Organizers hope to establish the festival among other major cultural events that now take place during the year in the Mill City, including the Lowell Folk Festival, Southeast Asian Water Festival, and Winterfest. It’s a mid-day to late-night affair, kicking off at noon and going until 10 p.m. (more or less).
This year’s acts include singer-songwriter Shelagh O’Brien, who regularly appears locally at Mr. Dooley’s, The Dubliner, and The Black Rose, among other places, putting forth pub favorites (“Fields of Athenry”, “Sean South from Garryowen”) along with contemporary covers (“500 Miles,” “Take Me Home Country Roads” “I Will Wait”) all with the proper dollop of drama and dash; The Joshua Tree, who pride themselves on evoking the magic and majesty of U2 while maintaining artistic integrity; Irish Whispa, a quartet drawing inspiration from The Dubliners, Wolfetones, Dublin City Ramblers, and others, sometimes branching into popular folk and country material; Connecticut-based duo Rogue March, who focus on Irish rebel songs and maritime ballads; Tipperary native Tony Gahan, a singer-songwriter from the Worcester area who cites Shane McGowan, Christy Moore, Paul Brady, and the Clancy Brothers as among his influences; and local trio Erin Og, who are equally at home with ballad-band classics as well as up-tempo instrumentals.
The afternoon will also feature performances by the Heavey Quinn Academy of Irish Dance of Chelmsford, now well into its fourth decade, and athletically inspired family fun and recreation from “Knucklebones.”
Also well worth noting: Festival visitors can browse an exhibit in the auditorium’s Hall of Flags, “When the Irish Settled in Lowell,” with historic photos, artifacts, and documents related to the city’s Irish community, and how it overcame poverty and adversity to take a major role in the political, religious, and social activities of Lowell.
Go to lowellirishfestival.com.