This weekend’s PVDFest aims to unite Providence’s blooming arts and music scene


Every night, there is always something different happening in Providence. Someone somewhere is putting up a stunning piece of art that captivates the eyes, while a musician graces one of the city’s many venues with a sound that grabs hold of the ears. Stylistically, nothing is ever alike and this weekend, the inaugural PVDFest aims to corral the city’s finest performers and artists and showcase them together.

PVDFest kicks off Thursday (June 2) and runs through the weekend (June 5), a four-day run that takes over downtown Providence with an array of art installations, live music, block parties, theatre performances, and all sorts of other things that guarantee a memorable experience. In addition to countless locals, the weekend will also deliver sets by Ra Ra Riot (pictured up top), Screaming Females, and The Heavy.

“Providence is a spectacular city for music, and PVDFest is an awesome way to showcase our own vibrant music scene,” Kathleen Pletcher, executive artistic director of FirstWorks, PVDFest’s creative producing partner, tells Vanyaland. “From the low fi indie rock of Arc Iris, to the signature sound of rap artist Chachi Carvalho, to our very own drum master Sidy Maiga, the FirstWorks stage celebrates the extraordinary diversity of our artists and their music styles. Playing side-by-side with renowned national and international acts, PVDFest is the premier festival in New England for music fans.”


A steady evolution from last year’s Providence International Arts Festival, this extravaganza will be reaching every corner of the downtown area with numerous establishments and venues joining in on the fun. The festival plans on catering to roughly 100,000 attendees crowding the streets of Providence.

And here’s what’s happening: On Thursday there’s a small opening featuring murals by Keri King and Grace Ludmer as part of the PVDFest Opening Party at the Providence G on Dorrance Street. Come Friday, things start to get busy with world music artist Sidy Maiga performing with his drum ensemble, the first night of the 2016 Summer Concert Series featuring The Heavy, Ra Ra Riot, and Vulgarrity happening at The Alex and Ani City Center, live painting from Overspray Studios, and food trucks galore at Providence City Hall.

On Saturday there will be mobile blacksmithing courtesy of The Steel Yard on Washington and Beverley Street, the Wilbury Theatre Group and Providence Improv will be performing at the Providence Public Library on Empire Street, and the One Providence Experience — curated by the Columbus Theatre — will be happening at The Ruins on Weybosset Street with Screaming Females, What Cheer? Brigade, Rough Francis, Last Good Tooth, Lovesick, Death Vessel, The Low Anthem and many others rocking the joint with Roz Raskin and Peter Glantz on hosting duties. The likes of reggae artist Rocky Dawuni and hip-hop phenom Chachi Carvalho will also be performing on the FirstWorks Stage.


The finale on Sunday showcases numerous exhibitions happening at the Providence Public Library. Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway will be having its final performance of the festival at the Providence Performing Arts Center on Weybosset Street and the Trinity Repertory Company on Washington Street will be showing Late Night Catechism and Oklahoma! for their theatrical offerings.

These are only a few things going on at PVDFest this weekend so check the complete schedule and the Facebook event page for everything that’ll be happening.

PVDFest 2 Flyer

PVDFest Flyer 1