Congratulations to the organizers for another successful Lowell Folk Festival. I’ve come to believe that no one sees the Folk Festival the same way. It’s a little like viewing a painting or sculpture. Each individual brings his or her own background, interests and experiences to the event and those factors shape the Festival experience for each individual.
With that in mind, here are my observations of the 2015 Lowell Folk Festival. I was there on both afternoons, Saturday and Sunday. To me, the Festival is like a big open house for downtown Lowell complete with food and entertainment. I like to wander around and cross paths with others doing the same. Continuously walking the circuit gives me a sampling of the sights, sounds and smells of the event, a type of cultural buffet for all of the senses. Saturday, especially, was a great day to do that. The overcast sky and relatively cool temperatures made being outside on the last Saturday of July a very pleasant experience. Many others felt similarly, for downtown was very crowded that afternoon. The weather forecast for Sunday was dire with downpours and thunderstorms predicted. Although none actually materialized, I believe the expectation of inclement weather kept the crowd down.
High points for me are always lunch from one of the ethnic food booths which is a more like going to a cookout at a neighbor’s home than to a restaurant. Also great is the serendipitous discovery of some musician or previously unknown-to-me musical genre. I really like the “Destination Lowell” concept that groups many of Lowell’s Cultural institutions in tents lining Merrimack Street creating an outdoor shopping mall of local entities that try to perpetuate the theory of the Folk Festival year round, each in their own small way.
This Lowell Open House concept might be a way to leverage the Folk Festival into a more effective marketing tool for year-round Lowell. With the entities present and other added in, Merrimack Street could serve as one-stop shopping for those interested in things to do in Lowell at times other than the last weekend in July.
As I said, that’ just my perspective. Someone who owns a downtown business would have a completely different take as would a folk music aficionado from outside of Lowell. That’s why more people commenting on their experience and observations would be helpful, so please do so here or on Facebook.
In closing, thanks again to all who make the Folk Festival possible, and to everyone else, go to your calendar right now and block off the last weekend in July 2016 so you don’t inadvertently schedule rent your place at Hampton that week.