Lowell MA Folk Festival 2018

Today July 29 is the last day of one of my favorite summer events, the Lowell Folk Festival. Always an adventure in food and music!

Went yesterday afternoon and didn’t eat much, due to the heat, beyond the Armenian losh kebab that’s on our annual list of must-haves.

The line up of what’s on offer is available below if the Festival beckons to you on a summer Sunday. Most food stalls are run by volunteers from churches or cultural groups, which is what I love. We may slather ourselves with sunscreen again and go back today for a second round.


We went yesterday too and the heat and humidity did make eating difficult. We always like the Burmese stand and their pennywort fritters, also tried the chicken gumbo stand by Market St and enjoyed it even though it’s a terrible choice for this weather. Went nearby to Asados Dona Flor for dinner; the homey Colombian fare was excellent and mango juice hydrated us back from the California raisins we were after a whole day under the sun.


Been meaning to try Asados Dona Flor. Looks like we should give it a go. Thank you!

We struggled to find something to do today after a great beach day up north on Friday (and good lunch at Smuttynose / Hayseed - not Portsmouth) and Museum of Science / Brewers Fork yesterday. B said “ how about Lowell Folk Festival” but I nixed it because of warm weather and thought of crowds. We’ve never gone but is it the kind of festival that you can just meander into and not be faced with crazy crowds and yucky parking situations? I’m not a big fan of cars to begin with but if it’s reasonably manageable, I’m game!

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Oops sorry, saw this too late. I would say this was fairly manageable despite it seeming more crowded this year. The traffic isn’t half as bad as Topsfield Fair or trying to get through Revere during the sand sculptures (shudder), and we paid $15 to park right next to a stage. (Plenty of $10 private parking nearby too) There are several stages going on at the same time so it’s easy to stand nearby to listen and then move on if it’s not your thing.

We’ve been going for a few years now and look forward to it each year. Free folk music, $15 parking, a blanket to sit on, plenty of water, some cash for vendors, and a few hours to wander around, it honestly is pretty great. Plus, so many Cambodian restaurants! :wink:


Parking is not bad but you would need to go to a garage and pay around $15 for the closest options, as @sunnyday noted. Some patience is necessary to navigate the streets until you get to a garage.

Considerations I’d weigh if visiting the Festival with a Spring Onion: plenty of walking between venues, the potential for heat/sun, and porta-potties. That said, we always see many young kids dancing up a storm and sampling the various foods.

For the adults who might wish to have a cold beverage on a summer day, beer and wine are available in designated areas though we are talking Budweiser-affiliated brews such as Shock Top. Cobblestone’s restaurant does an outdoor setup where this year we saw them serving Jack’s Abbey and likely some other craft or maybe craft-ish pours. So, options.

Hope this helps you decide for next year!