2023 World Culture Festival: Final Programming Update

United States
21st of Sep 2023

450,000+ expected to attend the largest gathering in the U.S. capital this year 

Washington, D.C. (September 21, 2023) Today, one week ahead of the Olympic-scale World Culture Festival, the Art of Living Foundation announced more than 450,000 people have registered to attend the three-day celebration, which is shaping up to be one of the largest celebrations of unity and diversity ever on the National Mall. More than 17,000 diverse cultural artists, entertainers and speakers, will take to the largest stage ever built in the nation’s capital from Friday, September 29 through Sunday, October 1.

This is the fourth World Culture Festival to celebrate diversity and peace and is the culmination of 42 years of global service by Art of Living founder and world-renowned humanitarian Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Among the goals of the Festival is to create a visible, public forum to celebrate our differences - as Gurudev calls it, our One World Family.

Media are asked to submit a press credential application HERE for access to special viewing platforms, reserved camera staging spaces, interview and briefing areas.

The 2023 World Culture Festival Event Map

(Download here)

The dynamic lineup features over 50 performances including:

  • A Chinese cultural performance with 1,000 singers, dancers and dragons
  • A Garba extravaganza with 7,000 dancers that will encourage audience participation
  • A 50th anniversary tribute to Hip-Hop with Kurtis Blow, SHA-Rock, Sequence Girls and DJ Kool and other legends of Hip Hop alongside 100 break dancers debuting choreography by King Charles and Kelli Forman
  • 700 Indian classical dancers with a live symphony
  • 100 Ukrainian dancers in a lively Hopak
  • 1,000 guitarists led by Grammy Award winner Micki Free
  • Performance of the official World Culture Festival theme song "Una Familia" unifying citizens from more than 150 nations
  • Live reggae with Skip Marley, the grandson of legendary Bob Marley, culminating in the classic “One Love” 

Registration is free and open to all ages. Full Festival information can be found at https://wcf.artofliving.org

World Culture Festival 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 cultural pavilions, activities including fashion showcases, and 80+ international food trucks

6:00 pm – 9:30 pm: Main Stage World Culture Festival Showcase

Saturday, September 30

8:00 am - 9:30 am: Yoga - Journey Within

  • Yoga with 2,000 yoga instructors + Yoga Enthusiasts in front of the Lincoln Memorial
  • Special Meditation with Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar 

12:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Festival Village 

6:00 pm – 9:30 pm: Main Stage World Culture Festival Showcase

Sunday, October 1

10:00 am – 1:00 pm: Festival Village

9:30 am – 1:00 pm: Main Stage World Culture Festival Showcase

Global Speakers

The Festival also offers a platform for world leaders to renew their commitment to global peace, premised on diversity and nonviolence. Inspirational messages are expected from:

  • H.E. Ban Ki-Moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations, Chair, Reception Committee of World Culture Festival, South Korea
  • H.E. Prithvirajsing Roopun, President, Mauritius 
  • H.E. Rosalía Arteaga Serrano, Former President, Ecuador
  • The Honorable Kjell Magne Bondevik, Former Prime Minister, Norway 
  • H.E. Nambaryn Enkhbayar, Former President, Mongolia 
  • H.E. Federico Franco, Former President, Paraguay 
  • H.E. Moncef Marzouki, Former President of Tunisia
  • H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President, Nigeria 
  • H.E. Shri Ram Nath Kovind, Former President of India 
  • The Honorable Alojz Peterle, Former Prime Minister, Slovenia 
  • H.E. Akie Abe, Former First Lady of Japan
  • The Honorable Dr. Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General
  • The Honorable Muriel Bowser, Mayor of the District of Columbia
  • And many more! 

A full list of all speakers, including foreign dignitaries and American leaders, will be distributed to credentialed media members prior to the Festival. 

Global Leadership Forum

Over 1,000 leaders from business, government, and international institutions attending the Festival will convene at the Global Leadership Forum (GLF) on Saturday, September 30 from 10:00am to 2:30pm. Attendees will exchange ideas and forge partnerships to address key corporate and societal challenges of our time. The theme of this year’s GLF is “Shaping a Humane Future” The Forum will feature inspirational keynotes from global leaders, including Mike Perlis, Vice Chairman of Forbes Media and Tim Draper, venture capital entrepreneur and founder of Draper Associates. Attendance to the Global Leadership Forum is by invitation only.


The full lineup will include over 50 performance groups representing an array of human cultural art forms from around the globe. The program features a plethora of U.S.-based artists presenting music, dance, and performance art. Among them: 


  • American Pops Orchestra- America’s Own
  • America the Beautiful” and “Vande Mataram”: A choir of 250 high school students and 100 adults sing America the Beautiful and Vande Matram with Grammy-nominated artist Chandrika Tandon.
  • Anka Dje Anka Be / Come Together in Unity: African Drums and Dance: Amadou Kouyate and his djembe and kora orchestra, accompanied by African dancers
  • Arabian Nights: Middle Eastern Dance: Presented by the Sahara Dance, three dynamic segments with whirling tanoura, belly dance, and more from the Arabian Gulf, Egypt, and Lebanon
  • Argentine Tango Sizzle: The captivating allure of the Argentine tango transports audiences back to the iconic 1920s era of Argentina
  • Beats of Brazil: Batala and Martial Arts: 100 all-woman batala drum group unites with dancers and martial artists.
  • Bhangra Dance Euphoria: Bhangra, a lively and vibrant dance form originating from Punjab, India
  • Blessings Invocation: 250 high school students and 100 adults perform “United We Celebrate” with Grammy-nominated artist Chandrika Tandon
  • Caribbean Carnival Showcase: A festive celebration of Caribbean music, culture, and joy, with dazzling costumes and a steel drum band
  • Celebrating 50 Years of Hip Hop: Then & Now: Kurtis Blow, Sha-Rock, Sequence Girls and other hip hop legends perform, accompanied by 200 breakdancers, MC’s, DJ’s, with graffiti art by King Cre8 and Steve Cas
  • Chenda Melam: Kerala Percussion Ensemble: Percussionists showcasing the beats and rhythms of Kerala, India
  • Cosmic Chants: The Art of Living Bhajan Experience: Dive into a transcendent musical experience with ancient melodies by Bhanumathi Narasimhan and Bhavini Vyas
  • Drums and Dance of Sri Lanka: A Spectacular Showcase
  • East Meets West Global Dance Fusion: A dance battle like no other, an exciting fusion of contemporary ballet, Hip Hop, African dance, and Bollywood.
  • Flavors of Bolivia: Vibrant folk dances from Bolivia’s diverse traditions, including Morenada, Caporales, and Tinku
  • Folk Dances of Albania: 100 Albanian performers dance in a celebration of Albania’s rich heritage 
  • Folk Rhythms of the Andes: Experience the richness of vibrant, graceful folk dances from Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia
  • Garba Dancers for Unity: 10,000 garba dancers dance around the National Mall in a spirit of celebration with live singing from Grammy Award Winner- Falu Shah
  • Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC: Uplifting vocals from one of the nation’s first LGBT choral organizations
  • Global Guitar Ensemble: Popular sing-along classics and an original anthem with renowned lead guitarists, including Grammy-award winners
  • Go Go Performance: The stage will come alive with the infectious energy of DJ Kool and the soulful vibes of Junkyard Band and Sirius company.
  • Heart of Ukraine: Folk Music and Dance: Exhilarating acrobatics and vibrant footwork of the hopak, a traditional Ukrainian dance
  • Howard University “Showtime” Marching Band: Howard University Showtime Band inaugurating the festival parading down the National Mall
  • I Belong 2 U” Youth Chorus: Pop influencer Jini June with 100 children, spreading a message of harmony
  • International Band Segment: electrifying pop R&B mashup by international bands including Weston Estate band.
  • Iranian Folk Orchestra: Inspired by Rumi, uplifting folk dance set to ancient love songs and traditional instruments.
  • Irish Step Dance: Lively Irish dancers in traditional dress showcasing the rich traditions of the Emerald Isle 
  • Jazz with the U.S. Army Blues: From “Pershing’s Own,” prepare for an electrifying jazz performance by the U.S. Army Blues.
  • Kashmiri Rhapsody: Vibrant dance highlighting the heritage and traditions of Kashmir, India
  • Living Traditions: Dances of Israel: A brief, moving musical voyage through the history of Israel, culminating in a celebratory “Hora” dance
  • Mika Singh: songs of celebration
  • Mongolian Extravaganza: Vibrant dance and music highlighting the heritage and nomadic traditions of Mongolia
  • Music and Dance from Thailand
  • Mystical Afghan Melodies: Whirling dervishes spin to the captivating melodies of a symphony of traditional musicians.
  • Nadhaswaram Oboe Symphony: The harmonious sounds of nadhaswarm, a classical South Indian oboe
  • National Anthem by the U.S. Army Chorus and Youth Choirs: An inspiring rendition of our national anthem with the elite Army Chorus and award-winning DMV high school choirs
  • Native American Dance, Drums, and Land Acknowledgement: A Native American blessing and acknowledgement of the land by elders of the Piscataway and Lakota Tribes, followed by 100 Native American dancers and drummers
  • Panchabootham: Indian Symphony and Classical Dance: The five elements will be represented through a symphony of 250 instrumentalists including sitar, veena, tabla, mridangam, flute, ghatam and violin, plus 600 dancers performing a variety of classical Indian dance styles.
  • Peace Chants: Shanti Mantras in Sanskrit: 200 children chant for peace in Sanskrit with Grammy- nominated artist Chandrika Tandon
  • Reggae Rhythms with Skip Marley: An iconic reggae performance by Skip Marley, Bob Marley’s grandson, culminating in the classic “One Love”
  • Rhythms of LATAM: A fusion of traditional folk dances from Honduras, Panama, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic
  • Slavic Celebration: Experience a captivating showcase of Slavic culture, encompassing a rich array of dances and cultural heritage
  • Soul of Japan: Traditional Dance and Music: Classical performers embody a centuries-old tradition of elegance and storytelling through movement.
  • Sounds of the Swiss Alps: Elegant harmonies of Swiss alphorns, the original wooden wind instrument of Switzerland 
  • Songs and Smiles: A 1,000 Person Celebration of Chinese Culture: Chinese classical choir, classical dancers, dragons, lions and kung-fu in a fusion of  music and movement
  • The Circle of Life with Alex Boyé and the African All-stars: African dancers and an inspired choir perform this classic broadway song with Alex Boyé. 
  • Thousand-Voice Gospel ChoirSoul-stirring live gospel led by local legends Joyce Garrett and Rickey Payton
  • Traditional Korean Dance60 Dancers representing the traditional art of Korea. 
  • Traditional Dances and Melodies of Nepal: Dancers in vibrant costumes, representing the spiritual traditions of Nepal
  • Una Familia: WCF Official Theme Song
  • U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own”: A world-class military band inaugurating the festival with pomp and circumstance
  • With Love from Pakistan: Music, Dance and Ecstasy: Pakistani folk dancers, Sufi poetry, and “Dhamaal” folk music 
  • Wonderful Indonesia: Indonesian dancers representing the country’s eight provinces 
  • Wonders of Bulgaria: 300 artists dance to the soul-stirring melodies of Bulgarian singers. 
  • Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” Choir: A 300-artist choir with Indian classical artist Sujata Ghanekar
  • Viva Mexico: A Mariachi celebration of song and dance 


Performers on stage at the last World Culture Festival held in India in 2016 

(Photo Credit: The Art of Living Foundation) 


Festival Village Activities

Meditation Oasis

Wellness tents to promote relaxation and inner peace through:

  • Breathwork and meditation
  • Soundbaths
  • Art
  • Drawing & Painting
  • Poetry
  • Ayurveda tips

Kids Zone

Tents promoting an immersive, fun, visually enriching and educational experience to honor diversity and promote wellness in children and youths through:

  • Crafts
  • Breathwork
  • Meditation

Ripple Effect

Guided exhibit of the incredible achievements of several life-changing programs offered by the Art of Living Foundation and the International Association for Human Values (IAHV). Exhibit will inspire positive change in community building.

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 access and stand-up space, dedicated all-weather tented workspace, 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 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, 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.