By Victoria Wasylak
What do Peter Frampton, Guster and Mary Chapin Carpenter all have in common? You can catch all three playing this season’s all-star lineup at Lowell Summer Music Series.
“All of those three shows I have been working on for years and years and years,” says event organizer John Marciano. “It happens to be the year that they’ve all been landed.”
The three acts are just a few of the new acts to come to Boarding House Park this summer for Lowell’s premier outdoor concerts. Weird Al Yankovic, The Lone Bellow, Dr. Dog, and Colin Hays of Men at Work are all new shows for the ever-improving music series. The stellar “Case/Lang/Veirs” showcase will feature Neko Case, k.d. Lang and Laura Veirs – all Lowell Summer Music alumni – playing onstage together for the first time.
“These are guys that are selling out (the) House of Blues — 2,500 seats for Dr. Dog one night, and for Guster two nights in a row!” Marciano said. “That’s a big deal.”
Returning favorites The Indigo Girls and The B-52s remain guaranteed crowd-pleasers for all ages, and The Lone Bellow and Guster are geared to appeal to a younger demographic. While the series always offers a variety of genres and acts, 2016’s lineup is more of a musical cornucopia than usual, especially with Weird Al — the current bestselling show — sandwiched in the series.
“Last year the bar was set pretty high,” he said. “This year’s lineup is a very strong, diverse lineup that’s as good as last year.”
Every year, Lowell Summer Music Series faces the challenge of outdoing itself, a task Marciano factors into the both lineup and the entire concert experience. Last year, the series worked on improving the site’s bathrooms, and this year, ticket pickup has been rearranged for smaller and faster box office lines.
“Revitalization is the name of the game here,” Marciano said. “We’re doing this series to introduce new and different people to Lowell, Massachusetts and all that Lowell, Massachusetts has to offer.”
Boarding House Park offers 30 premium seats in the two front rows of the venue, which are available with a $100 donation to the park along with the ticket price. Of course, Lowell residents still enjoy what Marciano calls the “Lowell advantage.” An annual tradition, people still come and plunk down their chairs, blankets and towels to secure prime lawn space after 7am on the day of the show.
“The premium seats are just a great idea for folks that are either coming from a distance, haven’t been here before, can’t put their stuff down early, things like that,” he said.
Buy beyond the two rows of VIP seats, fans who arrive early enough can snag prime real estate with their general admission ticket. Unlike the dreaded lawn sections of stadiums, there’s no lousy seat in the park, and fans can still get close to the stage without shelling out hundreds.
“You can be in the third row of this venue for just a little bit of your time and whatever that ticket price is, and that just isn’t happening anymore anywhere else,” Marciano said. “Lowell Summer Music is still music for the people, and we can’t celebrate that enough.
Our goal is to have a cheaper price tag than the next guy, and a far better experience.”
Learn more and get the complete concert series schedule at lowellsummermusic.org