WASHINGTON -- The 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival begins this week and unlike previous years where themes have been focused on countries or regions, this year's iteration is divided into three categories, "Campus and Community," "Citified" and "Creativity and Crisis."

Campus and Community focuses on the roles public universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture play in shaping our food landscape. Lectures and mini-classes about topics ranging from entomology to sustainable energy will educate the public on what's on their plates.

Citified's full title, "Citified: Arts and Creativity East of the Anacostia River," explains its local programming. D.C. artists like Christylez Bacon and Head Roc will perform and lead workshops each day of programming.

Creativity and Crisis will bring portions of the AIDS quilt back to the nation's capital. In addition to the iconic piece of art, Creativity and Crisis will feature spoken word, theater, lecture, public health talks and more about the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Each night the festival will close with an international, and in one case intergalactic -- George Clinton -- musical performance.

The festival starts Wednesday, June 27 and runs through Sunday, July 1. It'll start back up on Wednesday, July 4 and conclude Sunday, July 8.

A slideshow of the performers can be viewed below.

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  • AIDS Quilt

    Part of the AIDS Quilt will be showcased for the duration of the Festival.

  • George Clinton

    Wednesday, June 27, 2012 Panorama Room, 6 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. National Museum of African American History and Culture presents Bring Back the Funk featuring George Clinton, Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk, and Meshell Ndegeocello

  • Meshell Ndegeocello

    Wednesday, June 27, 2012 Panorama Room, 6 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. National Museum of African American History and Culture presents Bring Back the Funk featuring George Clinton, Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk, and Meshell Ndegeocello

  • West Virginia University's Steel Band Drum Ensemble

    Wednesday, June 27, 2012 Justin S. Morrill Performing Arts Center, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. West Virginia University's Steel Band Drum Ensemble featuring Ellie Mannette

  • Imamyar Hasanov

    Thursday, June 28, 2012 Justin S. Morrill Performing Arts Center, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Azerbaijani Music with Imamyar Hasanov and Pezhham Akhavass

  • Quetzal

    Friday, June 29, 2012 Justin S. Morrill Performing Arts Center, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings presents Quetzal and La Sardina de Naiguatá

  • The Ebony Hillbillies

    Friday, June 29, 2012 Panorama Room, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. The Music of Monticello and the Blue Ridge

  • AIDS Quilt

    Saturday, June 30, 2012 Red Hot, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. An Evening of Song with In Process... and the Rock Creek Singers

  • Sweet Heaven Kings

    Saturday, June 30, 2012 Panorama Room, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Ralph Rinzler Memorial Concert: Celebrating Worth Long's Legacy

  • Kálmán Balogh

    Sunday, July 1, 2012 Justin S. Morrill Performing Arts Center, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Hungarian Roma Music with Kálmán Balogh

  • Pezhham Akhavass

    Thursday, July 5, 2012 Justin S. Morrill Performing Arts Center, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Azerbaijani Music with Imamyar Hasanov and Pezhham Akhavass

  • Mariachi Aztlán

    Friday, July 6, 2012 Justin S. Morrill Performing Arts Center, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings presents University of Texas-Pan American's Mariachi Aztlán and Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano

  • University of the District of Columbia Jazz Ensemble

    Saturday, July 7, 2012 Justin S. Morrill Performing Arts Center, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. University of the District of Columbia Jazz Ensemble

  • AIDS Quilt

    Saturday, July 7, 2012 Red Hot, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Evening Cabaret