City Life

PVDFest is Back!

The city’s marquee festival returns for four wild and crazy days


This year’s PVDFest (June 7-10) will continue the annual tradition of bringing a world of artists and performers to our fair city, as well as feature plenty of opportunities to participate. On Friday June 8, Mambo Pa Ti will lead a crowd in attempting to set a world record for most people dancing a Bachata dance. The next day, Dorrance Street will be transformed into a neon speedway for the first-ever Bump n’ Bass Raceway. A throwback to the electronic music scene of the ‘90s, participants will zip through a glowing racetrack in bumper cars while a DJ and emcee keep the crowd partying like it’s 1999.

Homegrown Art
Numerous local acts, including hip-hop collective The Funk Underground, country/rock group Back Rhodes, Brown University faculty rock outfit Dirty Filthy Basement, and writer/storyteller Mark Binder, fill out this year’s diverse lineup. As in years past, the streets will be decorated with installations created specifically for the festival by local artists. This year, interdisciplinary artist May Babcock, collaborative duo Nick Carter and KYLE, illustrator and muralist Sam White, and multimedia visual artist and designer Kristina Brown will take on the task of making downtown Providence pop.

The Out Of Towners
One of the can’t-miss events of this year’s PVDFest will be Tall Tales from the High Seas, an aerial spectacle performed by the Melbourne-based company, Australia’s Sway Poles. The aerial artists will captivate and delight onlookers as they soar atop sway-pole masts on their pitching and rolling ship, The Fabulist, telling a story of three eccentric mariners in a tribute to the power of imagination. The internationally famous troupe will be returning to Providence from Down Under for the first time since 2014, when they dazzled attendees of the FirstWorks Urban Carnevale.

Eat Your Heart Out
Foodies will have no shortage of palate-pleasing options to explore. At Friday’s “Fountain Street Hooligans,” The Dean Hotel will feature North restaurant, as well as a number of guest chefs. On Saturday and Sunday, Kennedy Plaza will become a Food Village, with over 60 local establishments and vendors serving festival goers at a celebration of Rhode Island’s vibrant culinary scene.

For a complete rundown of performers, check out the PVDFest schedule at