Outdoor Concerts Return to Rhode Island

Summer line-ups include Newport Folk and Jazz concerts, Rhythm & Roots and more


As indoor theaters and music venues continue to make post-pandemic plans, outdoor sites around the state are ramping up for live music this summer. Of course, given continued restrictions, it’s not exactly zero to 60. Still, after more than a year without live music, concerts ranging from large festivals to local pop-up shows have returned. If your favorite restaurant had live music pre-COVID, check ‘em out, it could be back!


Patriotic Tunes

In Bristol, the Fourth of July Committee and Roger Williams University have teamed up to plan a two-week series of evening concerts beginning June 20 with local favorites Steve Smith and the Nakeds, The DMB Project, and more.


Billy on the Beach

The Misquamicut Drive-In Theater, a popular seaside spot in Westerly, has Rhody’s own Billy Gilman playing on July 3, and The Lords of 52nd Street, the original Billy Joel band, scheduled for August 5.


Festival Fun

The state’s premium festivals – Newport Folk and Jazz – are returning to Fort Adams State Park under a modified format. The Folk Festival (July 23-28) will be spread over six days (instead of the usual three), with smaller crowds and COVID health and wellness practices in effect. Organizers are essentially running a pair of mini-fests, described as “two unique three-day events of surprise performances, storytelling, and workshops.” The Jazz Festival is scheduled to run from July 30 to August 1 and feature “three intimate days of amazing jazz performances and surprise collaborations.” Expect crowds to be smaller at both events.


Music in the Park

Meanwhile, at Bold Point Park in East Providence, General Manager Katie Spaziano is looking forward to welcoming patrons back to the outdoor venue along Narragansett Bay. “We are very excited to be getting back to live entertainment and we know that many Rhode Islanders have been patiently waiting for us to re-open,” she remarked. A season highlight will certainly be country duo Brothers Osborne on August 1. Spaziano explained that more shows would be added. “We are hard at work putting together the upcoming season and ensuring we are following local operating guidelines.”

A late summer favorite, the Rhode Island Folk Festival (formerly Providence Folk Festival) returns this year after a pandemic hiatus in 2020. The free event takes place on Sunday, August 29 at Larissa Park in Rumford.


Rhythm Returns

Finally, the annual Rhythm and Roots Festival held in Charlestown is also in the planning stages for Labor Day Weekend with several major acts already confirmed. Announced performers include John Hiatt and Rhiannon Giddens.


Concerts at a Glance

June 4-Aug 29: Pump House Music Works, Wakefield 

June 11-Sept 3: Gazebo Concert Series, Narragansett

June 20-July 3: Outdoor concerts, Bristol 

July 3: Billy Gilman, Misquamicut Drive-In

July 5: Country Fest, Block Island 

July 9-Sept 10: Music Series at Levitt Amp, Woonsocket

July 11-Aug 29: Barrington Summer Concert Series

July 23-28: Newport Folk Festival 

July 30-Aug 1:  Newport Jazz Festival

Aug 1: Brothers Osborne, Bold Point Park, East Providence

Aug 5: The Lords of 52nd Street, Misquamicut Drive-In

Aug 9: Reggae Fest, Block Island 

Aug 29: Rhode Island Folk Festival, Rumford 

Sept 3-5: Rhythm and Roots Festival, Charlestown

Various: Bon Vue Inn, Narragansett


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