Lowell, MAThe 31st Lowell Folk Festival continues to provide the finest in traditional music, craft, floodways and more in downtown Lowell.  This year, the theme of the festival is passing the torch.  Numerous performers, who have signed on, continue to represent the finest in traditional folk music and their efforts to continue the tradition of performing and sharing their knowledge to the next generation.

“This year marks the 31st Festival in Lowell,” said Craig Gates, Executive Director of the Lowell Folk Festival. “The lineup will be a mix of new performers and returning favorites from the festivals 31-year history. This community has embraced a festival that has drawn millions of people over the last 30 years. We’re very excited to present the 31st festival this July.”

Look for the following performers to make the Lowell Folk Festival the place to be July 28 – 30, 2017.

Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo – Afro-Venezuelan

The Branchettes – African American gospel

Chaksam-pa – Tibetan opera, folk song, & dance

C.J. Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band – zydeco

Dori Freeman – Appalachian song

Eastern Sound Orchestra – Polish polka

El Septeto Santiaguero – Cuban son

Innov Gnawa – Moroccan Gnawa

Kenan Adnawi – Syrian oud

Los Texmaniacs – conjunto tejano

Marcus Santos & aNova Brazil – Brazillian percussion ensemble

Mokoomba – Zimbabwe

The New York Crimean Tatar Ensemble – Crimean Tatar

Ongwehonwe Singers & Dancers – Haudenosaunee song & dance

Puppeteers Cooperative – giant puppets, pageants, and parade

Robert Clark – Magic, Juggling, Comedy Street Performances

Seamus Egan Project – Irish

ShadowGrass – bluegrass

Stax Music Academy Alumni Band – Memphis soul

Sun Ra Arkestra – big band free jazz

Toronzo Cannon – Chicago Blues

Vishtèn – Acadian

The Western Flyers – western swing

At the Folk Craft Area, coastal and inland traditions are the theme of the year. You can walk about and observe master craftspeople working leather for saddles, weaving and spinning, working wood for ships wheels, making wampum and more. Watch the art of scrimshading, the once common art of hand-crafting decorative and functional items from salvaged whale ivory.  See copper, the preferred metal to work in, as it holds a special meaning and significance for Eastern Native people. Watch willow, seagrass and rattan be woven into utilitarian baskets with two toned designs.

Western Saddles

Keith LaRiviere, Orange, MA

English Saddles

Tony Cooper, Royalston, MA

Marlinspike & Horse Blankets

Barbara Merry, Wakefield, RI

Berkshire Hills & Dales Spinners Guild

Berkshire County, MA & Beyond

Wooden Ship’s Wheels

Bob Fuller & Apprentice John O’Rourke, Halifax, MA

Narragansett Wampum Artist

Allen Hazard, Charlestown, RI

Wampanoag Wampum Artist

Elizabeth James-Perry, Dartmouth, MA


Patricia James-Perry, Dartmouth, MA

Aquinnah Wampanoag Copper Jewelry

Jonathan James-Perry, N. Providence, RI

Crockery For Kraut

Jeremy Ogusky, Jamaica Plain, MA

Willow, Seagrass, & Rattan Basketry

Wendy G. Jensen, Monterey, MA

Ugandan Fiber Craft & Toys

Juliet Najjumba, Waltham, MA

Khmer Ceramics & Temple Ornamentation

Yary Livan & Apprentice Panit Mai, Lowell, MA

To celebrate the Festival’s 31st Anniversary the Foodways area will be featuring cooks who have adapted their traditions ranging from small islands to regions of large continents, and how they found their way to America, and to the Lowell Folk Festival! Make sure you stop by and have a “Taste of Tradition!”

The Family Fun Area on Shattuck will include performances by Magician, Juggler, and Comedian Robert Clarke, as well as National Dance Day Routines and Demonstrations on Saturday, July 29th.  Performances by Dana & Friends, Ventriloquist & Comedian, and free face painting by Lowell Local Laborers Union will be highlights on Sunday, July 30th. Also, hands on events will take place on Saturday & Sunday Sponsored by the Lowell National Historical Park and the Winchester School of Art. Box Hockey and other games will be presented again by the Lowell Parks and Recreation Department.