06/26/2012 05:30 pm ET Updated Jun 26, 2012

2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival Featuring George Clinton, AIDS Quilt, Kicks Off This Week (PHOTOS)

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.

2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival Evening Concerts