Known for its eclectic mix of music, food and art, the 35th anniversary Lowell Folk Festival returns in person July 29-31. With a musical lineup of acts from around the world, the festival will once again renew its rich history by showcasing the many tastes of Lowell’s diverse communities. This year’s festival will feature 18 food stalls operated by local non-profit community groups, each offering different traditional cuisine that showcases their heritage. The Foodways component of the 2022 festival will feature Comfort Food: How Our Culture Comforts US, two days of cooking demonstrations and talks.
“Although we are a festival celebrating folk traditions from around the world, people come not only for the amazing music, but also for the food and crafts we showcase. Our ethnic food vendors and Foodways programming are popular and set this festival apart from others,” said Kevin Dwyerexecutive director of the Lowell Folk Festival.
“Each of our food vendors sells a different type of traditional cuisine and they each raise funds for different local community nonprofits,” Dwyer continued. “A lot of these nonprofits have been involved with the festival since the very beginning, and the festival is the biggest fundraising event of the year for many of them. So not only the food is delicious, but the funds go directly back into supporting our community.”
The Lowell Folk Festival has always had a deep connection with the ethnic communities living in the area. The tempting aromas of Portuguese, Brazilian, Greek, Polish, Asian, Latin, Burmese and many more dishes will spread through the festival as non-profit organizations including Lowell’s Polish Cultural Committee, the Armenian Relief Society, Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Lowell, Iskwelahang Pilipino and others prepare food for large crowds. Proceeds benefit projects and programs in and around Lowell.
Food kiosks will be set up near three of the festival’s four stages. Boarding House Park Stage will feature Greek, Filipino, Hispanic, Jamaican/Indian, Middle Eastern and Lao food stalls. The Dance Pavilion (on Arcand Drive) will feature booths of Southeast Asian, Mixed African, Liberian, Brazilian, Burmese and Cameroonian cuisine. Market St Stage will feature Armenian, Green, Polish, Jamaican/Indian, Laotian and Hispanic food stalls.
Foodways cooking demonstrations will feature Comfort Food: How Our Culture Comforts Us Saturday and Sunday in the Lucy Larcom Park Folk Zone from noon to 5 p.m.
Hosted by folklorist Millie Rahn, Foodways will feature moderated talks and presentations with home cooks showing off comfort foods from their cultures. Great ethnic dishes like Polish pierogi, Greek potato fries, Lithuanian vegetable/chicken stew, Vietnamese spring rolls and sticky rice, attendees will not only learn recipes and preparation tips, but will hear the stories that make these comfort foods so special.
Comfort Food 2022: How Our Culture Comforts Us Demonstrations
Saturday & Sunday, 12 p.m.-5 p.m., Parc Lucy Larcom
Organized and moderated by folklorist Millie Rahn
Noon: Dottie Naruszewicz Flanagan-Pierogi Polish
1 p.m.: Eleni Zhodi-Greek tiganite potatoes
2 p.m.: Irena Malasauskas-Lithuanian vegetable and chicken stew
3 p.m.: Timothea Pham & Hanh Duong – Vietnamese spring rolls (Sat.) & sticky rice (Sun.)
4 p.m.: Dave Golber, sharpening of knives and other tools
Renowned artists from around the world who will grace four stages in downtown Lowell including: Cherish the Ladies (Irish), Los Pleneros de la 21 (Bomba and Plena), Dale Ann Bradley (Bluegrass), Diunna Greenleaf & Blue Mercy (Blues), Nava Persian Trio (Persian Santour), The Pedro Giraudo Tango Ensemble (Argentine Tango), Carolyn Martin Swing Band (Western Swing), Balla Kouyaté & Famoro Dioubaté (Balafon Masters), Christine Tassan et les Imposteures (Jazz Gypsy and Swing), Don Bryant (Memphis Soul), Lenny Gomulka & Chicago Push (Polka), Panfilo’s Güera (Tejano Conjunto Fiddle), Tremé Brass Band (New Orleans Brass Band) and Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole (Creole Music).
The Lowell Folk Festival is produced by the Lowell Festival Foundation, the Town of Lowell, the Lowell National Historic Park, the National Council of Traditional Arts, the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce and the Lower Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau. Great Merrimack.
More details about the festival, including additional artists and times, can be found at LowellFolkFestival.org or on the Lowell Folks Facebook page.