A  Selection of Summer Music Festivals

Now is the time of year to weigh the summer festival pros and cons – is it worth baking in the sun/drinking overpriced beer for the prospect of being able to see a bunch of cool bands, all conveniently located in one field/street/parking lot? You’ll want to do your due diligence to avoid ending up in a Fyre Festival-type situation, but if the bands are solid and you like the vibe, it’s probably a good move! Here’s our guide to the major music festivals in RI this summer.

PVD Fest

Now in its fourth year, PVD Fest is the mother of all festivals in the Capital city. Get out and celebrate the best art, music and food the city has to offer. If memory serves, I think you can also drink in the street! In terms of music, rock, jazz, hip-hop, world and everything in between is well-represented. This year features acts like Drums & Music of the Americas, Latin Grammy winner Buika and locals like The Funk Underground and Consuelo’s Revenge. Check out Motif’s in-depth coverage here: motifri.com/pvdfest-2018.

Jun 7 – 10, PVD

And now, the onslaught of folk festivals

Newport Folk

You probably know that NFF has become a behemoth over the last decade. It’s the hallowed ground where Dylan went electric, changing the landscape of music, and The Pixies went acoustic and caused much confusion. “Folk” acts as a very loose guideline, and the festival continues to have lineups more akin to an indie grab bag. This year will have acoustic stuff like Glen Hansard and The Wood Brothers, and decidedly more alt acts like St. Vincent and Courtney Barnett, as well as a set from the legendary Cheech and Chong. The artists are released on a rolling basis, so there are still more to come! There also are some sweet after-festival benefit shows.

Unless you have friends in high places, you’ll have to work some Craigslist magic for this one – all tickets have been sold out for quite a while. Jul 27 – 29, Fort Adams, Newport

quahogswebWarren Folk’s Festival

A low-key music festival is right at home in ever-hippifying Warren. At the third annual Folk’s Festival, you’ll hear music from Haunt the House, John Colvert and the Great Brighton Fire, and electrified bands The Low Cards and The Quahogs. There’s going to be art, beer and food from Eli’s and The Original Balascos Pizza & Bella Roast Beef.

Aug 5, Cutler Street, Warren

Providence Folk Festival

PFF is relaxed affair, and the type of event you might imagine when you think of an old-school folk festival. Chill out on a blanket at Roger Williams National Memorial, and take in the sounds of Dan Blakeslee, Bob Kendall, Brenda Bennett and the Wenches.

Aug 26, Roger Williams National Memorial, N. Main St, PVD

New Bedford Folk Festival

This is a two-day event put on by the Zeiterion Performing Arts Theater, a place worth a visit in itself. The headliners here include folk revival-era legend Tom Rush and contemporary favorite John Gorka. It also includes local songwriters Cheryl Wheeler and Mike Laureanno.

Jul 7 and 8, 684 Purchase St, New Bedford, Mass

India Point Blues and BBQ

When enjoying the soulful sounds of the blues, what else would you want to be snacking on than slow-roasted, finger-licking bbq? Rock out with a rib in hand to Roomful of Blues, Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson, and the Alexis P Sutter Band.

Jun 23 and 24, India Point Park, PVD

Mulligan’s Blues Fest

You may know Mulligan’s Island as the golf place right next to the DMV, but it’s also home to a respectable new blues festival. For their kick-off year, they’re boasting headliners Marcia Ball and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, among others at the two-day tune up. Not to be outdone by the above, there will be bbq and beer available!

Aug 18 and 19 at Mulligan’s Island, 1000 New London Ave, Cranston

Newport Jazz Festival

Like the Folk Fest’s way chiller cousin, the Jazz Fest provides an oasis for those who want to take in the sounds by the sea without the chaotic crowds. The festival has been hosting the best of the best in jazz since 1954. Much of the weekend will be dedicated to celebrating the 80th birthday of legend Charles  Lloyd. Three of Lloyd’s groups will perform, as well as funk god George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, R+R=Now featuring Robert Glasper and Terrace Martin, guitar pioneer Pat Methany, and Laurie Anderson & Christian McBride.

Aug 3 – 5, Fort Adams, Newport

Dusk – Revival Fest

2018 marks the fourth incarnation of Dusk’s explosive summer bash. It’s a decidedly different crowd than Newport Classical, but there’s no better way to spend America’s birthday than surrounded by abandoned factory buildings watching people shredding. The fest features two stages for your listening pleasure and food by Johnny’s BBQ + Puggles!

The list is long, but some notable bands include: Atlantic Thrills, Smith+Weeden, Tall Teenagers, Beta Motel, and Adapter Adapter

Jul 4, Dusk, 301 Harris Ave, PVD

AS220 Foo Fest

AS220’s signature throwdown was a cool festival before festivals were cool. Including art, food and an all-around great time. To me, AS220 still remains the cultural heart of Providence. Per usual, they’ve curated a diverse lineup that includes legendary underground pioneers Pete Ubu, Viennagram, and Boo City.

Aug 18, Empire St, PVD

And when Labor Day arrives, look forward to The Rhythm and Roots Festival in Charlestown and The Scurvy Dog’s Parking Lot Mega Show in PVD!

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