You can't go wrong in picking a multi-day festival to attend this weekend.
It’s festival weekend, from Lowell to Newport and Boston in between. On Friday, House of Blues hosts one of the planet’s best live bands, gypsy-punk outfit Gogol Bordello, fronted by the wild Eugene Hutz. But Friday also kicks off the three-day Newport Folk and Lowell Folk fests, followed by Boston’s Summer Arts Weekend.
Newport Folk’s been reborn in recent years as one of the country’s premiere mid-size fests, held within the striking confines of Fort Adams State Park on the harbor of that Rhode Island city. Friday’s lineup includes Ryan Adams, Band of Horses, Lake Street Dive and Jimmy Cliff. Saturday peaks with the hottest spread of acts, led by rockers Jack White and Kurt Vile, bluegrass-pop pioneers Nickel Creek, Puss N Boots, hot duo the Milk Carton Kids, Deer Tick and art-pop wonders Lucius as well as upstarts Shovels & Rope, Benjamin Booker and J. Roddy Walston. Sunday more than holds its own with soul legend Mavis Staples, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy (out in his solo band that includes his son, plus a near-certain cameo with Staples), Conor Oberst, flamenco-rockers Rodrigo y Gabriela, bluegrass modernists Trampled by Turtles, Dawes and Peggi Young, whose husband Neil could tag along in her band if they want to add to Newport history. Here’s the whole lineup.
But if you can’t land tickets to sold-out Newport Folk, you can’t go wrong with two free fests this same weekend in Boston and Lowell. The Lowell Folk Festival takes over that nearby northern city for three days of shuffling sets by a diverse world of artists including Sun Records rockabilly survivor Sonny Burgess & the Legendary Pacers, Moroccan gnawa sintir master Hassan Hakmoun, Louisiana’s Cajun outfit the Pineleaf Boys and funky original D.C. go-go band EU. Check out the website.
Finally, right here in Boston, Summer Arts Weekend rocks Copley Square Park with Grammy-winning headliners Los Lobos and country veteran Ricky Scaggs & Kentucky Thunder on Saturday and Sunday respectively. They’ll be joined by a cross-genre lineup also including New Orleans brass band the Soul Rebels, jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, Canadian flamenco rocker Jesse Cook and fellow acoustic guitar virtuoso Shun Ng. And here’s the full schedule.
Finally, for my Thursday Throwback, with Nine Inch Nails about to rock the Xfinity Center with Soundgarden on Tuesday, let’s flash back to a mud-caked NIN annihilating that mud-caked crowd at Woodstock ’94.