Library Blog

Outdoor Music around Rhode Island

Crowd of people dancing outside

Greetings from the Legal Beagle! The days are warming up and it is the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy some live music. There are many options, so here’s a few to get you started!

Newport is home to the ultimate in outdoor music, the iconic Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals. Located in Fort Adams on Narragansett Bay with wrap-around views of the Newport Bridge, the location cannot be beat! NJF is regarded as the ‘grandaddy’ of music festivals and remains true to its Jazz heritage. (Tip: Newport Jazz Fest usually offers a student ticket.) 

NFF is not a folksy festival. If you like NPR’s Tiny Desk, you will be in heaven. (If you don’t know Tiny Desk – check it out now!) Recent NFFs have featured everyone from Dolly Parton to Kermit the Frog, Jason Isbell to The Nude Party, Gary Clark, Jr. to Mumford & Sons – and everyone in between. The bad news is that NFF sells out in two-minutes (before they announce the lineup!) and this year was no exception. The good news is that you can get on the waitlist, Lyte, as they are expected to increase capacity and release more tickets. 

Another Rhode Island festival is Rhythm and Roots. Taking place over in Charlestown over Labor Day Weekend this festival has optional camping. With Cajun, bluegrass, Zydeco and more - it is sure to get you dancing.

The Xfinity Center is a classic amphitheater – Rhode Island locals will often call this venue “Great Woods” - its original name - several names ago. Less than thirty miles from RWU, in Mansfield, MA, they have a full line-up this summer from the Black Crowes to Halsey and a heavy focus on 90’s music. You can also check out Leader Bank Pavillon in Boston where MGK and Lord Huron will be playing. Further outside of Boston, in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains is Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Rhode Island is home to its own waterfront music pavilion in East Providence, Bold Point Park. There is only one event announced so far – more are on the way! 

In Bristol, the lovely Blithewold Mansion is hosting the Summer Sunset Cocktail Series. In Providence at the Waterfire Arts Center, is the TroopTop Deck with live music on Thursday nights. Reservations must be made. 

Over in Wakefield is Pumphouse Music Works with a summer of concerts and open mic. Tickets or picnic tables must be purchased in advance. 

An annual favorite is the outdoor free shows put on by the Rhode Island Philharmonic. There is usually one in Bristol independence Park, not yet been announced for 2021.  Only the Narragansett Beach show has been announced. (Tip: show up very early to stake out your spot and don’t forget to bring a picnic. These events are wildly popular.) 

There are also annual outdoor music events, many of which are free.  Dates have been set for the Bristol 4th of July Concert Series, and the town of Warren’s Summer Concert Series. Other dates for annual events have not been set yet, for example Pvd Fest, and Providence’s Foo Fest. Interested in the Newport area?  This 2019 Discover Newport blog post lists many in the immediate Newport area. Search the names in your favorite search engine to find 2021 dates. 

Finally, a gentle reminder that while restrictions are loosening, please check with your venue for updates and Covid-19 guidelines. Happy listening!

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