Here in New England with our ever changing seasons, there is no time to waste those precious few months we can spend outdoors. One of the best ways to seize upon these summer months is to take in some live music. With artisanal foods and crafts, community and folks music the Lowell Folk Festival has been making that possible along the Merrimack River summer after summer. This weekend mark’s the Festival’s 30th year, and in celebration a new, fresh look has been added to this year’s festival to salute the occasion! For 2016, the Festival features five stages of traditional music, authentic crafts demonstrations, ethnic foods, art and children’s activities all outdoors in downtown Lowell, MA.
This year, the theme of the festival is “passing the torch”. Numerous performers, who have signed on, continue to represent the finest in traditional folk music and their efforts to continue the tradition of performing and sharing their knowledge to the next generation. “This year marks the 30th Festival in Lowell,” said Craig Gates, Executive Director of the Lowell Folk Festival. “The lineup will be a mix of new performers and returning favorites from the festivals 30-year history. This community has embraced a festival that has drawn millions of people over the last 30 years. We’re very excited to present the 30th festival this July.”
Look for the following performers at the Lowell Folk Festival:
Debashish Bhattacharya & Family – Indian slide guitar Kolkata, India
Gibson Brothers – bluegrass Upstate New York
Deacon John’s Jump Blues – jump blues New Orleans, Louisiana
Rahim AlHaj – Iraqi oud Albuquerque, New Mexico
Sri Lankan Dance Academy of NY – traditional Sri Lankan dance Staten Island, New York
Savoy Family Cajun Band – Cajun Eunice, Louisiana
Lurrie Bell’s Chicago Blues Band – Chicago blues Chicago, Illinois
Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy – Cape Breton Cape Breton by way of Ontario
King Sunny Adé & His African Beats – Nigerian jùjú Nigeria
Plena Es — bomba y plena Sunrise, Florida
Spencer Taylor & the Highway Q.C.’s — gospel Washington, D.C.
Jason D. Williams — rockabilly Memphis, Tennessee
Dennis Polisky & Maestro’s Men — Polish polka Colchester, Connecticut
Old Bay Ceili Band — Irish Baltimore, Maryland
Rebecca McGowan — Irish dance Lexington, Massachusetts
Qi Shu Fang Peking Opera — Peking Opera Woodhaven, New York
Charlie Walden — Missouri old-time fiddle Evanston, Illinois
Oi Pontoi — Pontic Greek
Tewksbury, Massachusetts and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Tarniriik — Inuit throat singing Ottawa, Ontario
In addition to the bounty of live music, the Festival will feature a Folk Craft Area where visitors can walk about and observe master craftspeople carving letterforms in stone, working clay, marbling paper, and also watch musical instrument makers plane a plank of spruce or insert a decorative inlay. The Foodways area will be featuring cooks from across the globe who have adapted their traditions ranging from small islands to regions of large continents sharing cuisine and tales of how they found their way to America.
The Lowell Folk Festival takes place July 29 – 31 and is presented by the Lowell National Historical Park, Lowell Festival Foundation, the National Council for the Traditional Arts, the City of Lowell, the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce.