When is the Lowell Folk Festival?
29-31 July. The festival takes place annually on the last full weekend in July.
Where does the festival take place?
On four stages and at other locations in downtown Lowell. There are stages in Boarding House Park, St. Anne’s Churchyard, Arcand Drive and Market Street.
What is the history of the festival?
After the success of hosting the National Folk Festival in Lowell for three years from 1987 to 1989, the producing partners and community continued the excitement with the Lowell Folk Festival in 1990. With hundreds of thousands of visitors attending each year, the experience is ever-changing. The six producing partners — the City of Lowell, the Lowell Festival Foundation, Lowell National Historical Park, the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the National Council for the Traditional Arts — oversaw the organization and presentation of the Festivals The festival continues annually on the last full weekend in July.
How is the festival?
Most of downtown Lowell becomes the festival site for the three days of the festival. With multiple stages, some people settle down on one stage for an afternoon or evening. Others move according to the schedule to experience the different venues, performances and audiences. There will be sunny stages and shady stages, and smiling faces will be everywhere. With an area for family activities, craft demonstrations, hearty ethnic fare and more, everyone enjoys it ‘in their own way’.
How much does participation cost?
The festival performances and activities are free of charge. Food, drink and merchandise will be sold throughout the festival.
Should I bring my children?
The Lowell Folk Festival is attended by children of all ages. As well as fantastic music throughout the festival, there is a craft demonstration area, family activity area and much more. The whole family will have a great time!
What’s the weather like?
Massachusetts can bring a lot of different weather conditions at the end of July and of course we’re keeping our fingers crossed for sunshine and cool breezes. However, to be realistic, average temperatures are in the mid-80s and the sun can be intense – so hats, sunscreen and water are valuable for your comfort. There is also a chance of a sudden thunderstorm – venue changes will be announced from the stages if necessary.
Should I participate rain or shine?
The festival goes on, whatever the July weather brings. Venue changes will be announced from the stage if necessary.
What should I bring?
• Sunglasses, sunscreen, hat.
• Blanket or towel to sit in the grassy amphitheater. You can bring low garden chairs, but please be considerate of those around you. If you’re blocking someone’s view, we’ll ask you to move.
• Sweater, sweatshirt or windcheater for the evening concerts.
• Friends and neighbors.
• A picnic lunch if you wish.
• Extra spending money for a souvenir t-shirt, CD or donation to help keep the festival going!
What is not allowed?
Is the festival barrier-free?
All festival venues are wheelchair accessible. Wheelchair accessible restrooms are available at the National Park Visitor Center, Boott Cotton Mills Museum and Downes Car Park (John Street). Sign language interpreters will be part of the performance on the Boarding House Park Stage and other select stages.
Are pets part of the festival?
The festival is a busy place and the environment is not the best for pets. However, if you must bring your dog, they must be registered, leashed, comfortable with active crowds, cleaned afterwards and please have water available on a regular basis.
Is there food?
Absolutely! Some people come from long distances, mostly for the amazing variety of ethnic foods on offer during the festival by non-profit vendors. From African to Filipino, there are flavors from around the world as well as good old American fare.
Is first aid available?
First aid is available throughout the festival. Stop at any of the information booths for assistance, or ask a uniformed National Park Service ranger or police officer for assistance.
Where can I park?
Parking is available at the City of Lowell garages at a daily rate. Please note that downtown streets will be rerouted and closed for the festival.
can i dance
You bet! Dancing is encouraged throughout the festival, particularly in the dance pavilion.
Where can I get information during the festival?
Information booths featuring friendly Lowell Ambassadors will be located in downtown Lowell. The city ambassadors will be happy to inform you after your arrival at the festival. Information is also available at the National Park Visitor Center at 246 Market Street.