The Lookout: Folk
Irish Connections Festival: Held June 10-12, the Irish Connections Festival is New England's premier fete for all things Irish. It'll feature Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul, the Prodigals, Sean Keane, Cape Breton fiddle-rocker Ashley MacIsaac, and fiddle legend Seamus Connolly. At the Irish Cultural Centre, Canton. Call 781-821-8291 or visit irishculture.org.
Greater New Bedford Summerfest: No festival in the country better displays the crossroads where traditional folk meets the modern songwriter. The real stars are jovial song swaps, where bluesmen and Celtic fiddlers share the stage with moody urban troubadours. Acts at the fest -- held July 2-3 -- include Catie Curtis, Paul Geremia, Christine Lavin, Crooked Still, and John Renbourn & Jacqui McShee. Call 508-999-5231 or visit newbedfordsummerfest.com.
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival: This is actually two festivals in one: a hip modern marathon, and the premier regional gathering of folk dancers. Featuring Ani DiFranco, Chris Smither, Dar Williams, Eddie From Ohio, Nightingale, Railroad Earth, Redbird, and Vance Gilbert, this festival takes place July 21-24, and will be held in Hillsdale, N.Y. Call 866-325-2744 or visit falconridgefolk.com.
Lowell Folk Festival: New England's friendliest ethnic block party is also the nation's largest free folk festival. This year's lineup features bluegrass, polka, Cajun, Greek, Mexican Calentana, blues, Afro-Cuban, and Celtic sounds. Headliners include Solas, Dale Ann Bradley, La Bottine Souriante, and Boston's venerable Roma Brass Band. The festival takes place July 29-31. Call 978-970-5000 or visit lowellfolkfestival.org.
American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront: Just as a residency by the National Folk Festival spawned the Lowell fest, this event, scheduled for Aug. 26-28, launches after a hugely successful Maine stay by the National, which ended last year. This is New England's last chance to catch Danu, the most rollicking, stage-owning live act in the Celtic realm, before the group retires from active touring. Other headliners include Del McCoury, Steve Riley, Le Vent du Nord, and the Bahamas Junkanoo Revue. Call 207-992-2630 or visit americanfolkfestival.com.