- What is the history of the Festival?
Following the success of hosting the National Folk Festival in Lowell for three years, 1987-1989, the producing partners and community continued the excitement with the Lowell Folk Festival in 1990. With hundreds of thousands of visitors attending annually, the experience is ever-changing. The four producing partners: The City of Lowell, the Lowell Festival Foundation, Lowell National Historical Park, and the National Council for the Traditional Arts, have continued organizing and presenting the Festival annually during the last full weekend in July. The National Folk Festival started in 1934 in St. Louis. Since 1989, the National Folk Festival has continued to migrate around the country to Johnstown, Pa.; Chattanooga, Tenn,; Dayton, Ohio; East Lansing, Mich.; Bangor, Maine; and is now being hosted in Richmond, Va.
- What's the Folk Festival like?
Most of downtown Lowell becomes festival grounds for the three days of the Festival. With five performance stages, some folks settle in for an afternoon or evening at one stage. Others move around to according to the schedule to experience the various venues, performances, and audiences. There are sunny and shaded stages, and there will be smiling faces all around. With a Family Activities Area, crafts demonstrations, savory ethnic foods, and so much more, everyone enjoys it "their way."
- How much does it cost to attend?
The performances and activities within the Festival are FREE. Food, beverage, and merchandise sales are available throughout the Festival.
- Should I bring my kids?
The Lowell Folk Festival is attended by kids of all ages. In addition to the fantastic music throughout, there is a crafts demonstration area, a family activities area, Destination Lowell venue showcase, and much more. The whole family will have a great time.
- What's the weather like?
Massachusetts in late July can bring lots of different weather, and of course we're keeping our fingers crossed for sunshine and cool breezes. However, to be realistic the temperatures average in the mid-80s, and the sun can be intense ... so hats, sunscreen, and water are valuable for your comfort. There is also the chance of a sudden thunderstorm - venue changes will be announced from the stages.
- Should I attend rain or shine?
The Festival carries on, whatever the July weather brings. Venue changes are announced from the stage when necessary.
- What should I bring?
* Sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat.
* Blanket or towel to sit upon in the grassy amphitheatre. You may bring low lawn chairs, but please be considerate of those sitting around you.
* If you're blocking someone's view, we'll ask you to move.
* A sweater, sweatshirt, or windbreaker, for the evening concert.
* A picnic lunch if you like.
* Extra spending money, for a souvenir T-shirt, CD, and raffle tickets for a chance to win an exciting raffle prize.
- Is the festival accessible?
All festival venues are accessible for wheelchairs. Wheelchair accessible restrooms are available at the National Park Visitor Center, Boott Cotton Mills Museum, Downes (John Street) Parking Garage. Sign language interpreters are part of the performance at the Boarding House Park Stage.
- Are pets a part of the festival?
The festival is a busy place, and the setting is not the best for pets. However, if you must bring your dog, it must be licensed and leashed, comfortable with active crowds, cleaned up after, and please have water available regularly.
- Is there food?
Absolutely! Some folks come long distances especially because of the amazing variety of ethnic foods available from non-profit organization vendors throughout the Festival. From African to Filipino there are tastes from around the world and good old American fare as well.
- Can I stay nearby?
There are plenty of places to stay in and around Lowell.
Contact the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitor Bureau.
- Is first aid available?
There are marked first aid stations throughout the Festival venues.
- Where can I park?
Parking is available at municipal garages for $15 per car. Please note that downtown streets are re-directed and closed for the festival.
- Where can I get information while at the festival?
Information booths with friendly Lowell Ambassadors are situated around Downtown Lowell and would be glad to provide you with information once you arrive at the Festival.
From information at www.lowellfolkfestival.org.