PVD Fest Returns for the Third Year

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PVD Fest is taking over Providence for the third time this year from June 1 through June 4. Produced by the City, the Providence Department of Art, Culture and Tourism, and FirstWorks, this event highlights RI’s homegrown creative talents and draws performers from all over the world to entertain fest-goers. Kathleen Pletcher, founder and executive artistic director of FirstWorks says of this year’s fest that “Mayor Elorza’s vision, commitment and understanding of what PVDFest means to the city and state as an arts strategy has led to an exciting four full days of arts and ideas.”

Pletcher describes some anticipated highlights for the weekend, which includes turning large parts of the DownCity into European-style pedestrian zones: “The powerhouse programming from noon to midnight on Saturday, June 3 is now book-ended by the Thursday, June 1 ‘Making a Lively Experiment’ Questions Conference and a Community Table Dinner in the heart of Kennedy Plaza, and a dance party at the SteelYard. Friday, June 2 presents an evening salsa music concert in the rink from Providence’s own Salsa y Gaita and Miami’s PALO! – and on the final day, June 4, is an incredible Festival Finale at the Parade Grounds of the Cranston Street Armory featuring a concert, visual art, and a pop-up musical event with over 100 musicians. There’s also wonderful programming for families and youngsters on Saturday.”

PVD Fest has something for every interest, from foodies to kids to art and music enthusiasts to people who love listening to poetry spoken from the sky. We asked Pletcher what she’s most looking forward to this year. “#PVDPublicCanvas is a project two years in the making that brings the stunning vertical dance company BANDALOOP back to Providence to headline PVDFest on Friday and Saturday evenings (see opposite page). It is a heart-stopping moment when you see a 12[26]-story high-rise building turned into a dance floor, and this year’s performance involves a unique collaboration with Providence spoken word artist Christopher Johnson.”

With the seemingly endless opportunities to enjoy art installations and musical performances, fest attendees will likely find it difficult to narrow down their options. So for you, our readers, we leveraged Pletcher’s expertise. She named a few can’t-miss events. “While the five stages in Kennedy Plaza and the new Providence Cultural Equity Initiative Global Food Village in Biltmore Park are the beating heart of PVDFest, there are amazing artists to be found as you stroll through downtown.  Make sure your festival experience includes the Moon Market at the Dean Hotel featuring over 30 RI makers, the talents on the Coastway Community Stage and amazing line-ups from AS220. A few gems are Gather Glass glassblowing, Kalifa and Koliba West African Music, and the talents of young rising stars throughout the Festival.”

And for the littlest creatives in the Creative Capital, “Burnside Park is an oasis for kids thanks to Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy’s line-up of puppetry, storytelling and family-friendly performances.”

When PVD Fest rolls around this year, certainly consider this expert advice, but just as important is exploration. Wandering the city with no agenda and your mind open to discovery might enable you to learn something new about yourself and the vibrant state you call home.

For more information about PVD Fest, visit pvdfest.com

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