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Festival season is almost upon us, and Massachusetts is home to an astounding number of music festivals, from the eccentric and hyper-local to the sprawling and world-renowned. Below is a list of nine excellent choices. It contains an alarming number of accordions.
June 14: Squeezebox Slam, Davis Square, Somerville
For those unfamiliar with the term, a “squeezebox” probably isn’t what you think. Local accordionists (or any players of “free-standing reed instruments”) of all levels are invited to partake in a free-ranging stroll around Somerville, culminating at Sevens Hill Park in Davis Square, where a concert of local accordionists will be kicked off by Lady Kielbasia, Somerville’s own Accordion-Playing Drag Lunch Lady.
June 20 to 22: Paulie’s New Orleans Jazz & Blues Festival, Worcester
The three-day Worcester festival brings in some of the biggest names in New Orleans music, from the legendary Buckwheat Zydeco, to funk icon George Porter Jr., to the propulsive, scruffy blues of Glen David Andrews.
July 12 and 13: Green River Festival, Greenfield
The Green River Festival casts a wide net to bring together some of the country’s preeminent folk, roots, and pop acts. This year’s festival is headlined by Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band and New Orleans’ Trombone Shorty. For anyone who missed their chance to buy Newport Folk Festival tickets before it sold out, the Green River Festival is a nice alternative, with a number of overlapping artists, including indie-pop outfit Lucius, old-time country group Hurray for the Riff Raff, and Puss n Boots, Norah Jones’ new rockabilly band with Sasha Dobson and Catherine Popper.
July 17 to 20: Yidstock, Amherst
The festival of new Yiddish music brings together the best in American klezmer and Yiddish music, from traditional to contemporary to radical fusion (including, in the video above, the Klezmatics).
July 25 to 27: Lowell Folk Festival, Lowell
Unlike many mainstream folk festivals, The Lowell Folk Festival focuses primarily on traditional music. The event features everything from Cajun music to Japanese taiko drumming to big band polkas. (The lineup includes Marquise Knox, in the video above.)
July 26 and 27: Boston Summer Arts Weekend, Copley Square, Boston
The Boston Summer Arts Weekend is free and open to the public, with diverse musical programming across classical, jazz, and roots genres. Standouts include Cuban jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and New Orleans brass band Soul Rebels.
August 2: Boston Fuzzstival, Cambridge
Illegally Blind Productions presents the second annual Fuzzstival, a psych/garage/surf rock day fest featuring 15 (mostly) local bands at the Middle East in Central Square. You can preview all the bands, including Atlantic Thrills (in the video above), here.
September 5 to 7: Boston Calling, Boston City Hall Plaza
The wildly popular rock festival returns Labor Day weekend with headliners Nas and the Roots, The National, Lorde, Neutral Milk Hotel, Childish Gambino, and The Replacements.
Sept. 6: Jamaica Plain Music Festival, Boston
Jamaica Plain shows off the incredible diversity and excellence of Boston-area music, with everything from instrumental funk fusion to indie rock to soul. (For example, Bethel A.M.E. Praise & Worship Team pictured at top in a photo by Tony Sahadeo performing at a previous year's festival.) Artists can still apply.
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