Even if you’re not inclined to see music performed during the other seasons of the year, there’s something about enjoying a concert on a breezy summer evening that lures us out of doors, ready and willing to spread a blanket out on a lawn or stand and sway. Whether you’re seeking a small venue with local talent or a larger stage with national acts, the East Bay is the place to be. Many of these stages are near the water and offer an idyllic setting for letting the music transport you. Between the various line-ups you’re sure to find something you like. Here’s a sampling of some best bets:
Bluewater Bar + Grill
is the place to be on Saturday afternoons in Barrington, with bands like Rolling Stones tribute Dead Flowers and other cover bands.
Each Sunday Latham Park or Barrington Town Beach is the setting for a series of early evening concerts
that generally wrap up well before 8pm.
Enjoy traditional Irish Seisiúns held every Sunday at 5pm at Aidan’s Pub.
The Blithewold Summer Concert Series happens every Wednesday night on the grounds of the historic mansion. Enjoy a roster that ranges from steel drums to tribute bands celebrating James Taylor, The Beatles, and Dave Matthews Band, and more.
Enjoy a rooftop, “Let it Be” vibe at Thames Waterside Bar and Grille. Find resident singer-songwriter Colby James performing weekly; check website for other acts.
East Providence Area
Entering its third year of operation, Bold Point Park
boasts an impressive line-up of national touring artists. There’s something for everyone, from eighties college faves The Violent Femmes to crowd pleasers like the Beach Boys featuring Newport’s own John Cowsill of his family’s group that inspired The Partridge Family
70’s TV show.
Over in Riverside, you’ll find Concerts in the Park
happening across the street from the Crescent Park Carousel at Rose Larisa Park on Thursdays. The line-up includes local favorites the David Tessier All Stars on July 11 and the Strictly Sentimental Swing Band on July 26.
If outdoor shows aren’t your thing, never fear – the bar scene is alive and well. T&T’s 133 Club
has cover bands and more, including the Mac Odom Band every Thursday. Fun fact: Odom has played with R&B great James Brown and was the lead vocalist with Roomful of Blues for several years.
The Weaver Library
in East Providence is known for their programming and doesn’t disappoint this summer with a weekly farmers’ market held Thursdays from 4-7pm that includes live music and family entertainment.
At press time, Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards
didn’t have a confirmed list but we suggest checking in because anything they have planned is sure to be something special.
The Newport Folk Festival
at Fort Adams State Park arrives on the weekend of July 26-28. The historic festival, celebrating its 60th anniversary, sold out long ago but tickets to the main event and after-parties can still be had through the Fan to Fan ticket exchange program.
Tickets remain for the granddaddy of all festivals, Newport Jazz
, held on the weekend of August 2-4 at Fort Adams State Park. The Festival continues to expand the definition of the genre, booking artists who create music well outside the traditional boundaries of jazz. A stellar line-up this year includes keyboard legend Herbie Hancock, singer Dianne Reeves, and rapper Common.
The Greenvale Vineyard
venue in Portsmouth returns with the popular Saturday Jazz Tastings Series. Events are held in the Tasting Room from 1-4pm every Saturday afternoon.
Actually located in Middletown, Newport Vineyards
has live music on weekend afternoons ranging from folk to jazz.
Starting this month, Middletown’s Sweet Berry Farm
will be bringing back their Tuesday night concert series.
Sandywoods Center for the Arts is an excellent year-round listening room. This summer, several shows are scheduled including the Ragged but Right Quartet on July 13 and a Jerry Garcia Birthday Tribute on August 3 with Leslie Mendelson, Jefferson Hamer, Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers, and Wendy Sassafras Ramsay.
The Warren Summer Concert Series & Food Truck Nights are held Sunday evenings at that hub of activity, Burr’s Hill Park.
For those honing their musical chops, The Galactic Theatre has an open mic night every Wednesday. The hip spot is a nice place to get your weird on, with indie bands playing a couple of nights per week. By the way, it’s not really a theater, although they do run movie clips continuously.
Don’t miss RI Music Hall of Famer Neal Vitullo in his residency at Hometown Tavern in Warren every Sunday at 4:30pm.