Now in its seventh year, PVDFest reemerged this summer not with a single rollicking weekend but a steady build, with a full season of programming injecting art back into city streets, parks, and everyday spaces.
“The last time we did the festival in ‘real life’ in 2019, over the course of four days of performances and ideas and all these different kinds of programs, 130,000 people experienced the festival,” says Kathleen Pletcher, Founder and Executive Artistic Director of FirstWorks. “Now, as we come to this year, we really needed to reinvent because we are learning – FirstWorks, the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, the City – what we’re facing as a society together, so the reinvention was to take that festival spirit and kind of distribute it across the summer.”
From the music of Trinidad taking over the Roger Williams Park Bandstand for Carnival to block parties, movie nights, and dance performances that happened all through August, PVDFest continues this month with a series of safe, outdoor concerts on the Dalrymple Boathouse Lawn at Roger Williams Park.
The concert series invites listeners to take a global journey across diverse genres, from the Rhode Island-based Latin jazz master Carlos de Leon performing danceable tunes September 12 to the sounds from “In the Roundhouse” by Indigenous performing songwriter Thea Hopkins on September 19.
“FirstWorks is thrilled to curate special projects involving festival-goers, students, and our artistic community,” says Pletcher, “like the fusion of music and body percussion of Brazilian tap ensemble Music From the Sole.” Rescheduled from the original PVDFest celebration planned for downtown this month, Music From the Sole will now perform in the park for Food Truck Friday September 24, featuring Providence-based dancer Orlando Hernández, whose work highlights tap’s connection to Afro-diasporic dance and other forms.
Bring a lawn chair or blanket and prepare to be transported by the performances taking over the scenic Roger Williams Park throughout September for the final leg of PVDFest’s summer season.