Virtual Celebration – Radio

Happy Folk Festival weekend! We’re excited to bring you this engaging radio series from the archives.

Enjoy the first 3 hours of this 13-part program, with the following segments coming Saturday and Sunday. So please come back tomorrow at 12pm to hear more Folk Festival radio.

Tune in, crank up the volume, and listen to the diverse and timeless musical traditions presented at the Lowell Folk Festival over the years. The story of the Lowell Folk Festival began 34 years ago when Lowell, Massachusetts, was chosen by the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) to host the 49th , 50th and 51st National Folk Festivals (1987–1989).

Building upon the National’s highly successful three-year residency, a group of community partners and the NCTA launched the Lowell Folk Festival in 1990, an annual celebration that has become one of New England’s most important cultural events. Originally aired in 1999, THE LOWELL FOLK FESTIVAL is a 13-part series of public radio programs produced for national distribution by WDUQ-FM Pittsburgh, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Hosted by the NCTA’s longtime director and guiding light, the inimitable Joe Wilson (1938–2015), they feature a diverse array of exciting live musical performances from the festival’s earlier years—Irish, rockabilly, bluegrass, gospel, zydeco, blues, plena, Cajun, stringed instrument virtuosos, music from the Caribbean, the Canadian Maritimes, Appalachia, New Orleans, and much more.

During the series, as the story of the Lowell Folk Festival unfolds, you’ll hear the voices of individuals who, in the early years, worked to build this beloved and enduring cultural celebration, one that is quintessentially “Lowell.”

Thanks to WESA-FM Pittsburgh for permission to rebroadcast the series.


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