The Roots Report: Strummin’ Summer: All you need is a guitar and a little sun to make it a memorable season

Okee dokee folks… As the temperatures rise so will my annual annoyance with the heat. By the way, climate change is a real thing. We are screwed, but enjoy this summer — have fun, go see shows. By next summer we will be fully into election season and regime change should be the priority of every sane voter in this country. You can start now if you’d like! If you support the moron-in-chief, feel free to bury your head in the sand at the beach and leave it there until mid-November 2020. As for the rest of you, savor this summer. Have fun and catch lots of great music. Tick-tock. Read on…

Blackstone River Theatre moves their Celtic and world music programming outside on June 15 when they present the 9th annual Blackstone River Theatre Summer Solstice Festival at Diamond Hill Park in Cumberland. The family-friendly festival runs from 11am to 7pm and features three music stages, a dance stage and a children’s activity area, as well as 40 food and craft vendors. Performing will be the Atwater-Donnelly Trio, The Hanneke Cassel Band, Kevin Crawford, Cillian Vallely & Patrick Doocey (from Lunasa), Eastern Medicine Singers, The Gnomes, HighTime, La Crois D’Antan, Bonnie Milner, Dan Milner, Partington & Sweeney, Roscommon Soles featuring Kevin Doyle with Sheila Falls, Josh Kane, Owen Marshall, Torrin Ryan, and The Vox Hunters. Also returning will be the popular after-festival music session on June 15 at 8:30pm back at Blackstone River Theatre. This limited ticket event features all the festival performers playing in a casual setting with complimentary food and a cash bar. For more, equinox to

The 24th Annual New Bedford Folk Festival takes place Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7 at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center and throughout the 11 blocks of historic downtown New Bedford and the Whaling National Historical Park. There’ll be music on seven stages with a lineup of performers that includes BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards, Seth Glier, Pete and Maura Kennedy, Radoslav Lorkovic, Low Lily, Pamela Means, The Nields, Sol y Canto with Alisa Amador, Chris Smither, Susan Werner, Don White and Dar Williams. The festival also presents an arts and crafts area that features artisans and craft-makers lining the cobblestone streets between the performance tents and venues. For more, harpoon to


If you want to hit four great festivals while doing a little camping, then make note of these! The Gibson Hill Bluegrass Festival in Sterling, Conn, features Big River Stomp, Greystone Rail, Amy Gallatin and others. Call 860-564-9996 for more. The Green River Festival in Greenfield, Mass, brings in Samantha Fish, The Wood Brothers, Session Americana, Eileen Jewel, Lucinda Williams, Rhiannon Giddons and Devil Makes Three, and takes place July 12 through 14. For more, Mass Pike it to The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival happens August 2 through 4, is located in Hillsdale, New York, and features Beth Nielsen Chapman, BoDeans, Carolann Solebello, Emma’s Revolution, Kerri Powers, Low Lily, Martyn Joseph, Pamela Means Band, The Rowan Brothers and The Slambovian Circus of Dreams. For more, flap over to The Grey Fox Bluegrass festival is held on the Walsh Farm in Oak Hill, NY, July 18 through 21 and the line-up includes Del McCoury Band, Tommy Emmanuel, Steep Canyon Rangers, Travelin’ McCoury’s and Gibson Brothers. For more, pounce on There are lot of jamming opportunities at these fests!

Mulligan’s Island launches its first ever concert series, Friday Night Live, a showcase of performers from across the musical spectrum. From pop to blues, R&B to bluegrass, the 10-week series will provide the community an incredible array of musical performances. All the shows are FREE. For schedule, putt-putt to

Back in the ’70s, Stepping Stone Ranch in West Greenwich was a major concert venue, hosting such acts as Aerosmith, Muddy Waters and The Guess Who along with many music festivals of various genres. This summer will bring the return of festivals to the ranch. Steppingstock, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, will take place on Saturday July 20. Rock the Ranch, an afternoon of Southern rock by Barefoot Rebel (Skynyrd tribute), Brothers All Band (Allman Brothers tribute) and Scott Fowler & Southbound will take place on Sunday, August 11. For more, tippy-toe to

NeighborWorks brings music to River Island Art Park in Woonsocket starting on Friday, June 14 with the first of 10 free Friday night concerts. For schedule information, charge over to

The Greenwich Odeum will keep you cool and rocking all summer long with Jimmie Vaughan, Lori McKenna, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Aimee Mann, Artimus Pyle Band, Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra, Dave Mason, Jim Messina and more! For more, Rome to

Bold Point Park in East Providence is jam packed with shows this summer, and locals will be performing on the Point Stage prior to the main show, so get there early! The first show of the season is on June 7 with Robert Cray, Marc Cohn, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Shemekia Copeland, and Lisa Couto on Point Stage. Other highlights of the season include the Roadblock Music Fest on July 27, Tribute Fest on August 3 and Ben Folds on August 4. For full schedule information, tockwotton to

The Towers on Ocean Road in Narragansett has music every Thursday at 7pm this summer! The series kicks off on June 6 with Dan Lord and the Big Shots and wraps up on August 29 with Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. For full schedule information, swing over to

Up in the boondocks of RI you can find the Assembly Theatre, a beautiful 300-seat room, and they are starting to bring shows in on a regular basis! Catch Through the Doors w/ Piece of My Heart (Janis Joplin) on June 8, The Live Music Band on June 15 and Forever Young — A Tribute to the Music of Neil Young on June 29! For more, one-ringy-dingy to 401-710-9015 or click

The Providence Folk Festival will debut at its new location on Sunday, August 25, with performances by Cardboard Ox, Allysen Callery, Bob Kendall, Dan Lilley & The Keepers with Amy Bedard, Lisa Bastoni, Kala Farnham, Lara Herscovitch, John Faraone, Ric Allendorf, Seatbelt, Andrew Victor, Swimming Bell and many more TBA! For more, get the folk over to:

East Providence Heritage Days are always fun and bring in great music. This year it’s the Legacy Show Band, Luis Neves, The Whodos El Guapo, Tyler & Ryan, Psycle, Shryne, Lady Lupine, Brendan Rush & Bella Hannah, and They Were Robots. Music, food,vendors and more all will be at Pierce Field July 12 through 14. For more, 195 to

The Narrows in Fall River keeps live music going all summer long AND they keep you super cool with their super duper A/C! Shows include The Jayhawks, Aaron Neville, Richard Thompson. Tim O’Brien, Bettye LaVette, Ruthie Foster, Shawn Colvin, Tab Benoit, Blue Oyster Cult, and The Zombies. Then they bring it outside for the Spindle City Festival and the 7th annual block-a-palooza! For more, battleship to

The biggest and best festival that RI has to offer is the Rhythm and Roots Festival on Labor Day weekend in Charlestown. It was the Motif Music Award winner this year! The 2019 line-up includes The Mavericks, Sun Volt, Railroad Earth, Marcia Ball, Hot Club of Cowtown, Dustbowl Revival, Los Texmaniacs, Erin Harpe and the Delta Swingers and so many more. For more zyde-a-go-go to

The Garde Theatre in New London has some great shows worthy of a SHORT drive! Their calendar includes The Happy Together Tour, Tommy Emmanuel, the Tony-nominated musical A Night with Janis Joplin and An Intimate Evening of Songs with Graham Nash. For more, get out of RI to

There is surely much more happening this summer, but that’s it for now. Updates will come all summer long! And keep an eye on Motif‘s Facebook page to see my concert photos. Thanks for reading.