2023 World Culture Festival: Programming Update

United States
31st of Aug 2023

184,513 registered attendees to date, >15,000 artists, entertainers & speakers join Festival lineup for an Olympic-scale celebration of Peace 

Washington, D.C. (July 28, 2023)Today, the Art of Living Foundation announced a number of thrilling updates related to the 2023 World Culture Festival. Taking over the National Mall Friday, September 29 through Sunday, October 1, the unforgettable three-day celebration is expected to be the largest gathering in the nation’s capital this year, featuring the largest stage area ever built on the historic National Park property.  

Over 250,000 visitors from every corner of the globe are expected to travel to Washington, D.C. to be a part of the World Culture Festival. Today, organizers already report 184,513 registered attendees who will join in-person along with an estimated broadcast audience of over one billion worldwide. Registrants to date represent:

  • 60% from the capital region 
  • 91% from the United States representing all 50 states 
  • 4% from India 
  • 5% from 121 other countries, including Canada, United Kingdom, Argentina, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Thailand and South Africa.

Free registration and full Festival information can be found at https://wcf.artofliving.org

World Culture Festival Performance

(Photo Credit: The Art of Living Foundation) 

The celebration of diversity and understanding is the culmination of 42 years of work by founder and global humanitarian Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Among the goals of the Festival is to create a visible, public forum to address our differences as people - as Gurudev calls it, our One World Family. The themes are woven into the five-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee’s current bestselling book Notes for the Journey Within: Essentials of the Art of Living, which is already at the top of nonfiction charts around the country. The Art of Living Foundation and its volunteer teams have led extensive work around the globe, building pathways towards peace and nonviolence - programs that empower the incarcerated; that work with teachers and K-12 students to manage self-esteem and create safe spaces; for corporations and universities invested in building diversity programs and stress-management solutions; to support veterans coping with PTSD through natural means, and scores more. The World Culture Festival will be a welcome chance to activate these messages on a global stage, connecting everyone, from all walks of life, with a message to slow down, take time to relax, reflect and renew through inner peace.

Program Schedule

*All schedules are subject to change 

Friday, September 29
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Festival Village

  • A one-mile stretch between 7th St and 14th St NW, featuring over 75 cultural pavilions, activities including fashion showcases, and 80+ food trucks serving international cuisines.

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm: Main Stage World Culture Festival Showcase 

Saturday, September 30
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Festival Village
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm: Main Stage World Culture Festival Showcase 

Sunday, October 1
8:00 am – 9:00 am: Yoga Festival
10:00 am – 2:00 pm: Festival Village 
10:00 am – 1:00 pm: Main Stage World Culture Festival Showcase 


An initial lineup was announced today including over 8,000 individual stage performers representing an array of human cultural art forms from around the globe. The program features all U.S.-based artists presenting music, dance, and performance art from diverse Native American and American immigrant cultures. Among them: 


  • The acclaimed Showtime Band from Howard University 
  • A melody performance from the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC
  • Pulsating beats and infectious energy of Washington’s iconic go-go bands including Junkyard Band, DJ Cool and Bela Dona Band. 
  • Traditional Gospel Choir with 1,000 singers - a performance by musicians from church and university choirs of 1KVoiceChoir
  • Native American dance by 100 artists representing various tribes from the region perform to the powerful beats of live drums and other traditional instruments
  • Traditional Mongolian Dance & Music with 100 Dancers - A vibrant and energetic dance highlighting the heritage and nomadic traditions of Mongolia
  • Indonesian Dance by 100 Artists - A “wonderland dance of Indonesia” representing the country’s five main islands
  • Irish Step Dance with 100 Dancers - Lively Irish dancers in traditional dress showcasing the rich traditions of the Emerald Isle
  • Bolivian Folk Dance with 200 Dancers - Vibrant folk dancers of Bolivia present 4 kinds of traditional dances
  • Nepalese dance with 150 artists in vibrant costumes, representing the spiritual traditions of Nepal


  • Global Guitar Ensemble with 1,000 guitarists playing popular sing-along classics with renowned lead guitarists, including Grammy-award winner Micki Free.
  • Rhythms of reggae with Skip Marley, grandson of the legendary Bob Marley, and dancers representing the cultures of the Caribbean islands.
  • One World Family Invocation - A 200-artists choir with Grammy nominated artist Chandrika Tandon 
  • Pop influencer Jini June performing alongside 200 children, spreading a message of harmony in song
  • Amadou Kouyate and his djembe and kora orchestra, accompanied by 200 African dancers
  • Kurtis Blow and other hip hop legends accompanied by 200 breakdancers, MCs, DJs and graffiti artists
  • 10,000 Garba Dancers - representing a traditional folk dance of western India circle the National Mall in a spirit of celebration.
  • Traditional Afghan Music & Sufi Whirling with 150 Artists - 130 musicians playing traditional instruments and singing captivating melodies along with 20 whirling dervishes
  • Indian Classical Dance & Classical Symphony with 1000 Artists - Symphony of 300 instrumentalists including sitar, veena, tabla, mridangam, flute, ghatam and violin, plus 700 dancers performing a variety of classical Indian dance styles
  • Latin American Dance Fusion with 200 Artists - Vibrant folk dancers representing the unique traditions of Colombia, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela
  • Chinese Cultural Choir & Dance with 1,000 Artists - Chinese classical choir, classical dancers, dragons, & kung-fu in a fusion of music & movement
  • Bulgarian Folk Dance by 300 Artists - 300 artists dance to the soul-stirring melodies of Bulgarian singers 
  • Ukrainian Dance by 200 Dancers and Choir - Exhilarating acrobatics and vibrant footwork of the hopak, a traditional Ukrainian dance


  • The largest-ever yoga event to take place on the National Mall, with over 2,000 instructors from various schools of yoga demonstrating a flow to more than 25,000 yoga enthusiasts. The event will be followed by a meditation led by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.  
  • Over 80 food trucks will serve culturally expressive food and beverages from around the world. Some of the cuisines include Middle Eastern (Koshary Corner), French (Taste of Montreal), Latin-American (Arepa Zone), South Asian (Rangoli), Vegan/Plant Based (Soultarian), Indonesian (Sambal), Caribbean (Patty Party), West African (Kuks Tribute), Italian (Ciao Roma), Mexican (Mexicocina), Thai (Thai Pinto), British (Salt Pot Kitchen).

America Meditates Events in the DMV

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar envisions a stress-free, violence-free society and making life a celebration. However, that can only be achieved through peaceful and resilient individuals. Art of Living plans to host a series of America Meditates events in local DMV communities, to offer individuals an experience of calm. Thousands of community members will experience the benefits of breathwork and meditation, leading up to the World Culture Festival.

Local events scheduled to date:

  • Dupont Circle Meditates – August 12th 1-5PM in partnership with the Dupont Circle BID
  • D.C. Meditates – Farragut Square – Sept 7th and Sept 12th 12-2 PM in partnership with the Golden Triangle BID
  • NoMa Meditates – Alethia Tanner Park – Sept 15th 5-8PM in partnership with the NoMa BID

Visitor Information

Several local hotels have partnered with the World Culture Festival to offer exclusive room rates to the attendees. Find complete visitor information here. 


World Culture Festival 2023 welcomes press outlets from Washington, D.C. and around the world to capture the weekend's festivities. We are happy to provide approved members of the media with exclusive access to reserved risers, mult-box and stand-up space, dedicated all-weather tented work space, and equipment storage. 

Media members are asked to submit a press credential application here to be considered. Please reach out to WCF2023@lindarothpr.com with any questions or to request pre-event interview opportunities with Gurudev, speakers, performers, or other partners. 


About Art of Living Foundation

Operating in 180 countries, The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF) is a non-profit, educational and humanitarian organization founded in 1981 by the renowned humanitarian and spiritual leader Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. All of AOLF’s programs are inspired by Gurudev’s philosophy of creating world peace through a stress-free and violence-free society. AOLF has touched over 800 million lives through numerous educational and self-development programs and tools that facilitate the elimination of stress and foster deep and profound inner peace, happiness and well-being for individuals.

About Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a global humanitarian, spiritual leader, and peace envoy. He has helped millions of people worldwide find peace and resilience in the face of adversity, learning not only how to excel in their own lives, but also how to become powerful agents for social change.

Gurudev has created trauma-relief and meditation programs for at-risk youth, war veterans, prisoners and survivors of disaster. He has also created numerous educational and self-development programs and tools that facilitate the elimination of stress and foster deep and profound inner peace, happiness and well-being for individuals.

Standing for the Gandhian principles of non-violence, Gurudev has mediated and progressed negotiations for peace in conflict-stricken areas such as Sri Lanka, Iraq, Venezuela, and Colombia, where he is credited for playing a central role in ending the violent 52-year conflict between FARC and the Colombian government. He has received 39 governmental awards, including highest civilian awards from several nations. Twenty-four universities have awarded him with honorary doctorates for his peace-keeping and humanitarian efforts.