21 Apr
Lowell Announces Performers for the 2023 Folk Festival (Lowell, MA.)





 One of America’s Largest Free Music Festivals

Featuring 3 Days of Music, Crafts, Food and Family Fun

in Historic Downtown Lowell, MA 


The LOWELL FOLK FESTIVAL, one of the longest running free folk festivals in the country, announced the first nine performers coming to the mill city for 3 days of music, dance, crafts, food, and family fun Friday, July 28th through Sunday, July 30th. 

The National Council for the Traditional Arts brought the National Folk Festival to Lowell in 1987 and has been a part of this magical weekend ever since,” said Madeleine Remez, Senior Associate Director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts.

“We’re looking forward to presenting an amazing roster of artists, which will include Chicago blues powerhouse Melody Angel, Irish supergroup Trian, griot and kora master Sona Jobarteh, and rockabilly great Chuck Mead. 

“We’ve also got the dynamic and rousing Haitian mizik rasin of Lakou Mizik, the hot jazz and western swing of Hot Club of Cowtown, and the exciting tap of Jason Samuels Smith on the schedule.” 

“The Zuni Olla Maidens will perform dance and song from the Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico, and bluegrass band Springfield Exit will share their gorgeous vocals and harmonies. The festival will also feature Portuguese fado, Greek music, Cajun, and funk, as well as music from Afghanistan and Ukraine—and much more.“ 

“We look with great anticipation to this year’s LOWELL FOLK FESTIVAL," said Arthur Sutcliffe, Chairman of the Lowell Festival Foundation. “We are thrilled to welcome a new partner, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, and our new festival coordinator Lee Viliesis. We have a number of new things in the works for this year, so we hope you will join us.” 

The LOWELL FOLK FESTIVAL, which attracts nearly 150,000 attendees annually, is more than a performing arts event.

The Folk Craft Area will focus on the role apprenticeships are playing in the continuing vitality of traditions from Chinese paper cutting, western boot making, hand-lettered signs and decorative painting, Dominican carnival traditions, wooden ship’s steering wheels, and more.

Foods from Around the World will enable LOWELL FOLK FESTIVAL goers to savor the many tastes of the diverse cuisines offered by non-profit organizations. 

The tempting aromas of a wide variety of foods from all corners of the globe, promise a culinary and cultural experience., promise a culinary and cultural experience. 

Local non-profit organizations come together to prepare and sell the foods of their heritage, with proceeds to benefit those organizations.

Following the ceremony, the public is invited to a reception in the Auditorium's Hall of Flags that will include entertainment by a jazz quartet.  

Music that spans the globe, from the Carpathian Mountains to the Louisiana Bayou, Afghanistan to the Iberian Peninsula and places in-between, will fill the air in the Mill City for this free 3-day celebration of Folk Arts and Culture from around the world.  

“We’re excited to welcome the internationally renowned fado singer Sara Correia, with the generous support of the Saab Family Foundation and the Saab Center for Portuguese Studies,” said the Lowell Folk Festival Coordinator Lee Viliesis

“As part of the remarkable Portuguese diaspora that is in New England, and particularly here in the Merrimack Valley, it is our honor to help share the leading voice of the new generation of fado singers with our friends at the Lowell Folk Festival,” said Analise Saab Brown, Program Director for the Saab Family Foundation.  

Sara Correia is a true fadista, able to captivate any audience, from the neighborhood club to the international concert stage, with the music fittingly called the soul of Portuguese people,” Festival Coordinator Viliesis said. “Our goal at the Lowell Folk Festival is to represent a diverse range of folk music traditions played by world class musicians.”  

Cheres, a virtuoso musical ensemble brings the folk melodies and dances of the Carpathian region of Western Ukraine to Lowell this summer.  

“They embody just one aspect of the Festival’s continuing commitment to present music from around the world to audiences who gather in historic Lowell Massachusetts on the last weekend of July,” she said.  

Heart of Afghanistan featuring Ahmad Fanoos & Sohail Karimi, features the transcendent singer, composer, and harmonium player Ahmad Fanoos performing songs that span Afghanistan’s rich and complex musical heritage. 

At Lowell, he performs with Sohail Karimi on tabla in a duo that highlights the traditional ghazals and ancient devotionals for which he is best known. 

This appearance is an American Voices Production.  

Masterful lap-steel guitarist Fran E. Grace leads her powerhouse family band specializing in the ecstatic, steel-guitar-driven gospel music of African American Holiness-Pentecostal worship services.    

A founding father of funk, bandleader Fred Thomas of the JB’s is among the most influential bass players alive today. 

Principal bassist with James Brown’s band for over three decades, Thomas’ signature basslines are the backbone of dozens of funk’s most iconic hits. 

Now leading his own seven-piece funk band, he’s holding down the groove he helped build.  

REVMA performs music from a wide spectrum of Greek traditions, ranging from lively island dances to mesmerizing polyphonic ballads. 

This quartet of virtuosos are in constant demand for Greek American community events in the Boston area, where they play for both listeners and dancers.    

Louisiana’s T’Monde is a critically acclaimed Cajun trio known for their pared-down, fiddle-driven sound; angelic vocal harmonies; and penchant for lesser-known, early twentieth century repertoire.  

They bring what Off-Beat Magazine calls “a creative fusion of classic country and out-of-the-way Cajun,” to the Lowell Folk Festival.  

These performers join appearances by Melody Angel, Hot Club of Cowtown, Sona Jobarteh, Lakou Mizik, Chuck Mead, Jason Samuels Smith, Springfield Exit, Trian, and the Zuni Olla Maidens.    

Visit https://lowellfolkfestival.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/LowellFolkFestival to stay posted on all future updates for the 36th LOWELL FOLK FESTIVAL

Major support for the LOWELL FOLK FESTIVAL comes from Mass Cultural Council, the City of Lowell, Saab Family Foundation / Saab Center for Portuguese Studies, Pridestar/Trinity EMS, Richard K. and Nancy Donahue, Demoulas Foundation, John Hunnewell Trust, Middlesex Community College, Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau/Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, UMass Lowell, Mahoney Oil/Eastern Salt, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center, Enterprise Bank, Aubert Fay Foundation, and Jean D’Arc Credit Union. 

LOWELL FOLK FESTIVAL is produced by the Lowell Festival Foundation, the City of Lowell, Lowell National Historical Park, the National Council for the Traditional Arts, the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, and the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.  

Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA)