It might not have felt like it recently, but June 21 was the official first day of summer this year. With this fact apparent, what does summer spark in one’s mind when it gets brought up? …
It might not have felt like it recently, but June 21 was the official first day of summer this year. With this fact apparent, what does summer spark in one’s mind when it gets brought up? Obviously there’s the beach, the sun and perhaps even a cup of Del’s frozen lemonade, or one of the many varieties of Mr. Lemon if you live near Admiral Street in Providence. For music fans around these parts, it means that the height of the music festival season is about to get underway. It’s a time where each weekend always has something fun going on with some live music accompanying it in one way or another. To give you a brief summary of where to see some talented bands, musicians and performing artists this summer, here are four festivals happening around Rhode Island that you should check out.
One of a couple legendary festivals on this condensed list, the Newport Folk Festival has been hallowed ground for songwriters with the likes of Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, John Lee Hooker and Peter, Paul and Mary along with many others performing there since its first inception back in 1959. This year’s edition brings another stacked lineup to Fort Adams that includes Aimee Mann, Billy Strings, Jonathan Richman, Maggie Rogers, Lana Del Rey and Jason Isbell just to name a few. After each day of the festival, make sure to stick around “The City By The Sea” during the evening to catch the afterparties at the Newport Blues Cafe on 286 Thames Street, the Casino Theatre on 9 Freebody Street and the JPT Film & Event Center on 49 Touro Street.
The other legendary festival on this list is the Newport Jazz Festival, which takes place on the following weekend after the Folk Festival at the same location. The history of the festival is incredible, ranging from classic performers such as Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstong to modern genre-defying acts like Living Colour, Parliament Funkadelic and The Roots. It’s considered the “Granddaddy of American Music Festivals” with it’s origination starting in 1954 and this year’s lineup is chock full is amazing with Joe Russo’s Almost Dead with Kamasi Washington, Herbie Hancock, Jon Batiste, Thundercat, Diana Krall, Samara Joy and The Soul Rebels with Rakim & Talib Kweli taking part along with an abundance of others.
Labor Day Weekend is always a bit different in Rhode Island when the Rhythm & Roots Festival comes around. Along with a ton of great music, including a tent that has bands playing zydeco and cajun music all day and night, it’s also an ideal festival to bring the family to with tons of things available to keep the kids occupied. It’s another festival with a killer lineup this year with Greensky Bluegrass, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Robert Cray, Donna The Buffalo, Dustbowl Revival and The Infamous Stringdusters being a few of the performing acts.
Closing out the festival season around Rhode Island will be an updated and changed version of PVDFest. While it still will be free to the public, it’s shifting from being a block party all over downtown to being in a more centralized location around the area where the Michael S. Van Leesten Memorial Bridge is. Soul legend Mavis Staples will be one of the headliners this year and there’s bound to be a bunch of local bands and musicians taking part, make sure to keep tabs on the festival’s website as announcements pertaining to the lineup will be announced.