2023 Rhode Island Summer Fests

Dusk Summerfest

Fourth of July and Dusk go hand and hand. The newly rebranded Dusk Summerfest hits PVD on Saturday, July 1 with 14 bands playing both inside and outside stages. 


“Since we helped adopt Liberty Fest after the original location was nixed by the city, we kept an already popular niche event and expanded it to include a larger variety of bands, food and beverage options, and [made it] a more family-friendly event,” says venue manager Danielle Tellier of Summerfest’s growth.

The $10 show is all-ages and 21+ to drink. The line-up is booked and will be announced soon. Follow dusk_providence on IG for more info.

Bobby Forand

Your Summer Guide to Classical Music 2023

Summer in New England offers many opportunities to see classical music – in recital halls, churches, and open outdoor spaces. For classical music lovers, there are some great events to look forward to over the next few months. Here’s what’s coming up for the summer of 2023: 

The 2023 Music On The Hill festival presents seven concerts of chamber music between May 29 and June 10 at various locations throughout the state, mostly Cranston and East Greenwich. For more information:

The Chorus of Westerly presents its free summer pops concert on Saturday, June 24 in Wilcox Park at 8pm. This family-friendly concert is always a good time. For more information:

The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra kicks off its summer pops concerts at Narragansett Town Beach on July 14. Subsequent performances take place on August 2 at Roger Williams Park in Providence, and September 9 in Slater Park in Pawtucket. For more information visit 

The Newport Music Festival presents multiple concerts of chamber music July 4 – 23. The wide variety in programming promises to keep any music fan coming back for more, not to mention the unique setting of chamber music in and around Newport’s historic mansions. For more information visit

The Kingston Chamber Music Festival, in partnership with the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, presents a series of seven concerts July 26 through Aug 6 at the University of Rhode Island. For more information visit

Further north, the Monadnock Music Festival generally runs mid-June through mid-August and offers unique chamber music performances by some of the area’s finest musicians. For anyone vacationing in New Hampshire, this festival is a wonderful addition to your itinerary. For more information visit

To the east, the Cape Symphony presents “Star Wars: A New Hope” in concert on July 29 & 30 in Hyannis, MA. For more information visit:

To the south, The Talcott Mountain Music Festival featuring the Hartford Symphony Orchestra performs outdoor weekend concerts June 30 – Aug 8. For more information:

For die-hard classical music fans, Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, MA remains the epicenter of classical music in New England over the summer months. The season features regular concerts by the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops orchestras, the Festival of Contemporary Music, as well as various pop and jazz artists. For more information, see the schedule at

Motif Staff

St. Mary’s Fest

Every July, where Phenix Ave meets Park Ave, Cranston lights up for St. Mary’s Feast. Put on by the St. Mary’s Feast Society, this multi-day, all-ages, family-friendly event takes place July 18 – 23 and offers festival goers a plethora of activities. There are games, rides, music, beverages, and even a footrace (taking place the Sunday before!), all of which ensure this feast has a little bit of something for everyone. For longtime Cranston residents, the carnival atmosphere brings about a sense of nostalgia from attending the feast as a kid. It’s been going on for over 100 years (118, if you’re into counting), so all ages can cherish memories of feasts past. 

The festival concludes with a fireworks finale on Sunday night to cap off an entertaining weekend.

St. Mary’s Feast is from July 18 – 23. Main entrance is 15 Phenix Ave in Cranston, but street parking is available. Call 401-944-0004 for more information.

Bobby Forand


A staple of RI summers, WaterFire presents a series of lightings in downtown PVD along the Providence and Woonasquatucket Rivers. The lightings stretch from April 1 all the way to November 4, so there is always a time to see them. Each lighting is sponsored by a different local organization, such as the RI Department of Education, the Providence Tourism Council, PVDFest, and FirstWorks. The sponsorships of each lighting add to the charm of WaterFire: Not only are the lightings a great way to bring people together, they’re also great events to support and uplift the local community. 

WaterFire also has a capacious art gallery on Valley St, in PVD, and they always have rotating gallery exhibitions alongside long-running exhibitions and displays. From June 1 to July 9, WaterFire Arts Center holds the exhibition If These Walls Could Talk, a group exhibition by six different local artists from WaterFire’s Accelerate Artist Cohort. The exhibition is storytelling-based and “invites viewers to embark on a journey through the artist’s imagination” by exploring “the power of visual narratives.” From July 13 to August 20, the Arts Center will present concurrent exhibitions created by two local curators: one is titled Poesis: Street Culture & The Art of the City, and the other Remedy

For more information on their events and lightings, check out

Maddie Jarvis

Newport Folk Fest

One of RI’s most eagerly anticipated events each summer is Newport Folk Fest, an eclectic mix of indie and folk bands from the past, present, and future. Folk Fest takes place every year at Fort Adams, a historic military fort that was deeded to RI in 1965, but had served its militaristic purpose since 1857. The location offers a unique experience – not only are you experiencing the festival’s greatness on one of RI’s most historic sites, you can experience it by land and by sea. If you were lucky enough to grab tickets before they all sold out, you can traverse the grounds and explore all that Folk Fest has to offer. Or, if you’re lucky enough to know someone in the area with a boat, you and your friends can experience the event (sans-tickets!) from the beauty of RI’s open ocean and bay. 

This year features a selection of artists: Lana del Rey, Orville Peck, Caamp, Maggie Rogers, Noah Kahan, John Oates, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, and more. As it goes every year, tickets for Folk Fest sold out within a couple days of this year’s launch, well before line-ups were announced. However, there are waitlists you can join for tickets. You have the option of joining the waitlist for single-day passes, two-day passes, or full weekend passes. More often than not, people do get contacted for waitlist tickets, so it never hurts to try! 

For more information on updated set lists and times, head over to

Maddie Jarvis

Narragansett Art Festival

During the weekend of June 24 and 25, the Wakefield Rotary Club celebrates their 40th annual Narragansett Art Festival. Located at Veterans’ Park in Narragansett, the event has two locations: the traditional area by the Towers, and on the Gazebo Field. The event will host over 30 different artists from all over Rhode Island and from all mediums. Pieces on display will include oils and acrylics, watercolors and pastels, drawings and graphics, photography, sculpture, decorative pieces, jewelry and other 3-dimensional media. 

The festival requires all artwork be original work, which creates a unique experience for festival goers. There will also be multiple food vendors and bathroom amenities onsite, so attendees can spend the day getting lost in artwork. As a lovely place to stroll and explore, it’s the perfect place to bring a date while simultaneously supporting the local art community. Gates are open from 9am to 6pm and parking is available on side streets. Plus, walking around the event is entirely free. For more information, check out the website or their Facebook page: Narragansett Art Festival.

Trevor May

Trinity Church Strawberry Festival

On Saturday, June 17, Trinity Church in Newport hosts their annual Strawberry Festival. The festival celebrates all things strawberry, with food and local artisans and crafters displaying their wares on the lawn of Trinity Church on Queen Anne Square. There will be live music provided by singer-songwriters from the RI-based music community Rising. Confirmed artists include Daniel James Durand, Dave Riccitelli, Papa Angelo & Mark Markrush, Ed Dean, Ronnee Stolzberg, Joy Williams, Brian St. Laurent, Brian Ellsworth, and the up and coming band The Village. The other festival highlight is the homemade strawberry shortcake, which is made with freshly picked sweet strawberries and mounds of real whipped cream… simply “Heavenly!” (we wonder if they’ve shared recipes with Wickford, below) The church will also provide tours of their historic building, which both George Washington and Queen Elizabeth have visited. The event starts at 11am, rain or shine, and ends at 5pm. Admission is free.

Trevor May

Wickford Art Festival

During the weekend of July 8 and 9, the Wickford Art Association celebrates the 60th annual Wickford Art Festival. Located at Wilson Park in North Kingstown, the event hosts over 200 local artists displaying their crafts. The festival showcases fine art in a variety of media including: ceramics, wood, wearable and decorative fiber, furniture, fine jewelry, drawing, etching, glass, mixed media, painting (watercolors, oil, gouache, acrylic), photography, printmaking, pyrography, and sculptures. 

Wilson Park is just a ¼ mile walk from Historic Wickford and is set on Narragansett Bay. In addition to many other food from a variety of vendors, strawberry shortcakes will be sold on the lawn of First Baptist Church on Main Street. The Wickford Art Association information booth can provide you with a festival map, the ability to purchase one-of-a-kind festival apparel, and a chance to enter to win a piece of art while supporting the scholarship raffle. 

Gates are open from 10am – 5pm and parking is available at Wilson Park and at Wickford Middle School. A complimentary shuttle will run from Wickford Middle School to Wilson Park. Parking is also available at the town’s public lots and permitted street parking on West Main Street, Main Street, and Brown Street. Admission and parking are both free.

Trevor May

Looff Arts Festival

On Saturday, August 12, the East Providence Arts Council hosts their annual East Providence Arts Festival, known as The Looff at Crescent Park in Riverside. A “loof” is defined by the council as “a whirlwind of art, music and life.” The event lives up to that definition from noon – 6pm and features fine art pieces made by local artists. Last year, the event hosted over 100 vendors and event organizers hope this year’s will be even larger. In addition to fine art paintings, pottery, jewelry, sculptures, textiles, art tiles, authors, dancers, drummers, glassware, and leatherwork that will be on display, The Looff also includes live entertainment featuring Superchief Trio, Down City, Hit Rewind, and the international performance/giant puppet character group Big Nazo. If that isn’t enough to get you to come, how about food trucks and a mermaid? Admission and parking are free. For more information, visit or their Facebook page.

Trevor May

Black Ships Festival

The Japan-America Society of Rhode Island (JASRI) celebrates the 40th year of the Black Ships Festival in Bristol and Newport (and, starting this year, Central Falls), August 11-13. The name of the festival refers to the term given by the Japanese to steamboat ships that poured out black smoke when former Newport native Commodore Perry arrived in Japan in 1853, an arrival which established trade and the exchange of cultures between both countries. The festival’s goal is to introduce Japanese culture to those who visit. 

Opening ceremonies begin on August 11 at 10am in Rockwell Park in Bristol and include a free Taiko drum concert at 6:30pm. On August 12, Independence Park in Bristol will be transformed into a Japanese-American culture center. Various arts and crafts will be on display, including origami, calligraphy, Tanabata Wishes on bamboo, and henna tattoos. 

The Society is making sure the event is geared towards kids to ensure a fun, family-friendly time. Kids are invited to play traditional festival games, learn origami, and even to participate in a costume/cosplay contest. Plus, there will be a place for everyone to try on traditional kimonos. Shiatsu massage is available at the festival. “As a career-long teaching artist, this festival creates so many amazing opportunities to really bring these art forms to new audiences,” says the Festival’s new co-director of events and community outreach, Everett Hoag.

Lastly, many different demonstrations and performances are planned throughout the festival such as Taiko drumming, traditional sword performances, Shorin-Ryu (exercise and self-defense drills that use techniques and farming tools converted to weapons by the Okinawan people), Karate, Dragon boats in Central Falls, and a Shinobue (flute) and drum performance. On August 13, a memorial ceremony will be held at the Island Cemetery in Newport. With 4,500 people in attendance throughout the festival last year, festival organizers expect this year to be even larger.

Trevor May

RI Folk Fest 

Rose Larisa Park in East Providence will be full of lush instruments, beautiful voices, and a true sense of community at the eighth annual Rhode Island Folk Festival on August 27. The free event is family- and dog-friendly and consists of three stages of music, a kid’s area (kids are invited  to touch and play various instruments) and a songwriting workshop with Mark Cutler, along with food trucks, vendors, and a beer garden.

Founder John Fuzek and a dedicated team of volunteers (most are well-known in the local music scene) have worked diligently to make RI Folk a destination festival that features known headliners playing alongside local talent. Genres include folk, Irish, African, jazz, western, and much more. Fuzek and festival organizers divide the work of booking the stages with Fuzek focusing on booking the main stage and Beth Barron running the emerging artists stage, which includes a curated open mic featuring a range of performers of all ages playing 15-minute sets). Allysen and Ava Callery run the Songbird Stage, while Lisa Couto and Erik Peterson host the Bandshell Stage, which is designed for more ensemble performances. 

Rhode Island Folk Festival takes place August 27 at Rose Larisa Park in East Providence from 12 – 6. The event is free, though donations are welcome. Go to for more info.

Bobby Forand

Warren Folks Fest

The Warren art scene will be on full display on August 19 at the Warren Folks Fest. The Warren scene has been emerging for years as the town has grown to become a hub for artists and musicians. This day-long fest is the annual fundraiser for Warren’s community arts organization, The Collaborative, and is the perfect opportunity for the community to throw a party that showcases the scope of artist endeavors in Warren.

“The idea for Folks Fest started out as a small party for a couple of friends,” says founder and Collaborative executive director Uriah Donnelly. “The first year, which we called the “2nd Annual” (clever?!), blew us away with the turnout and support for The Collaborative. Since then, the festival has grown each year to truly become a must-attend summer event in RI. We try to add to the festival each year in different ways so there are always a few surprises for folks who turn out to support us. It is, after all, a fundraiser for The Collaborative.”

The Warren Folks Fest features music (bands to be announced soon), over 30 retail vendors and 10 food vendors, and a free arts and crafts table for kids. Plus, Narragansett Beer will donate 100% of its beer sales to the fundraiser. The Folks Fest is free, but it is also a fundraiser, so donations are accepted.

Warren Folks Fest takes place August 19 from 1 – 7 pm. Located at 30 Cutler St. Street parking is limited but available.

Bobby Forand

Scurvy Dog Parking Lot Mega Show

The Scurvy Dog Parking Lot Mega Show enters its eighth season of eclectic line-ups that run the gauntlet of genres with a punk-rock attitude. All shows are free and family-friendly, making it the first underground show experience for a lot of super young folks who come with their families. The events are also dog-friendly, which brings a special canine charisma to the scene. Scurvy Dog owners James and Jennifer Wolloff’s beloved punk rock dog Rocket will make an appearance sporting his fancy dog headphones.

The first show of the season (and 28th total) kicks off on June 3. A highlight is David Tessier and the All-Star Stars reprising their performance of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust. Other show dates are July 8, August 6, September 3, and October 8. James Wolloff (who will be filling in on acoustic guitar with DTASS) said other bands playing this season include Round Eye from Shanghai (playing their farewell tour due to the difficulty of living in China post COVID), Thee Itchies (only show of the year), M.O.T.O., The Slashers (NYC), OC Rippers (New Jersey), Chew (Atlanta) and reunions of Die Theory and iDestroyer. Ziggy Gnardust, THERE and Vicious Ritual will all be making their Scurvy debuts. Wolloff notes there are too many great bands to list them all,  but they will all be announced soon. 

Scurvy Dog Parking Lot Mega Shows take place at The Scurvy Dog, 1718 Westminster St in PVD. All shows are free, family- and dog-friendly and start at 2pm. Call 401-270-7980 or follow their Facebook page for more information.

Bobby Forand

See more fests of summer here.