Exhibit on Environmental Restoration Initiatives

For real-time updates, complete schedules, and programming, download the Art of Living Journey app on the App Store and Google Play.

Food options

World Culture Festival food truck

Who wants to taste the world?!? With over 80 food trucks, some of the many choices include:

  • Samosas
  • Paneer Tacos
  • Cauliflower Bites
  • BBQ Jackfruit and Portabella Mushrooms
  • Quesadillas
  • Veggie Tacos
  • Pizza
  • Veg Burgers
  • Smoothies
  • Waffle Cones
  • Lemonade
  • And more…

Bonus program: Wisdom series with Gurudev

Wisdom Series

Following the WCF, there is a wonderful opportunity to experience an intimate time with Gurudev, along with just a few thousand others in attendance. Though, by the time you are reading this, there may not be any seats left. If you are very fortunate, you might still secure a seat! 


Sunday, October 1st, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Monday, October 2nd, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.


The Anthem

901 Wharf St, SW

Washington, D.C. 20024

Benefit event fee:

$500 ($450 is tax deductible)

Enjoy the celebrations! We’ll see you at the World Culture Festival soon!