Listening Parties & Events

BellFest was made to be shared. Here you'll find tantalizing previews of upcoming events and listening parties. If you're not there to make it ring with us, we'll do our best to post some past highlights, too.

Bringing the Bells to You with Live-Streamed Carillon Concerts

What happens when life gives you lemons? You make lemonade! The old adage certainly held true at this year’s National Bell Festival. Confronted by the unprecedented health and safety risks of the novel coronavirus, we re-envisioned our community festival and presented an entire lineup of free and fun digitally-streamed events. And while we host a program of activities across genres (like fitness, culinary, and classical music), our bell ringing events are always the most popular.

That’s a Wrap!

The second annual National Bell Festival is concluded and we couldn’t be more excited by all we accomplished this last year. Even in the face of a pandemic, our intrepid Bell Raisers and festivalgoers came together (safely, of course) to ring in the New Year like never before. Throughout the day, we brought the community together around free and digitally-streamed events, activities, and concerts – and of course, our much-anticipated citywide ringing had the skies over Washington trembling with the resounding tolls of bells.
 

Chef Chittum’s New Year’s Day Brunch Recipe

Washingtonians take brunch seriously – and that’s especially true for us here at the National Bell Festival. New Year’s Day was made for brunch! The exquisite balance of sweet and savory goodness; the acknowledgement that on New Year’s Day we might roll out of bed a little later than usual; the scintillation of a bubbling mimosa…all combine to make brunch the perfect meal. 

Why Ring Alone?

This New Year's Day, ask your network, friends, and family to join in the (virtual) celebrations at the National Bell Festival. Festivals are always better with the ones you love!

Washington National Cathedral Announces New Year's Day Carillon Recital

New Year's Day has traditionally been celebrated at Washington National Cathedral with change ringing by the Washington Ringing Society on the Cathedral’s 10-bell peal. That occasion has been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cathedral carillonneur Edward M. Nassor continues the bell-ringing tradition by playing a recital on the Cathedral’s 53-bell carillon.

Ring at Noon During the Pandemic

The National Bell Festival is pleased to highlight and support a new project by City of Bells, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit committed to coordinating, restoring, and celebrating bronze bell installations. They have coordinated hundreds of bells to ring out in the Twin Cities area and are encouraging other cities and states to join in. BellFest is enthusiastically answering the call in Washington.

Out with a Bang

How do you wrap up the first National Bell Festival? We could think of no better way than the lush harmonies and heartfelt lyrics, often with a wink or quirky twist, of brilliant singer/songwriter duo: Griefcat. Described as "Local Favorites" by Washington City Paper, Griefcat is comprised of veteran singer-songwriters Louisa Hall and Nardo Lilly, who are recording their first album together at Ivakota Studio in D.C. 

Namaste, Washington

Festivalgoers started their New Year exploring simple yet powerful techniques at BellFest group yoga, perfect for all levels of experience and free for anyone who registered – and we quickly filled all spots on the mat! The goal of our community yoga practice was to help Washingtonians gain a fresh new perspective, clarify the mind, and channel happy new beginnings with a calming practice of reflection, refinement, and alignment.

The New Year Never Sounded So Good

At BellFest, we’re pretty proud of the eclectic, world-class programming we present across the city on New Year’s Day, and nowhere was this more evident than our classical music recital at the historic All Souls Episcopal Church. Through the enchanting lyricism and effortless grace of Sonya Hayes (violin), Devree Lewis (cello), and Jason Solounias (piano), festivalgoers were taken on a journey of deep reflections and frenzied, passionate melodies by two titans of music: Johannes Brahms and Dmitri Shostakovich.

We Rang. We Rolled.

When the bus gets rocking, the bells start ringing! In collaboration with Virginia Bronze and Big Bus Tours, we took our show on the road, zipping around the streets of D.C. to perform bus top pop-up concerts at sites across the city on New Year’s Day.