Your Summer Guide to the Merrimack Valley
Expect a surge of people exploring the Valley, eager to enjoy summer and recover from the stresses of life during the pandemic, but be prepared for last-minute changes. Always call or visit the webpages of the following organizations to make sure you have the most up-to-date information.
It would be impossible to put together a complete list of all the great things happening in the Merrimack Valley during the warm months — a number of local event organizers were still developing plans for the 2021 summer season at the time of publication. The best way to keep track of everything noteworthy going on in the Merrimack Valley is to follow Merrimack Valley Magazine on social media, click here and subscribe to our free, weekly art and entertainment newsletter, Eight Great Things To Do This Weekend.
ART, MUSIC, CULTURE
Learning to Look: The Addison at 90
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover
Through Dec. 31
Filling the Addison’s first floor galleries, “Learning to Look: The Addison at 90” features celebrated favorites, lesser-known gems, and new acquisitions that bring to life the Addison’s storied history and ongoing commitment to groundbreaking artists. With an installation that allows objects to speak across time and media, this exhibition includes masterworks by artists such as Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Donald Judd, Agnes Martin, McArthur Binion, Carrie Mae Weems and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith.
Lowell Summer Music Series
Boarding House Park, Lowell
Nationally known artists such as Tower of Power, Richard Thompson, Rhiannon Giddens, Ani DiFranco and Los Lobos perform at Lowell National Historical Park’s Boarding House Park throughout the summer.
New Hampshire Music Festival
Various locations, N.H.
Through July 31
Enjoy a collection of concerts focused on the Granite State’s cultural richness and diversity. Chamber music and family concerts abound both indoors and out. Patrons will again have the chance to enjoy the festival’s “From the Heart” livestream performances from their own homes or attend these chamber concerts in person.
Newburyport Chamber Garden Concert and Lecture Series
Through Aug. 15
A series of intimate chamber music concerts, lectures, open rehearsals and family programs in and around the city of Newburyport.
Prescott Park Arts Festival
Prescott Park, Portsmouth, N.H.
Visitors can enjoy food, music, films, children’s entertainment and theater at Prescott Park, which overlooks the scenic Piscataqua River in downtown Portsmouth.
Old Crow Medicine Show
Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, Hampton, N.H.
Known for their high-energy, punk-tinged take on bluegrass and folk, OCMS is much more than “Wagon Wheel” — their catchy song made famous by Darius Rucker and in pre-pandemic karaoke bars across the nation. If this show sells out, and it probably will, head over to the Casino Ballroom website to see what else lies ahead this summer: Buddy Guy, Aaron Lewis, George Thorogood, Joss Stone, and more are on the calendar.
Buster Keaton Films With Live Music
The Rex Theatre, Manchester, N.H.
Relive the golden age of silent film at the Rex. “Sherlock Jr.” and “Our Hospitality” star one of the greatest Hollywood comic actors of all time, Buster Keaton. Live music is provided by Jeff Rapsis, a New Hampshire-based musician and composer who specializes in creating live music for silent film screenings. Over the past 15 years, he has accompanied more than 1,000 screenings in New England, around the nation, and in Europe.
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes
Blue Ocean Music Hall, Salisbury
The Jukes have more than 30 albums on their resume, thousands of acclaimed live performances across the globe and a vibrant legacy of classic songs that have become “hits” to their large and dedicated fan base. Last year, the Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes released the acclaimed “SOULTIME!,” their first new studio recording of all original material in five years. The record celebrates the transformative power of ’70s soul music and represents a return to — as Southside sings — “just letting the music take us away.”
Methuen Memorial Music Hall
Streamed live on MMMH’s YouTube channel, the show features works by Sowerby, Price, Hampton, Shearing and Wilson, performed by Nicole Keller. Keller is a solo and chamber music recitalist, adjudicator and clinician on the organ and harpsichord. She specializes in eclectic programs suited to instrument and audience with a desire to expand the listener’s horizons, pairing familiar sounds and genres with less familiar ones. She has concertized in the United States and abroad in venues such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, Notre Dame in Paris and The Kazakh National University for the Arts in Kazakhstan.
Firehouse Center for the Arts, Newburyport
The Firehouse presents “Godspell,” live at Smolak Farms, in which a small group of people help Jesus Christ tell different parables by using a wide variety of games and storytelling techniques. An eclectic blend of songs, ranging in style from pop to vaudeville is employed as the story of Jesus’ life dances across the stage. Dissolving hauntingly into the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, Jesus’ messages of kindness, tolerance and love come vibrantly to life.
Maudslay Arts Center Summer Concert Series
Maudslay State Park, Newburyport
Whether you’re sitting under the stars on a moonlit evening or lounging on a blanket on a Sunday afternoon, the Maudslay Arts Center Summer Concert Series provides the perfect setting for your entertainment pleasure. Concertgoers are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner and their own chairs. Performers this year include New Black Eagle Jazz Band, Amanda Carr and Donna Byrne.
Theater in the Open
Maudslay State Park, Newburyport
Due to ongoing efforts to current pandemic guidelines, Theater in the Open is reimagining its 2021 season to allow for smaller groups to gather to see live performances. They will open this season slightly later than usual, but as of press time, opening day yet to be announced. Visit their website for more info.
FEASTS & FESTIVALS
Summer Fun 2021
Through Sept. 10
Enjoy outdoor concerts, fireworks, live theater, children’s entertainment and the annual Fairy Tale Festival.
July 30 – Aug. 8
Since 1958, this old-fashioned festival has offered a chance to reminisce about times past. At the time of publication, organizers were still unsure what this year’s celebration will be like. Past year’s activities included a brewfest, fireworks, art exhibitions and more.
Haverhill Restaurant Week
The Greater Haverhill Chamber hosts its annual Haverhill Restaurant Week. Past participants have included Barking Dog Ale House, Peddler’s Daughter, The Hidden Pig and many more. To find the latest information on this year’s event, visit their webpage or follow the Destination Downtown Haverhill page on Facebook.
Feast of the Three Saints
Common Street, Lawrence
Don’t miss this lively Italian street festival in honor of Sts. Alfio, Filadelfo and Cirino. Events include free concerts, a torchlight parade and a procession of the saints.
The Bread & Roses Heritage Festival
Campagnone Common, Lawrence
While plans for this festival are still in the works, if it happens in 2021, this free, family-friendly event will feature live music, dance performances, drama and poetry. The Bread & Roses festival presents an opportunity to learn about the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike and to celebrate Lawrence’s diversity.