Lowell Celebrates Kerouac 2024 Fall Festival Oct. 10-14

Celebrating the 36th Annual LCK! Fall Festival

And partnering with ‘Poe in Lowell’ 2024

Pre- Festival Event on Thursday, October 3:

6:30pm Poe and Kerouac: Kindred Spirits 

With host, Stephan Anstey and ‘Poe in Lowell’ organizer, Meg Smith. Jack Kerouac’s and Edgar Allan Poe’s writings touched on many similar themes including love, loss, and life’s mysteries. Lowell Writers Group monthly poetry reading and open mic will feature readings of Kerouac’s and Poe’s works highlighting their spiritual and literary kinship. Open mic to follow. Get ready for the LCK! festival Oct. 10-13, and the Poe in Lowell Festival, Oct. 19-20, celebrating Poe’s three visits to Lowell.

lala books, 189 Market St., Lowell

Pre- Festival Event on Saturday, October 5:

9:00 am. Marathon Reading of Jack Kerouac’s Doctor Sax. Celebrate Jack Kerouac’s Dr. Sax with a marathon reading alongside our friends from Lowell Celebrates Kerouac. It’s a haunting semi-autobiographical novel about Jack’s adolescence in Lowell—and the strange figures who populate his fantasy world. Join us as we read the novel in its entirety over the course of the day. Those interested in reading can register below.

Sign up via this link: – Kerouac Reading 📚 Pollard Memorial Library (lowelllibrary.org)

Pollard Memorial Library Community Room. 401 Merrimack Street.

Pre- Festival Event on Saturday, October 5:

9:00 am – Noon –  LCK! & LLK Kerouac Park Cleanup

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! and Lowell Litter Krewe are joining forces to clean up Kerouac Park and get it ready for the upcoming festival! Cleanup tools, bags and gloves provided. Participants must sign a volunteer waiver, available at the cleanup. To learn more about Lowell Litter Krewe, visit lowelllitterkrewe.org.

Kerouac Park, 75 Bridge St., Lowell

Festival Events:

Thursday, October 10:

2:00 pm – 3:30pm. Dedication of the Roger Brunelle Collection. Following his passing, the family of Roger Brunelle donated has vast collection of documents—letters, news articles, photographs, tour notes, and much more, relating to the Kerouac presence in Lowell, the history of Lowell Celebrates Kerouac, etc.—to LCK. LCK has, in turn, catalogued the material and given it to the Center for Lowell History. To mark the occasion of having this valuable body of work available for Kerouac scholars, as well as anyone interested in learning more of the Kerouac Story in Lowell, there will be a formal recognition and dedication of the Roger Brunelle Collection at the O’Leary Library at the time shown here.

UMASS Lowell O’Leary Library. 61 Wilder Street..


5:00 pm. LCK Festival Opening Gathering at The Old Worthen. Worthen House Café.

141 Worthen Street.


5:30 pm. Jack at Night Walking Tour. Includes stops at the “Watermelon Man Bridge,” the Grotto, and the Archambault Funeral Home where Jack was waked. These sites are described in Doctor Sax. Led by Bill Walsh. Departs from, and returns to, The Worthen.


7:30 pm. Music and Poetry at The Worthen. Hosted by John McDermott. Features poets Meg Smith, Dan Bacon, and Jim Dunn. Music by Local Beatles Tribute act Glass Onion as well as Mike Dion of the ODB Project and George Koutmanzelis of Aeolian Kid.

Worthen House Café. 141 Market Street.

Friday, October 11:

9:30 am. Lowell High School Jack Kerouac Poetry Contest. Sponsored by LCK.

[This is an LHS event and not open to the public.]


11:00 am. Reality Alley Poetry Workshop. Led by Dan Bacon in “Reality Alley”—aka The Old Worthen Courtyard. 141 Worthen Street.


11am – 1:30 pm. Bus Tour: A Merrimack River Anthology—Kerouac’s Ghosts. Inspired by the structure and content of Edgar Lee Masters Spoon River Anthology, this inaugural LCK tour commemorates Lowell’s extensive Franco-American cultural history by sharing passages from Jack’s oeuvre while visiting the final resting places of many personages behind the Duluoz Legend. For over 130 years Cimetiere St. Joseph has interred Ti-Jean’s family members—including his first cousin, Herve—boyhood buddies, teachers, clergy, area political and business leaders, veterans, sports stars, fellow scribes, even the unheralded, enigmatic, infamous and tragic figures who comprise the polyphony of voices informing Kerouac’s work. Comfortable shoes recommended. Reservations suggested by calling 978-970-5000.

96 Riverneck Road in East Chelmsford.

A $10.00 Donation Requested.

Led by Kurt Phaneuf. Van departs from 141 Worthen Street.


2:00 pm. Talking Jack: An open conversation on Jack Kerouac, this year LCK’s Talking Jack will be led by Matt Theado.  Matt lives and teaches in Kobe, Japan, where he hosted a major Kerouac exhibition and symposium in the summer of 2021. He’ll kick off the conversation about Kerouac’s presence in Japan and how Japanese people respond to his work.
Theado is the author of Understanding Jack Kerouac (2000) and editor of The Beats: A Documentary Reference (2003). He currently serves as President of the Beat Studies Association and co-editor of the Journal of Beat Studies.

lala books, 189 Market St., Lowell


6:00 – 7:30 pm. Use Poetry. Panel of female poets: Poets Tanya Grae, Ariella Ruth, and Linda Bratcher Wlodyka will read their work and join poet and UMASS Lowell Associate Professor Maggie Dietz for a discussion of Jack Kerouac’s influence and legacy as a poet.

Doors open at 5:30 pm.

The Overlook at Mill No. 5. 250 Jackson Street, 5th Floor

A $20.00 cover charge is requested to support Lowell Celebrates Kerouac. The charge covers both Use Poetry & Toussaint the Liberator Band.


8:00 – 10:00 pm. Toussaint the Liberator. The rhythms of the African diaspora and socially conscious songwriting inform and infuse the musical stylings of Toussaint the Liberator and his band. Toussaint the Liberator Band – PRESS KIT (toussaintheliberator.com)

The Overlook at Mill No. 5. 250 Jackson Street, 5th Floor

A $20.00 cover charge is requested to support Lowell Celebrates Kerouac. The covers both Use Poetry & Toussaint the Liberator Band.

Saturday, October 12:

9:00 am. Commemorative at the Commemorative. An LCK Annual Gathering. We take time to honor the lives those in the Kerouac World, either in Lowell or beyond, who have recently passed away. This year we remember LCK Board member Tom Mansour and poet John Sinclair.

Tom was an active and enthusiastic member of the LCK Board, and sadly passed away in June of this year, 2024. We will remember and celebrate his contributions to Lowell Celebrates Kerouac.

Acclaimed poet and counter-cultural activist, John Sinclair, has been a part of many of our LCK gatherings over the years—always an exciting presence! He passed away this past April at age 83. We’ll recount some of his amazing story, knowing we’ll miss him being with us this year.

Corner of Bridge and French Streets.


10:00 am. Bus Tour of the Kerouac Sites of Lowell. Led by Bill Walsh. Includes stops at Kerouac’s birthplace, some of the neighborhoods he describes in his Lowell novels, and the gravesite at the Edson Cemetery. Departs from the Commemorative. The approximate time of the tour is two hours. Reservations suggested by calling 978-970-5000.

A $10.00 donation is requested to cover bus costs.


10:00 am. Walking Tour of Downtown Kerouac Sites. Led by Kurt Phaneuf. The walk takes in some of the downtown places in Lowell described in the Lowell novels. Departs from the Commemorative.

Donations gratefully accepted.


11:00 am. Lowell Celebrates Kerouac: Book Presentation

Portraits Along the Way by Paul Marion

Saturday October 12, 11:00-12:00

Pollard Library, Ground Floor Community / Meeting Room, 401 Merrimack St., Lowell, MA


Local author Paul Marion will discuss his new book Portraits Along the Way, a collection of short and long profiles of memorable people whom he met or otherwise encountered since the 1970s, including Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Johnny Depp, Gary Snyder, and Jack Kerouac, whose early writings he edited in the collection Atop an Underwood.


Paul is a Lowell native who spent decades working towards the revitalization of the city. His many accomplishments include founding Loom Press and co-founding the Lowell Folk Festival and Lowell Heritage Partnership. His writing includes the books Mill Power: The Origin and Impact of Lowell National Historical Park, and Lockdown Letters & Other Poems. Pollard Memorial Library Community Room. 401 Merrimack Street.


12:00 pm Lowell Reads Kerouac discussion: Pic
Saturday October 12, 12:00-1:00

Pollard Library, Ground Floor Community / Meeting Room, 401 Merrimack St., Lowell, MA


Lowell Reads is an annual celebration spearheaded by the Pollard Library surrounding the questions, themes, and ideas of one particular book. This year, we’ll also be reading a book by Jack Kerouac, as part of the of the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival.


Pic is Jack Kerouac’s only published work that does not include a fictionalized version of himself as narrator. It is told through the eyes of a ten-year-old Black boy named Pictorial Review “Pic” Jackson, who lives with his grandfather in North Carolina in the 1940s. After his grandfather dies, Pic’s older brother Slim comes to get him, and they journey to New York City and later California. The story is told in the Black dialect indigenous to the North Carolina farm country during that era.


Please read the book ahead of time and join us for an informal discussion. Copies will be available for patrons of the Pollard Library to borrow. Register: Kerouac Reading 📚 Pollard Memorial Library (lowelllibrary.org)


Pollard Memorial Library Community Room. 401 Merrimack Street.


1:00 pm. Library Haunts and Hookey Tour. Led by Bill Walsh. The tour centers on the Pollard Library’s Kerouac Corner, noting the times Jack played hooky from Lowell High School in order to read books of his choosing.

Pollard Library. 401 Merrimack Street.

Donations gratefully accepted.


2:00 pm. Annual LCK Parker Lecture by Charles Shuttleworth. Jack Kerouac’s Buddhist Years Charles Shuttleworth is a teacher at the Harker School of San Jose, California. A noted Kerouac scholar, he edited a collection of Jack Kerouac’s journal writings from Desolation Peak. His presentation for this year’s Parker Lecture draws on Kerouac’s  previously unpublished writings on Buddhism. Jack Kerouac, The Buddhist Years, is due for release on October 8th.

Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center Theater. 246 Market Street.


3:30 pm. Charles Shuttleworth Book Signing. Following his Parker Lecture presentation Charles will be available to sign copies of Jack Kerouac—The Buddhist Years at Lala Books, directly across Market Street from the LNHP Visitors Center.

Lala books, 189 Market St., Lowell.


4:00 pm. Open Mic. Upstairs at The Worthen. Hosted by Cliff Whalen. Emceed by Dan Bacon.

141 Worthen Street.


7:00 (Doors open). An Evening of Jazz at Zorba’s. Legendary jazz man and Kerouac collaborator, David Amram and his jazz band headline the evening with a full band performance at 7:30, followed by Lowell’s own The Party Band at 9:00 pm.

The Amram Jazz Band includes multi-instrumentalist & composer, David Amram, Kevin Twigg on drums, Rene Hart on bass, Jerome Harris on guitar and Adam Amram on percussion.  The Party Band is a 10+ piece jazz street band inspired by NOLA parade bands and the historic roots of jazz.  Led by drummer Savannah Marshall, who first performed with David Amram at LCK while a music student at UML.  Now with three Party Band albums, many years and countless shows behind them, Savannah is very excited to present her band for David Amram.  Expect a very special evening of fantastic music!

Olympia’s Zorba’s Music Hall. 437 Market Street.

A $20.00 cover charge is requested to support Lowell Celebrates Kerouac.

Sunday, October 13:

10:00 am. Mystic Jack Tour. Led by Bill Walsh and Suzanne Beebe. A walking tour of the sites described in Visions of Gerard. Begins at the site of the former St. Louis de France Church.

241 West 6th Street.

Donations gratefully accepted.


1:30 pm. Annual Amram Jam. Signups begin at 1:00 pm. Bring your Kerouac inspired poem or prose to read while accompanied by David Amram, Adam Amram, Kevin Twigg, Jerome Harris and Rene Hart. Emceed by Wireless Mike Flynn.

The Old Worthen—downstairs. 141 Worthen Street.


5:00 pm. Ghosts of the Pawtucketville Night Tour. Led by Bill Walsh and Kurt Phaneuf.

Visit some of the sites as described in Kerouac’s Doctor Sax. Walk from The Worthen, or meet at Cumnock Hall, UML North Campus, 1 University Avenue.

Donations gratefully accepted.



Monday, October 14:

10:00 am. Kerouac’s Nashua Connection Tour. Led by Steve Edington. A van tour to the Kerouac Sites of Nashua, New Hampshire as primarily described in Visions of Gerard, Doctor Sax, and Vanity of Duluoz. Concludes at the St. Louis de Gonzague Cemetery and the burial sites of Leo and Gabrielle Kerouac, Gerard Kerouac, and Jan Kerouac. Returns to Lowell at approximately 1:30 pm.  Reservations suggested by calling 978-970-5000.

Departs from the Lowell National Historical Park Visitors Center. 246 Market Street.

Donations gratefully accepted.


10:00 am. LCK Loop Tour. Led by Bill Walsh. Begins at the Commemorative, touches on a number of Lowell’s Kerouac Places, and ends at The Worthen for a Wrap Party.


2:00 pm. (Approximately). Wrap Party at The Worthen. Give a farewell toast to Jack and have a safe journey home!


Post- Festival Events on Thursday, October 18-20: The Poe in Lowell Festival, Oct. 19-20, celebrating Poe’s three visits to Lowell. Edgar Allan Poe visited Lowell three times, in journeys of history and mystery. Celebrate Poe’s legacy with readings of Poe’s works, art exhibits, dance, and more.

poeinlowell | Instagram, Facebook | Linktree


October 21. Jack Kerouac Memorial Walk. To mark the passing of Jack Kerouac on October 21, 1969 in St. Petersburg, Florida LCK holds a Memorial Walk in his memory. We begin at the Grotto on Pawtucket Street, walk past the site of the former Archambault Funeral Home where Jack was waked, down Merrimack Street past the former St. Jean Baptiste Church where his Funeral Mass was held, and on to The Old Worthen for a toast in him memory.

Walk begins at 6:30 pm.


For updates check the LCK website at www.lowellcelebrateskerouac.org