Rhody Summer Festival Guide 2024

From art to music to food and more, Ocean State events you won’t want to miss


It’s summer, which means outdoor festival season has officially arrived in southern New England. One-of-a-kind spectacles featuring food, film, music, art, and more can be found all summer long around Rhode Island. Of course, the beauty of the festival is that there’s usually something for everyone. For example, if you’re not into the band playing on stage, wait 20 minutes or try a different stage. If you don’t dig oysters, there’s bound to be delicious pizza somewhere nearby. Not a fan of someone’s artwork? Head to the next tent. So get out and enjoy the season with our guide to the best summer festivals in Rhode Island.




Newport Classical

July 4-21

The Newport Classical Music Festival returns to historic locations around the City by the Sea, including The Breakers, The Elms, and Castle Hill Inn. With 27 concerts, the festival has something for everyone, with renowned players, world premieres, and family programs. Highlights include the opening night Fourth of July Patriotic Pops concert; Opera Night with a performance of Bizet’s Carmen; Italian Strings in Nature, an outdoor concert at the Norman Bird Sanctuary; and Brazilian-American composer-in-residence Clarice Assad, who will be premiering a piece commissioned for the festival. NewportClassical.org


Kingston Chamber Music Festival

July 24-August 4

Under artistic director Natalie Zhu, this classical music festival of six concerts over more than 10 days brings veteran players and emerging artists together for specially curated concerts at the University of Rhode Island’s Edwards Hall. Highlights include festival founder David Kim and Friends, the Dover Quartet, the jazz-influenced Shades of Blue, and Mediterranean Plectrum and Strings, an enchanting program with Israeli mandolin player Jacob Reuven and American guitarist Adam Levin. The festival closes with picks by Zhu: Natalie’s Favorites, an evening of Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Schubert. KingstonChamberMusic.org


Newport Folk Festival

July 26-28

The annual music festival at Fort Adams State Park, which sold out seconds after tickets went on sale, returns with a star-studded lineup of established stars and up-and-coming artists, many who go on to remarkable solo careers. In recent years, top artists like Dolly Parton, James Taylor, Paul Simon, and Joni Mitchell have arrived unannounced, thrilling festival fans. This year’s roster includes award-winning performers Black Pumas, Molly Tuttle, Orville Peck, Rhiannon Giddens, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Adrianne Lenker, and Killer Mike. NewportFolk.org


Newport Jazz Festival

August 2-4

Popular music festivals first appeared in the US in the City by the Sea, making the Newport Jazz Festival the granddaddy of them all. Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, Newport Jazz still serves as a model for how to run a music festival. This year’s edition continues to push the boundaries of jazz, something the festival has always been known for. Headliners include Andre 3000, Elvis Costello, Laufey, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Samara Joy, Kamasi Washington, and artistic director Christian McBride. Get your tickets soon as a sell-out is expected. NewportJazz.org


Folks Fest VIII

August 17

Experience the eclectic vibe of Warren at Folks Fest, a free day-into-night event with music, food, and art, including nine musical acts between two stages along with art and wares from over 30 Rhode Island artists and makers. There will also be a free kids’ crafts tent, recycle-a-bike, and great eats from local restaurants Chomp Kitchen & Drinks, La Piñata, Mac’s Screaming Street Corn, and Mumsy’s Ice Cream. The festival is a benefit for The Collaborative, an arts organization based in town. Warren, TheCollaborative02885.org


Rhode Island Folk Festival

August 25

Formerly the Providence Folk Festival, this free music festival features three stages of the best local and regional talent at Rose Larisa Memorial Park in Riverside, across the street from the Crescent Park Carousel. Headliners include regional all-stars Tom Rush, Dan Lilley, Tai & Moon, Michelle Malone, Dan Blakeslee, Divey, and more. Craft vendors and food trucks will be there. Bring the family and well-behaved pups. Riverside, RhodeIslandFolkFestival.com


Rhythm & Roots Festival

August 30-September 1

Rhode Island’s homegrown Rhythm & Roots Festival is back Labor Day Weekend with an outstanding lineup for 2024. Headliners for the three-day festival include Emmylou Harris, Old Crow Medicine Show, Larkin Poe, Drive-By Truckers, and Shemekia Copeland, alongside traditional music from a slew of Louisiana bands who bring authentic Cajun and zydeco music to the Northeast. Come for three stages of music, stay for the food trucks, vendors, parades, and more. Camping at Ninigret State Park is available. Charlestown, RhythmAndRoots.com




Wickford Art Festival

July 13-14

Over 200 artists will display their work in a variety of mediums at the annual event held in Wilson Park. Admission is free and you can purchase art in ceramics, wood, wearable and decorative fiber, furniture, fine jewelry, drawing, etching, glass, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, pyrography, and sculpture. And don’t forget to visit historic Wickford, just a quarter mile from the park, while you’re in town. North Kingstown, WickfordArt.org



July 14-27

PVD’s eclectic summer festival celebrates its 11th year with numerous events featuring local, national, and international independent performing artists. Check out the extensive mix of magic arts, solo acts, and experimental multimedia works that cross – and even defy – genres. Performances take place around Providence’s Valley neighborhood, at locations including WaterFire Arts Center, Farm Fresh RI, and the Steel Yard. Providence, FringePVD.org


Newport Dance Festival

July 17-21

The Newport Contemporary Ballet hosts this annual event on an outdoor stage at the Great Friends Meeting House. Each evening performance features a unique lineup of dances drawn on the talent, artistry, and unique styles of the festival’s visiting dance companies, and the resident company, which performs year-round. Reserve your tickets; bring your own picnic, blankets, and lawn chairs; and enjoy world-class dance in a relaxed outdoor setting.


Flickers’ RI International Film Festival

August 6-11

The Rhode Island International Film Festival is a major event held annually. The week-long program includes special showings across the state with premiere works in Providence. Flickers is the largest public film festival in New England and an Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences qualifying event in three categories. Check the website for films and locations. Film-Festival.org


Pawtucket Arts Fest

August 31-September 8

One of the state’s largest festivals celebrates the historic city of Pawtucket. Running over a week, festivities include art installations, performances, music, food, and more. Dozens of events, including the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra’s Pops in the Park, Chinese Dragon Boat Races, Mixed Magic Theatre, Pawtucket Flavor Fest, live music, fireworks, local vendors, food trucks, and more, have all been a part of previous festivals. Check the website for updates. PawtucketArtsFestival.org




Charlestown Seafood Festival

August 2-4

The award-winning festival was the first of its kind in the country and continues to be one of the most popular summer events in the state. Enjoy Rhode Island’s best lobsters, steamers, chowder, fish and chips, clam cakes, corn on the cob, and a raw bar with native oysters. Bring the family for amusement rides, rock wall climbing, kayaking, a car show, and live music with top bands on the midway. Stay late Saturday night for fireworks. CharlestownSeafoodFestival.com


Farm Fresh RI Local Food Fest

August 13

Join local growers and producers at the annual Farm Fresh RI event to support the mission of the popular community-based organization. You’ll be able to meet Rhody’s star chefs and watch as they prepare meals, while enjoying local wine, beer, signature cocktails, and live music. The event takes place in Newport at Castle Hill Inn’s Chalet Patio and Lawn, with a gorgeous water-view setting overlooking the Newport Bridge. Advance tickets only. Newport, FarmFreshRI.org


Rhode Island Seafood Festival

September 7-8

A waterfront tradition since 2011, India Point Park in Providence is transformed into a seafood lover’s version of heaven with local restaurants serving up only the best the Ocean State has to offer, from lobster rolls to clam cakes and chowder, plus some fare for landlubbers. Drink vendors keep taps flowing with locally made beer, wine, and cocktails, and live entertainment ensures good times roll all weekend. RISeafoodFest.com




Cape Verdean Independence Day Festival

July 7

Did you know Rhode Island is home to the highest percentage of residents of Cape Verdean ancestry of all 50 states? Learn more about the Ocean State’s Cape Verdean heritage at the Independence Day festival at India Point Park with family-friendly activities including music, dance, and authentic Cape Verdean cuisine. Providence, Facebook: Cape Verdean Independence Day Festival


Crescent Park Carousel Summerfest

July 18-21

Crescent Park Looff Carousel celebrates 129 years of brass rings and rides with Summerfest. There’s live music all weekend, the area’s best food trucks, dozens of vendors, a carnival from Fanelli Amusements, and antique cars and a cruise night on Saturday, July 20. Riverside, CrescentParkCarousel.org


Washington County Fair

August 14-18

The state’s largest county fair returns to the Richmond fairgrounds for a week of family fun, celebrating the rural heritage of Washington County and benefiting area nonprofits. The fair is also the region’s largest agricultural event featuring tractor pulls, the farm museum, livestock exhibits, and presentations from local FFA and 4H chapters. There’s country music daily, great food, and a full midway with rides from Rockwell Amusements. Richmond, WashingtonCountyFair-RI.com


Chinese Dragon Boat Race and Taiwan Day Festival

August 31

The Chinese Dragon Boat Race and Taiwan Day Festival is an exciting day of family entertainment with traditional dragon boat races, cultural performances, Asian cuisine, and the popular dumpling eating contest. The event takes place along the Pawtucket River on fiberglass Taiwanese-style dragon boats gifted from the Republic of China (Taiwan) that incorporate the skill of flag-catching in each race. Taiwanese arts and crafts tables, lion dancers, interactive games, and kids activities make this a special event. Pawtucket, DragonBoatRI.com


PVD Fest

September 6-7

The weekend street party known as PVD Fest is back downtown with live music, dance, food, and art installations, with nearby eateries providing refreshments, and vendors lining city streets. Past performers have included Mavis Staples, Rebirth Brass Band, the Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra, and Chachi Carvalho & the International Players. PVDFest.com



Suggestions to make the day even better!

  • Buy tickets early
  • Dress comfortably
  • Apply sunscreen and bug spray
  • Bring cash
  • Charge devices
  • Stay hydrated
  • Be patient in lines
  • Check if pets are allowed


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