Return to the thrill of live performances in a gorgeous outdoor setting!

Join FirstWorks for a journey from global Jazz to Americana, from hip-hop to sounds from the mountains and rhythms of the sea. Grab your lawn chair (or blanket) and enjoy extraordinary artists in the park throughout the summer starting Sunday, June 27. Free performances will take place at the Dalrymple Boathouse Lawn and Bandstand. Presented by FirstWorks in partnership with Roger Williams Park Conservancy and Providence Parks Department. [Lea esta página en español]

Past FirstWorks Live events

Two women in Polynesian dress hula dancing for an audience outdoorsPOLYNESIAN DANCE TROUPE NAPUA O’ POLYNESIA • June 27, 5 PM
Roger Williams Park Dalrymple Boathouse Lawn [map]

Let these mesmerizing dancers, drummers, and musicians spirit you away on a cultural tour of the Polynesian Islands of Hawaii and New Zealand, then on to Tahiti and the Philippines. No plane ticket required!

A PVDFest Summer Happening

A group of people in colorful vests holding musical instruments against a mountain backdropVOCES DE LOS ANDES • August 1, 5 PM
Roger Williams Park Dalrymple Boathouse Lawn [map]

As Rhode Island’s defacto ambassadors of Andean music, this multi-generational family band can be found performing at cultural festivals throughout New England. Let your spirit fly high with the evocative sounds of pan flute, charango, Spanish guitar, and los bombos —the backbone of Voces’ signature, contemporary-tinged instrumental and folk music.

CARNIVAL! • August 15, 1:30-6:00 PM
Roger Williams Park – see below for event locations and times
Shake off those blues and celebrate with the sounds, ideas and spirit of Carnival right here in Providence! Joyful sounds + smoking rhythm section + hot horns = all the ingredients to ignite a dance party at the height of summer.

Click Here for Carnival Event Schedule

A woman with a flower in her hair, a male trumpet player seated, a man in a plaid shirt and a baseball hatPVDFest Ideas Panel Discussion: The Legacy of J’ouvert in Carnival

1:30-2:15 PM Roger Williams Park outside of the Casino

J’ouvert, pronounced “jou-vay” from the French patois, is a traditional festival originating in Trinidad and Tobago but is celebrated throughout the Caribbean. Meaning “dawn” or “daybreak,” J’ouvert celebrations begin in the early morning and commemorates the emancipation of slavery. Historically, this festival occurs in August, but it has become associated as a pre-carnival celebration over time. As part of PVDFest Ideas, Etienne Charles (Trinidad), Gabriel “David” Alexis (Trinidad), and Becky Bass (St. Croix / Providence) will discuss the legacy of J’ouvert from its Caribbean origins and its integration into Carnival celebrations.

(photo credit: Erin X. Smithers)


Etienne-Charles-1200x675Workshop: Carnival Music

2:15-3:00 PM, Roger Williams Park Bandstand

Join Etienne Charles and his band to explore the music of Carnival. Take the time to learn about instruments, rhythms, and how it all works together to have a more immersive and informed listening (and dancing) experience during the band’s performance at 5:00 PM!

(photo credit: Erin X. Smithers)


Becky Bass Outdoor 1920x1080Workshop: The Steel Pan from J’ouvert to Carnival

4:00-4:45 PM Roger Williams Park, outside of the Casino

Two-time New England Urban Music Award winner Becky Bass (St. Croix / Providence) is known for her euphoric steel pan playing, soulful voice, and powerful stage presence. Bass will discuss and demonstrate the journey of the steel pan and its place in J’ouvert celebrations to the modern Carnival. Attendees are welcome to bring their percussion instruments to participate in this interactive workshop.

(photo credit: Erin X. Smithers)


Providence Drum TroupePerformance: Providence Drum Troupe

4:00-5:00 PM Roger Williams Park, near the Bandstand

Born from the pandemic, this troupe of acrobats, fire-arts, stilt-walkers, hoopers, lasers and dancers from near and far create funky beats with positive interactive energy demonstrating that living in harmony with one another is not an antiquated notion.

(photo credit: Bill Peresta)

A Black man in a checkered coat and straw hat playing the trumpet on a night time stageHeadline Performance
ETIENNE CHARLES • Creole Soul • August 15, 5:00-6:00 PM
Roger Williams Park Bandstand [map]

If any single musical artist today can embody the rich spectrum of Caribbean musical traditions, it is Etienne Charles. This Trinidad-born jazz trumpet master defies easy categorization. The New York Times hailed him as “an auteur” and JazzTimes described him as “a daring improviser who delivers with heart-wrenching lyricism.” Charles is a student of pan-Caribbean music, as fluent in the riffs of New Orleans second-line brass as he is in the many rhythms of the islands.

As both a bandleader and sideman Charles has worked with some of the finest talents in jazz today, and played with legends like Roberta Flack, Wynton Marsalis, and “the grand master of calypso” Lord Kitchener. Charles and his band bring “Creole Soul” and the sounds of his newest album “Carnival: The Sound of a People Vol. 1” to the FirstWorks Live stage, leading an excursion into the varied acoustic sounds, grooves, chants and rituals of his native Trinidad & Tobago Carnival.

A PVDFest Summer Happening

A man with a beard and a knit cap singing into a microphone on a large stage with other musicians, male and female, behind himCHACHI CARVALHO AND THE INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS • August 29, 5 PM
Roger Williams Park Bandstand [map]

One of the most prolific and enduring artists on the local hip-hop scene, the positive messages and everyday struggles reflected in Chachi’s lyrics have earned him a loyal fan following. Rooted in classic hip-hop, Chachi’s sound is constantly evolving, seamlessly incorporating both live instrumentation and his Cape Verdean roots. This repeat PVDFest headliner can be relied on to uplift the party with beats, rhymes, and life wherever—and with whomever—he takes the stage.

A PVDFest Summer Happening
Related event: People’s Creative Workshop, “E.M.C.E.E.” (Etiquette, Musicianship, Control, Engagement, Energy) with Chachi Carvalho • 3:00-4:00 PM • More Info

A man with short grey hair playing the trumpet with his eyes closedLATIN JAZZ MASTER CARLOS DE LEON • September 12, 5 PM
Roger Williams Park Dalrymple Boathouse Lawn [map]

Rhode Island-based trumpet powerhouse Carlos de Leon is one of the most sought-after jazz performers in New England. A native son of the Dominican Republic, de Leon has graced stages worldwide, performing with notable Latin jazz maestros Tito Puentes, Tito Rodríguez and Francisco “Machito” Grillo. Bring your dancing shoes and take advantage of some hot rhythms!

A PVDFest Summer Happening

A middle-aged female with jet black hair seated with an acoustic guitarTHEA HOPKINS | IN THE ROUNDHOUSE • September 19, 5 PM
Roger Williams Park Dalrymple Boathouse Lawn [map]

Performing-songwriter Thea Hopkins’ voice sounds like no one else’s. Love is at the essence. Whether telling a story or conjuring a mood, Thea’s songs dig deep. She describes her music as “Red Roots Americana.” A member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe of Martha’s Vineyard, her ancestry also includes Iroquois, African-American, Irish, and Portuguese. Thea creates a new kind of Americana, with influences ranging from classic country to contemporary folk. Her song “The Ghost of Emmett Till” won the Grand Prize in the 22nd annual Great American Song Contest in March 2021. The song was selected from over 1,900 entries from 43 countries. Honored by the Western Arts Alliance in 2019 as a Native Launchpad Artist, she’s performed on prestigious stages in the U.S. and Europe, from D.C.’s Kennedy Center to the Summertyne Americana Festival in Newcastle (UK). Come hear what all the buzz is about!

Thea will be accompanied by Native American flutist Hawk Henries, a member of the Chaubunagungamaug band of Nipmuck, a people indigenous to what is now southern New England. Hawk has been composing original flute music and making flutes using only hand tools and fire for over 25 years. His musical compositions are a reflection of his thinking that we each have the capacity to make a change in the world. He has presented his music and shared his words at Harvard Divinity School/Harvard Graduation, Northeastern University, Brown University, Abbe Museum, and the National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian Museum). Hawk is committed to music as a traditional art form and as a vehicle for building bridges of communication and mutual respect.

Dawn Dove, Narragansett/Niantic Elder will conduct an opening blessing at the start of the performance. Dove is a cultural educator and traditional knowledge keeper whose life work is dedicated to the continuation of the culture, language, and traditions of her people. Dove is a published author and editor whose work includes “Through Our Eyes, An Indigenous View of Mashapaug Pond,” edited by Dawn Dove and Holly Ewald, and was included in “Dawnland Voices, An Anthology of Indigenous Writing from New England,” edited by Siobhan Senier.

Photo credit: Ryuji Suzuki

A PVDFest Summer Happening

Tap dancers and musicians performing on an outdoor stage for a crowd of spectatorsMUSIC FROM THE SOLE • Now September 25, Performances at 12 & 2:30 PM
Providence Public Library, 150 Empire Street, Providence [map]

“Rigorous and exciting!” -The Financial Times

Fusing Brazilian music and rhythms with body percussion and tap traditions, Music from the Sole is led by tap dancer Leonardo Sandoval (recently named one of “25 to Watch” in 2021 by Dance Magazine) and bassist-composer Gregory Richardson. The ensemble celebrates tap’s roots in the African diaspora, reflecting choreographic and musical influences from Sandoval’s native Brazil, and Richardson’s talent combining funk, house, jazz, and Afro-Cuban music.

Audiences of all ages will be mesmerized—Sandoval “managed to convey the idea that he was gliding just above his feet.” NY Times. The ensemble is joined by Providence-based tap artist, Orlando Hernández for their FirstWorks Live performance.

Photo credit: Christopher Duggan

A PVDFest Summer Happening

Self-guided bike routes on the free Ride Spot app*
Downtown PVD to RWP Boathouse Lawn
Downtown PVD to RWP Bandstand

*Bike routes courtesy of Providence Streets Coalition. The Ride Spot app is available for free download on the Apple and Google Play stores.

*FW_stacked-263x132Providence Parksrwp-conservancy-logo-horz-color-trans
Providence Tourism Council



Special thanks to Providence Tourism Council for generous support of FirstWorks Live—Music at Roger Williams Park

New England Foundation for the ArtsFirstWorks Live: Carnival!, Thea Hopkins and Music From The Sole performances are both funded in part by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies.

Thea Hopkins is presented as a FirstWorks Earth First program, with support from National Grid Foundation, CDQ Charitable Trust and Nordson Corporation Foundation.

Watch Highlights from our Summer Beats 2020 Series at Roger Williams Park