Harvard Square Arts Festival. This weekend is the first of three during which Harvard Square will reportedly explode in song, dance, and a kaleidoscope of arts and crafts. Actually, last year's festival did bring good music out into the streets, often the side streets where unknown local musicians offered some fine performances. A jazz parade will end in a concert on the Charles, Friday, May 10 at 6:30 p.m. Other events in folk, rock, classical, and just about every other kind of music are planned for Saturday, May 22 and Sunday, May 12. See Miscellany and call 876-2111 for more information.
Bonnie Raitt and Bruce Springsteen. One Crimson reviewer thinks Springsteen's the answer to rock's current doldrums. Another says he's over-rated. Springsteen will be Bonnie Raitted tonight. (I thought twice before writing that.) Now that Raitt's moved to California, it becomes more imperative to catch her superb performances when you can. Tonight at the Harvard Square Theater. 7 and 10 p.m., $4.
Fairport Convention with Sandy Denny. Fairport Convention has been one of England's finest folk-rock groups. A few of its members split to help form the excellent folk group, Steeleye Span. I can't testify to what the group sounds like in its present incarnation, but the return of lead singer Sandy Denny means the group will have a solid and lovely voice up front. Her best-known original song is "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?" Rocker Brock Walsh plays second bill. Friday, May 10 at Sanders Theater, 8:30 p.m., $3.50.
Folk Notes. The Boston Area Friends of Bluegrass present a marathon of local bluegrass bands Sunday, May 12 at the First Congregational Church on Garden St., 2-8 p.m., $3.
New England Conservatory. The conservatory's jazz ensemble plays a program of Ellington tunes Friday, May 10, at Jordan Hall, 8:30 p.m., $2. The ragtime ensemble will feature some Scott Joplin rags at its concert Sunday, May 12 at Jordan Hall. Call 536-2412 for information.
Music Notes. After my near-hyperbolical rave over the Boys of the Logh several weeks ago, it only seems fair to mention that the company that pressed their records in England went out of business. Rounder, a local label, is expected to release a new record of theirs within a month. To give another indication of their unexcelled folk musicianship: At their last concert in Cambridge, the group's reed-man played two penny-whistles at once.