Rhode Island Summer Fest Guide 2022

From art to music to food and more, a listing of Ocean State events so you don’t miss a beat

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It's summer, which means outdoor festival season has officially arrived in southern New England. One-of-a-kind spectacles ranging from food to film, music to art, and more can be found all summer long around Rhode Island. Of course, the beauty of the festival circuit is that there’s usually something for everyone. For example, If you don’t like the band on stage, wait 20 minutes or try a different stage. If you don’t dig oysters, there’s bound to be pizza somewhere. 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.  

Please note that events may require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test and mask-wearing regardless of vaccination status. Be sure to check each venue for updates. 

MUSIC

Newport Classical 

July 1-17

Back for its 52nd year, Newport Classical (formerly Newport Music Festival) returns to historic sites around the city after producing outdoor shows last summer due to the pandemic. The classical festival has something for everyone, including world renowned players like Joyce Yang, the King’s Singers, and pianist Dmitry Masleev. The series also pushes the limits of classical with performers who cross over into other genres. Check out the Gavilán Brothers or Sō Percussion, who will be playing “Music for Wood and Strings,” composed by Bryce Dessner of the rock band, The National. NewportClassical.org

Music Fests at Ballard’s

July 7, August 8 & 21

If you’re wearing a cowboy hat on the ferry, you just might be heading to Country Fest (July 7), one of many concerts presented at Ballard’s Private Beach where the dress code is bathing suits! This year’s lineup includes Steve Daggett, Ashley Jordan, Shot Down, Chris Ruediger, and Presley & Taylor. Arrive early for a good seat on the deck. Music begins at 9am and goes until 7pm. Following this fun format is Reggae Fest (with a lineup of Mighty Mystic, Roots of Creation, Amandala, Crooked Coast, and Thee MSM Band) on August 8 and Roots and Rhythm Fest (Squeezebox Stompers, Cherry Pie, Red Matter, and The Breakers) on August 21. Be sure to check the website for other  live music events. Block Island, BallardsBI.com

RI Blues Fest

July 16

The state’s biggest blues festival returns to Mulligan's Island in Cranston with a stellar lineup. Don’t miss local greats Neal & The Vipers, Vintage R&B All-Stars with special guest Sugar Ray, Robin Kapsalis & Vintage #18, and Grammy-nominated band Victor Wainwright & The Train. Cranston, RIBluesFest.com

Nashville RI Country Music Festival

July 17

A full day of country music awaits on the lawn at Mulligan’s Island with national and local artists performing. The lineup includes singer-songwriter Lauren King, Country Wild Heart, Annie Brobst, Houston Bernard, and Tyler James & The Silks. You’ll find the best food trucks, beer and wine, and free parking, too! Cranston, MulligansIsland.com/Events

Kingston Chamber Music Festival

July 20-31

This classical music festival features six concerts over several dates in late July. Under artistic director Natalie Zhu, the festival brings veteran players and emerging artists together for concerts at the University of Rhode Island held at Edwards Hall. Highlights include performances of Mozart, Mendelssohn, Bach, and Duke Ellington. At press time, masks were required. KingstonChamberMusic.org

Newport Folk Festival

July 22-24

The annual music festival at Fort Adams State Park, which sold out in seconds when tickets were put on sale earlier this year, is back with a diverse lineup. In recent years, the NFF has nurtured up-and-coming artists, many who go on to remarkable solo careers. This year’s roster includes familiar names like The Roots, Brandi Carlisle, Courtney Barnett, Dinosaur Jr., and Bela Fleck, as well as first-timers Arooj Aftab, Ukrainian folk group DakhaBrakha, and teen punk upstarts The Linda Lindas. NewportFolk.org

Newport Jazz Festival

July 29-31

Popular music festivals first appeared in the US in the City by the Sea and the Newport Jazz Festival is the granddaddy of them all. Established in 1954, it still serves as a model for how to run a music festival. This year’s edition will feature a tribute to longtime producer George Wein, who passed away in September. Other headliners include artistic director Christian McBride, Angelique Kidjo, and Norah Jones. Get your tickets early as a sell-out is expected. NewportJazz.org

Warren Folks Festival

August 20

What better showcase of eclectic little Warren than its Folks Fest. Described as a free day-into-night event with music, food, and art, the sixth annual fest hosts  a star-studded lineup including Vudu Sister, Mary-Elaine Jenkins, Ernest A Edwards Jr, Lily Rhodes, Bochek, and Joe Bruce. The festival is a benefit for The Collaborative, an arts organization based in Warren. Warren, TheCollaborative02885.org

Rhode Island Folk Festival

August 28

Formerly the Providence Folk Festival, this free music festival features three stages of the best local and regional talent at Rose Larisa Park in Riverside, across the street from the Crescent Park Carousel. Headliners include banjo phenom Jake Blount, RI Music Hall of Famer Mark Cutler, singer-songwriter Julie Rhodes, and irreverent rockers The Fools. Craft vendors and food trucks will be there. Bring the family, and well-behaved dogs. Riverside, RhodeIslandFolkFestival.com

Rhythm & Roots Festival

September 2-4

The on again, off again, locally grown Rhythm & Roots Festival is back this summer under new management. Longtime producer Chuck Wentworth stepped down after 20+ years but still serves as a consultant. The lineup is as good as ever with headliners Grace Potter, Samantha Fish, and Little Feat. Come for three stages of music; stay for the food trucks, parades, and more. Camping at Ninigret State Park is also available. Charlestown, RhythmAndRoots.com

ARTS

Wickford Art Festival

July 9-10

Over 200 artists will display their work in a variety of mediums at the annual event now held in Wilson Park in Wickford. 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. Festival.WickfordArt.org

FRINGEPVD

July 17-30

The indie theater summer festival returns with a variety of events celebrating local, national, and international independent performing artists. This year, enjoy performances by Motion State Dance Company, along with an eclectic mix of magic arts, solo acts, and experimental, multimedia works that cross – and even defy – genres. Performances take place around Providence’s Valley neighborhood, including WaterFire Arts Center. Providence, FRINGEPVD.org

Newport Dance Festival 

July 19-24

The Island Moving Company hosts this event on an outdoor stage at Great Friends Meeting House in Newport. Each evening performance features a unique lineup of dances drawn on the talent, artistry, and unique styles of the festival’s five visiting dance companies, and Newport’s resident Island Moving Company. Newport, IslandMovingCo.org

Flickers’ RIIFF

August 8-14

The Rhode Island International Film Festival is a major event held annually in and around Providence. The festival is back in person this year, after being mainly online the last two summers. The week-long event 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. Statewide, Film-Festival.org

Pawtucket Arts Fest

September 9-18

One of the state’s largest festivals is a celebration of the historic city of Pawtucket. Running over a week, festivities include art installations, music, food, and more. The Rhode Island Philharmonic, the RI-Chinese Dragon Boat Races, and Mixed Magic Theatre have all been part of previous festivals. PawtucketArtsFestival.org

FOOD

Charlestown Seafood Festival

August 5-7

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. Bring the family for amusement rides, rock wall climbing, kayaking, a car show, and live music on the midway. Stay late Saturday night for fireworks. CharlestownSeafoodFestival.com

Farm Fresh RI Local Food Fest 

August 9

The focus of this daylong event is on local food growers and producers. You’ll be able to meet Rhody’s star chefs and watch as they prepare meals, while enjoying local wine, beer, and signature cocktails. 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. FarmFreshRI.org

Rhode Island Calamari Fest

September 10

It wouldn’t be late summer in Narragansett without this annual event celebrating all things calamari at Veterans Park. Now one of the coastal town’s biggest events, the RI Calamari Fest serves over 3,000 pounds of the “official state appetizer” to over 4,000 people from across Southern New England, with local restaurants battling it out for top honors. NarragansettCOC.com

Rhode Island Seafood Festival

September 10-11

A waterfront tradition since 2011, India Point Park 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 ensure good times roll all weekend. Providence, RISeafoodFest.com

COMMUNITY

Cape Verdean Independence Day Festival

July 10

The 47th annual festival at India Point Park in Providence celebrates Cape Verdean heritage with a day of live music, food trucks, and family-friendly activities, which make for a fun summer afternoon. RICapeVerdeanHeritage.org

East Providence Heritage Days 

July 29-31

Live music, amusements, a car show, and more highlight the annual East Providence festival at Pierce Memorial Field. The mid-summer weekend fundraiser supports the town’s arts and culture. Music headliners include the best cover bands out there, like Blushing Brides (Rolling Stones), Physical Graffiti (Led Zeppelin), and The Machine (Pink Floyd). EpHeritageDays.com

CumberlandFest

August 5-7

For over 30 years, CumberlandFest has been a big to-do around the northern part of the state and for good reason. For three days, Diamond Hill Park transforms into a concert venue and midway of carnival rides, complete with an array of food trucks and a fireworks display on Saturday night. Since its founding, the family-friendly event has generated over $1 million in contributions to youth organizations in town. CumberlandFest.org

Washington County Fair

August 17-21

The state’s biggest county fair returns to the Richmond fairgrounds for a week of family fun. The fair is the region’s largest agricultural event featuring tractor pulls, the farm museum, and livestock exhibits. There’s country music daily, great food, and a full midway with rides from Rockwell Amusements. WashingtonCountyFair-RI.com

Flower Festival

August 27

Enjoy a magical evening among the blooms during peak season when the What Cheer Farm’s Annual Flower Festival returns. Held at the farm near the Olneyville section, plans include a day of “flower fan fun” with a celebration party at night. All proceeds to benefit charity. Providence, WhatCheerFarm.org

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