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Bring the Family to the 35th Annual Lowell Folk Festival This Weekend

This FREE and fun folk festival features music, dance, arts & crafts, entertainers and SO much food!

July 26, 2022

Did you know one of the largest Folk Festivals in the country takes place right here in Lowell? This weekend, from Friday July 29 to Sunday July 31, the City of Lowell will be transformed into an amazing destination featuring a huge variety of musicians, dancers and performers, all kinds of ethnic foods, folk arts & crafts, children's activities and more for the 35th annual Lowell Folk Festival. It's a wonderful family event, with opportunities to listen to and dance to all kinds of music, experience new art forms, and try new foods. All performances are free but there are items for purchase, such as foods and arts and crafts.

We've reviewed the schedules, maps and materials and pulled out the key activities and areas that will appeal most to families with children.


MUSIC & DANCE

Music and dance are the main attractions of the Lowell Folk Festival, and there is always an incredible variety of performers. Performers in 2022 will be here from Canada and all over the US to perform all kinds of music and dance, including bluegrass, zydeco, polka, gospel, tango, blues, and more.  See the complete list of artists, with links to videos, on the 2022 Artist Lineup page.  Some artists who would appeal particularly to families include:

  • Cherish the Ladies ~ traditional Irish music
  • Carolyn Martin Swing Band ~ high-energy Western swing
  • Los Pleneros de la 21 ~ Puerto Rican traditional music and dance
  • Lenny Gomulka and Chicago Push ~ Polish polka music and dance


FOOD

The Lowell Folk Festival organization does an amazing job coordinating ethnic food vendors, all of whom are from non-profit organizations. Their profits will be put to good use on a variety of projects, and they are required to use environmentally-friendly plates, utensils and packaging.

Visit the Ethnic Food page to read about the ethnic food vendors that will be stationed at Boarding House Park, Market Street and near the Dance Pavilion.  See the list of vendors and their locations on the festival PDF Map. Try all kinds of food, including Portuguese, Brazilian, Greek, Polish, Asian, Latin, Armenian, Filipino, Liberian, Laotian, and more.  If you'd prefer a sit-down restaurant, consider visiting these nearby restaurants, all sponsors of the Folk Festival.

There will also be food demonstrations in Lucy Larcom Park from 12-5 PM on Saturday and Sunday. This year's focus is on comfort foods from a variety of cultures.


ARTS & CRAFTS

The Folk Craft area in Lucy Larcom Park this year is focused on "crafting sound" and acoustic musical instruments.  The folk craft area will include demonstrations of master craftspeople at work crafting and playing instruments such as wood drums, Irish uilleann pipes, water drums, flutes, fiddles, steel pans and more. The Folk Craft area is open on Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 5 PM. See the complete list of artisans.

On Saturday from 12-7:30 PM and Sunday from 12-6 PM, come to the courtyard of the National Historical Park Visitor Center to check out Art in the Courtyard. Local artists, including jewelers, candlemakers, glassblowers, basketmakers and more, will be displaying their fine art and crafts.


FAMILY ACTIVITIES

Families can find lots of children's activities along Shattuck Street on Saturday and Sunday from 12-5 PM. Typically, there are crafts, games, dance performances from local dance schools, face painting, balloons, giveaways, street performers, and more. Families can also explore a B&M Locomotive at the Dutton Street Trolley Stop from 11 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and Sunday. 

Be sure to visit Destination Lowell on Merrimack Street too! Booths from local organizations will provide information, handouts, schedules, and activities. Meet folks from the Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust, the Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra, Lowell Celebrates Kerouac, the Lowell Kinetic Sculpture Race, and other local organizations.


LOGISTICS & SCHEDULES

Performers rotate among the various stages and will appear at different times throughout the weekend. For a handy reference, print out a schedule and a map.

Parking is available at downtown garages on John Street, Market Street, the Tsongas Arena, Warren Street, Middlesex Street, and Davidson Street off East Merrimack Street. Some of these garages may become inaccessible after Saturday at 9 AM; the Warren Street and Tsongas Arena garages should be accessible all weekend but may be full. Note that portions of downtown Lowell will be closed all weekend. See the Directions/Parking page for street closure information.  Consider taking the LRTA bus from surrounding towns.

Festival maps are available from the National Park Visitor Center at 246 Market St and at information tents throughout the festival.

Stay tuned to the Lowell Folk Festival social media channels for updates and the latest news: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.




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