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Shutdown Could Impact Bookings at Lowell’s Boarding House Park

January 12, 2019
Signs at Lowell National Historical Park explain that facilities are closed due to the federal government shutdown. SUN/Julia Malakie Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

LOWELL -- The far-reaching effects of the shutdown of the federal government could impact this year’s Lowell Summer Music Series.

Because the popular series, which brings 15-20 national musical acts to the city’s Boarding House Park each summer, is run by the Lowell National Historical Park, organizers are federal employees and are thus out of work and unable to talk to artists’ agents.

Though the concerts don’t start until June, the planning starts in the fall, when organizers begin talking to artist representatives to find out who is touring the following summer and get a handle on possible routing schedules. That helps LSMS organizers compile a list of potential acts.

Then, usually in early January, the lineup begins to crystallize with the announcement of early-season shows.

Peter Aucella, assistant superintendent of Lowell National Historical Park, said via his personal email account that he can’t get into his office or use his government email until the shutdown ends.

“We have a bunch of offers out from November/December, but we’ll probably fall behind in January, which is a concern now that this shutdown is looking like it does not have an imminent end,” Aucella wrote. “If anything breaks and we can announce, I will let you know in advance.”

Of course, artists won’t wait for the government shutdown to end -- they will instead look for other venues.

Venues that want to book acts try to get them to agree to a first hold, second hold and third hold on potential dates. Then, as their touring schedule takes hold, they’ll fill in those dates in a way that makes the most sense from a routing perspective.

But if Lowell isn’t an option, artists have plenty of other options to choose from, including Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, Cape Cod Melody Tent, South Shore Music Circus and many others throughout New England all looking to book similar acts as to those who play Boarding House Park.

Most of those competing venues are starting to fill in their 2019 lineup while the LSMS is unable to book acts.

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