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.

The Bells of the Netherlands Carillon Resound Back to Life

The Netherlands Carillon, a gift from the people of the Netherlands to the people of the United States in gratitude for American aid during and after World War II, has rung out again over Arlington Ridge Park after a three-year restoration.

The restoration beautified and secured the open steel structure, while all 50 tower bells were returned to the Netherlands for cleaning and retuning. An additional three bells were cast and added to the assembly, elevating the instrument to grand carillon status. 

Join Us at the Netherlands Carillon for a Freedom Concert

The National Bell Festival is thrilled to join the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the National Park Service in celebrating the Netherlands’ Liberation Day and the completion of the rehabilitation of the Netherlands Carillon.

And you’re invited! After a years-long restoration that began in late 2019, the Netherlands Carillon is set to resound back to life this coming Thursday, May 5, during an inaugural Freedom Concert. The morning event, which is free and open to the public, will include performances on 53 bells and addresses from both embassy and park officials.

An Old Bell Rings Anew in Georgetown

The 19th-century bell at Georgetown Lutheran Church has resounded for the first time in decades, following a months-long restoration effort funded by the National Bell Festival. Marking 250 years since the congregation’s founding (1769-2019), the bell’s return and rededication celebrations had been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but were finally realized this last weekend.

Ringing in the Rain, Together

You’ve no doubt heard that age-old adage: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well, we’ve now made our own. When life gives you rain, make it ring – and that’s exactly what we did this New Year’s Day. With drenching conditions across Washington, D.C. for the third annual National Bell Festival, we were sure folks wouldn’t want to venture out into the damp to hear the music cascade from on high. We were wrong. 

The 2022 National Bell Festival in Review

That’s a wrap! The last reverberations from the final toll of the 2022 National Bell Festival have rippled across the skies. We couldn’t be more excited about all we shared, experienced, and learned at BellFest this year.

It all began in Australia. At midnight local time on New Year’s Eve (that’s a very early 8:00am for us in Washington, D.C.), the Bathurst War Memorial Carillon erupted into sound. Following the strokes of midnight, Carillonneur Denise Garland played a stirring arrangement of “Auld Lang Syne” on the 47 tower bells.

The Countdown Is On!

In just one month, the third annual National Bell Festival returns with the privilege of ringing in the New Year. This year’s community festival will be our most thundering yet! With bells ringing across Washington, D.C. at our festival hub, across America in our coast-to-coast ringing, and across the globe in our first-ever Ring around the World event.

Bell Raisers Enjoy a Patriotic Clangor

How do you spend a leisurely afternoon in our nation’s capital on the Fourth of July? A picnic, of course! And no picnic is complete without a bit of entertainment or music. Thankfully, we had our bells.

This Fourth, Join Us for a Picnic Under the Bells

Let freedom ring this Fourth of July at the annual concert on bells from the tranquil Taft Memorial and Carillon – just steps from Union Station and the Mall. By resolution of Congress, the Carillonneur of the Capitol plays "The Star-Spangled Banner" and other patriotic favorites from the 11-story tower at 2:00pm every Independence Day. Join BellFest for the fun!

Sunday, July 4
1:30-3:00pm

Robert A. Taft Memorial and Carillon
New Jersey Ave. and Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

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.
 

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