LOWELL — The Lowell Festival Foundation announced Monday that the Lowell Folk Festival will be held in person from July 29 to 31, marking its 35th anniversary.
The staple cultural event for the region since 1987, the Folk Festival was not held for the last two years because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There’s a lot of excitement to bring this festival back to Lowell,” said Art Sutcliffe, chairman of the Lowell Festival Foundation. “This festival does a lot of good for the people and businesses of Lowell, and we’re thrilled to bring it back for them.”
The festival’s late July return will feature about 20 performing groups sharing unique musical traditions from around the world. The event normally attracts more than 150,000 people to downtown Lowell for its three days of music, food and art.
According to organizers, this year’s festival will have a consolidated footprint that brings the events closer to downtown and aims to improve the audience experience. Planners hope the event will mark a new chapter in regional pandemic recovery, while providing a boost to tourism and local businesses.
The dance stage will be set up on Arcand Drive, with an adjacent food court featuring many fan-favorite multicultural community food vendors on JFK Plaza. A larger Market Street Stage, placed on the street itself, will feature blues, polka and Cajun bands, and will be accompanied by another food court in Market Street Park.
Local nonprofit food vendors will serve traditional dishes from more than a dozen different cultures, and the Foodways Area will feature a variety of cultural comfort foods. Attendees will also be able to see and hear demonstrations of many different instruments being played and built in the Folk Craft Area, where this year’s theme is “Crafting Sound: Making & Restoring Musical Instruments.”
The artist lineup and further details will be announced in the coming weeks at lowellfolkfestival.org and facebook.com/LowellFolkFestival.
The Lowell Folk Festival is put on through a partnership of the Lowell Festival Foundation, the city, Lowell National Historical Park, the National Council for the Traditional Arts, the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.