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.


Author Susan Currie is an Associate Editor at LA YOGA magazine. Her words and images have been featured in the Boston Globe, Elephant Journal, Yogi Times, the Tishman Review, the Huffington Post, Spirit of St. Bart’s and on the cover of the book Moving into Meditation (Shambala) by Anne Cushman. 

Susan is also the creator of the Daily Inhale and an RYT 200 registered yoga instructor. She unpacks her various professional experiences through the creative and yoga workshops she leads throughout the country. Her new book, GRACENOTES (Shanti Arts 2017), a blend of words and images, is now available in wide release.