Jack Kerouac Centennial Celebration Will Include Music And Arts Festival

[Cover photo credit to Tom Palumbo]

The Jack Kerouac Estate has announced plans to celebrate the centennial birthday anniversary of novelist, writer, poet and artist Jack Keroac (1922-1969) starting in his birth month of March 2022 and continuing throughout the year in his hometown of Lowell, MA.

The estate has partnered with The Kerouac @ 100 Committee, which consists of The Kerouac Center at UMass Lowell, Lowell Celebrates Kerouac, Lowell National Historical Park, Lowell Office of Cultural Affairs, the Pollard Memorial Library, Lowell’s Franco-American Day Committee, and Québec Delégation of Boston to organize the upcoming festivities.  

Born on March 12, 1922, Kerouac was a pioneer of the “Beat Generation”, publishing 14 novels, including the generation-defining literary classic On The Road (1957). Of course, Kerouac’s work has also been credited as a major influence for many musicians, poets, filmmakers and visual artists including, but not limited to:

Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Tom Waits, Eddie Vedder, The Grateful Dead, The Doors, Ben Gibbard, Weezer, Jawbreaker, The Wonder Years, Billy Corgan, The Hold Steady, Katy Perry, Michael Stipe, Steven Tyler, Joe Strummer, Jeff Buckley, Morphine, Alanis Morrissette, Paul Simon, 10,000 Maniacs, Blue Oyster Cult, Van Morrison, Belle and Sebastian, Our Lady Peace, Fences, Hiss Golden Messenger, Lana Del Ray, Ethan Hawke, Francis Ford Coppola,George Condo,Hunter S. Thompson, Thomas Pynchon, Richard Brautigan, Jim Carroll, George Saunders, Alison Bechdel.

During the centennial celebration a special exhibit “Visions of Kerouac” will take place at Lowell National Historical Park–Boott Cotton Mills Gallery which will include the return of the original On The Road scroll on loan from Jim Irsay’s collection of historic and iconic artifacts from rock music, American history and pop culture, The Jim Irsay Collection.

Kerouac @ 100 will be unveiling a collection of curated tributes to Lowell’s native son in readings, exhibits, and concerts—all unfolding across 2022.

Additional events and happenings are set to take place surrounding the centennial include:

  • The Jack Kerouac Foundation has just been created to establish a Jack Kerouac Museum and performance venue in Lowell, MA. More to be announced soon.
  • Famous quotes from Kerouac’s works will be made into banners and hung on every light pole in downtown City of Lowell, MA.
  • Various panels, readings, art, talks, exhibits, film screenings, musical performances, and student/school collaborations will take place throughout Lowell in March 2022. Details coming early 2022.
  • The Town And The City Festival–produced by Chris Porter–is a two-day music and arts festival that will take place in various event spaces, bars, cafes and galleries throughout downtown Lowell, MA on April 8 & 9. The festival is named after KEROUAC’s earliest novel which was primarily set in this historic mill city.
  • DIY Lowell, a grassroots community organization, will install pop-up multilingual poetry signs to create a trail past historic Kerouac sites, including an installation at Kerouac Park. A volunteer team will begin planning this at their annual summit open to the public on November 18, the installation is anticipated in mid-spring 2022.
  • Unreleased works of KEROUAC as well as works from various authors inspired by KEROUAC are set to be published via Sal Paradise Media – a content development arm of THE JACK KEROUAC ESTATE formed by music & film director Jim Sampas (literary executor for The Jack Kerouac Estate) and music industry veteran Sylvia Cunha (Marketing & Development for The Jack Kerouac Estate).
  • “Kerouac and Me” podcast set to air in 2022 which will see stars of music, film, TV, literature, politics, sports and business share stories of how their work was inspired by Kerouac. The podcast will be hosted by Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos) and was created by Jim Sampas in partnership with Sylvia Cunha for Sal Paradise Media and New York Times bestselling authors Dave Wedge and Casey Sherman for Fort Point Media