We're about as far away on the calendar as you can get from there being live shows at Boarding House Park as part of the Lowell Summer Music Series, but the planning for the next year's lineup is well underway.
That, in and of itself, helps the mind deal with cold temperatures and long lines at the mall during the winter months, but what's even better is that you can help plan the shows you'll see next summer.
As is usually the case this time of year, the Lowell Summer Music Series sent out an audience survey last week by email that lists a ton of performer suggestions for next summer.
There isn't enough space here in Nightlife to list the nearly 100 performers included in the survey. However, given that the annual lineup includes roughly 16-20 shows, here's my list of 20 performers, listed alphabetically, who have never played the Lowell Summer Music Series before that I would love to see at Boarding House Park in summer 2017:
- Andra Day -- The twice-nominated Grammy singer-songwriter is one of the hottest acts going right now. She's extremely sought-after and would be an enormous asset to any LSMS lineup.
- Art Garfunkel -- Imagine an evening of hearing one half of perhaps the greatest folk rock duo of all time?
- Blondie -- They gave us some of the biggest hits of the late '70s and early '80s before re-emerging nearly two decades later.
- Blue Oyster Cult -- Far more than the band immortalized in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, they've been on the road for decades and always put on a fun show.
- Chris Cornell -- The voice of Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog and Audioslave, he's also built an impressive solo career for himself. I saw him in Worcester earlier this year on an acoustic tear and he blew me away.
- Colbie Caillat -- She's enormously successful and her style of music would play very well outdoors in Boarding House Park.
- Collective Soul -- Nineties hitmakers who have re-emerged after a hiatus of a few years to resume touring and recording.
- Counting Crows -- Also hit it big in the '90s, but have never really slowed down. Adam Duritz has an unmistakable voice and a cadre of hits to use it on.
- Courtney Barnett -- Australian singer-songwriter whose star rose when she was the musical guest on last season's finale of Saturday Night Live.
- Cyndi Lauper -- She's so unusual, but there's almost no style of music she can't sing. Her career is best known for her '80s hits, but she's done country, blues and soul as well.
- David Crosby -- See Art Garfunkel above, except he's one third (maybe one fourth) of Crosby, Stills & Nash (& Young).
- Dawes -- They've played Lowell before, but never Boarding House Park. Given their Laurel Canyon sound, it's hard not to imagine them sounding great outdoors.
- Doobie Brothers -- No, their lineup doesn't include Michael McDonald, but it does include founding members Tom Johnston (lead singer on most of their biggest hits of the '70s) and guitarist Patrick Simmons. Who doesn't want to see Boarding House Park turn into China Grove?
- Gary Clark Jr. -- One of the best and most respected blues rock guitarists active today, the Austin, Texas, native has never come to Lowell. Let's fix that.
- Gov't Mule -- Warren Haynes has played Boarding House Park twice as a solo act (2011, 2015), but this Southern rock band has never come here.
- Jim James -- Having the lead singer of My Morning Jacket in Lowell is as ethereal as the music itself.
- Kacey Musgraves -- This would be a big get for Lowell. The city has long received country acts very well (think Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Martina McBride and many others at Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell), but she's never played here.
- Mat Kearney -- No, he's not the brother of Jen Kearney of Jen Kearney and the Lost Onion (though she does have a brother named Matt), but he's one of the most critically acclaimed and successful singer-songwriters, particularly on the adult contemporary chart, of the last decade.
- Rodrigo y Gabriela -- An acoustic guitar duo from Mexico City, they play the fastest, most rhythmic guitars I have ever seen live. I saw them at the Orpheum a few years ago and they were mind blowing.
- Tegan and Sara -- I saw them a couple of years ago at the Lilith Fair revival tour and the Canadian indie pop singing duo, consisting of identical twin sisters, had me enthralled. If you know nothing else about them, you have heard their song "Everything is Awesome" from The Lego Movie soundtrack.
There are plenty of other great acts on the list, many of whom have played Boarding House Park multiple times in the past. The actual 2017 lineup will likely be a blend of first-time acts and some acts who have been here before, but perhaps not in a few years.
Feel free to come up with your own list after reading the survey at www.lowellsummermusic.com and shoot me an email at email@example.com with your suggestions. If we get enough of them, we'll include them in a future column.