PVDFest 2019 will showcase innovative ideas, incredible culture, 1000 acts of kindness and more in the streets of Providence

Thursday, March 21, 2019

PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism and founding partner FirstWorks today announced details for the fifth edition of PVDFest, Providence’s signature arts festival, happening June 6-9, 2019. Providence’s world-renowned artistic, cultural and culinary communities join forces with artists from around the corner and across the globe during this free four-day festival to deliver a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“PVDFest is the unique, awe-inspiring expression of our community here in Providence,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “As the festival marks its fifth year, it is important to continue building upon the tradition of elevating local talent and supporting the exchange of creative ideas. I look forward to welcoming this year’s ideas, performances, and installations- as well as showing the world what it means to party with Providence!”

Since its creation in 2015, PVDFest has featured over 5,000 artists, performers and curators, and has brought 100,000 attendees during the festival weekend into the heart of Downtown. A genuinely unique arts festival, PVDFest has grown year after year to provide new and exciting ways to bring the community together through creativity. PVDFest encourages participants to experience what Providence means to them—while exploring artistic activation around every corner.

As Founding Partner for PVDFest, Providence-based non-profit FirstWorks curates astonishing spectacles and world-class music and dance performances that light up Downtown, spotlight international stars and elevate local favorites. Festival-goers will be dancing in the streets and discovering global culture from the world’s stage.

“Each June festival-goers gather in the streets to experience the magical performances, tastes, sounds, and sights of PVDFest. The memories of spectacles and creativity from the world’s stage are indelible. With surprises at every corner, downtown Providence transforms into a joyful, multi-stage extravaganza,” said Kathleen Pletcher, Executive Artistic Director of FirstWorks. “Engaging audiences and our community with world-class artists is central to FirstWorks’ mission. This year, we are thrilled to bring performers from Italy, Uganda and Los Angeles to Providence. We are proud to be the founding partner for this festival which has become a focal point in the calendar for the Creative Capital .”

For this year’s festival, FirstWorks brings “Quadro,” eVenti Verticali‘s suspended dance performance, to the streets- and skies- of Providence. Inspired by the dream of dancing on a flying wall, the Italian vertical theater group will perform their unique blend of theatre, circus acrobatics, and dance on an aerial stage suspended from a construction crane. Having performed in twenty countries around the world, PVDFest will be the group’s Providence debut and a great reminder always to look up!

Fierce footwork and female force are set to take PVDFest by storm this year with The Syncopated Ladies, an all-female tap squad sensation founded by Emmy-nominated choreographer Chloe Arnold. The Syncopated Ladies’ viral videos have amassed over 50 million views worldwide. They have worked with mega-star Beyonce and performed on hit television shows including Good Morning America, The Ellen Show, and FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance. Presented by FirstWorks, The Syncopated Ladies are set to bring their captivating performances and unique flair to the stages of PVDFest.

Salsa-sensation Grupo Niche will be bringing the lively sounds of trumpetas y timbales to this year’s PVDFest. Founded 40 years ago in the Cali, Colombia, Niche is one of those long-lived national treasures capable of bringing together salsa-enthusiasts from across the world and of different generations. Get ready to dance the night away as they debut in Providence on Friday night of the festival.

Our famous culinary scene will once again take center stage in greater Kennedy Plaza with the return of the PVDFest Food Village. Recognized by Forbes Magazine as the “next destination for the food trotter,” over 50 food trucks and booths will line the outskirts of the plaza to serve a wide variety of culinary delights sure to satisfy every festival goer on Saturday and Sunday. Providence is known for our food here– our pasta, our pastelitos and our pretzels.

In that spirit, local craft beer and pretzel hub The Malted Barley will be hosting a world-record setting competitive eating challenge. Major League Eaters, pretzel-enthusiasts, and PVDFest goers will be given the opportunity to partake in the first-ever Malted Barley World Pretzel-Eating Championship. A new world record in the pretzel-eating discipline will be attempted in the heart PVDFest’s beloved Food Village in Kennedy Plaza on Saturday, June 8. Competitors will have eight minutes to eat as many original Malted Barley Pretzels as they can.

“The Malted Barely is more than a craft beer and pretzel restaurant; it’s a place where people can reconnect with friends, relax after a long day, or get to know their neighbors,” said Malted Barley owner Ron Koller. “PVDFest’s celebration of food and community is a perfect fit with our brand. We are very excited to be participating in this year’s PVDFest with the first-ever, world-record setting Malted Barely Competitive Pretzel Eating Competition, sanctioned by the Major League Eating Federation.”

PVDFest is about exchanging creative concepts within the community. The return of the PVDFest Ideas conference will honeycomb the festival week with panel discussions, keynote speakers, and public discussions showcasing innovations in heritage and technology. Experiencing the Creative Capital through the lenses of the humanities and arts, this year’s PVDFest Ideas brings together scholars, practitioners, and artists from around the city. Programming features ideas about the city that are interactive, playful, and accessible to all participants.

“PVDFest is a signature celebration for our city, and demonstrates to our neighbors – near and far – that Providence truly is the ‘Creative Capital,’” said City Council President Pro Tempore Michael Correia. “The festival showcases the creativity of our city’s talented artists while bringing together our culturally diverse community in what looks like a never-ending celebration. I look forward to this year’s festival.”

Building on five years of connecting community through events like our street long community dinner table and our city block wide Bachata dance party, PVDFest once again calls on Providence residents to be a part of the festival magic. Aligned with Mayor Elorza’s City of Kindness initiative that was announced this year, visitors and residents are invited to take part in the first PVDFest 1000 Acts of Kindness challenge. Kindness kiosks will be available throughout the four-day festival to encourage, support, and record 1000 acts of kindness made by festival-goers. This challenge is another opportunity to spread kindness the #PVDway.

No PVDFest would be complete without dancing in the streets. The Extraordinary Rendition Band (ERB) will be leading this year’s PVDFest Parade, celebrating their ten year anniversary as a group with three curated sets throughout the festival weekend. These sets will include projection, spoken word, a live communal musical experience, and more opportunities to dance in the streets. Don’t miss the parade at 4:30PM, set to travel down Washington Street—sign up to participate today.

Some of the most amazing parts of PVDFest are the parts that stay long after the parade is done. Each year the festival supports art projects of all kinds that activate the festival grounds and bring the streets to life. This year, three temporary public art installations have been commissioned to do just that. Three artists were selected through a competitive process to display their work, engaging audiences and transforming the landscape of Downtown throughout the duration of the festival and summer.

Selected artists who will be displaying work during this year’s festival include:

PNEUHAUS

Design collective PNEUHAUS, experts in all things inflatable, will debut their new project Pnit.

AREA C Projects

AREA C Projects is a Providence base public art practice focused on revealing unexpected points of commonality in shared surroundings.

Vinnie Ray

Providence-based artist Vinnie Ray is an artist focused on inspiring positive energy and creating interventions that prompt positive vibrations through various mediums: installation art, street art, and studio art.
Full bios of these artist teams are available at PVDfest.com.

Providence’s maker community will be elevated through this year’s Mini Maker Faire, offering participants the opportunity to pursue creative interests in a playful, interactive way. Once again in partnership with AS220, Saturday’s festivities will include 30 booths and family-fun working stations to encourage participants to think, tinker and explore making their own memories at this year’s event.

A new addition, Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island is bringing their Welcoming Rhode Island Festival to this year’s PVDFest. This event encourages participants to celebrate ancestry and cultures from across the globe and attend a live citizen swearing-in ceremony, hosted by the organization right within the heart of Burnside Park. This inspiring moment of welcoming new citizens into the community is magnified by the songs and stories of Samite (Uganda), a Ugandan expatriate invited by FirstWorks to perform in concert. Once a refugee and a pilgrim, Samite is an acclaimed musician and humanitarian who explores the resiliency of the human spirit through the sounds and stories of the modern African diaspora.

PVDFest is also joining the Rhode Island Day of Portugal for their annual festival, with activities happening throughout Saturday and Sunday. Join thousands of participants in honoring the spire of fire Chama da Portugalidade, a cultural ceremony bridging tradition, values and instilling community pride. The Sunday night torch procession from Providence City Hall to the ALEX AND ANI City Center represents a deep yearning for the homeland, the pursuit of the American dream, and is a significant cultural event for many festival goers.

PVDFest is made possible in large part by the generous sponsors who continue to support Providence’s creative culture year-round, including the Providence City Council, the Providence Tourism Council, WasteManagement, Tufts Health Plan, ALEX AND ANI, Prov Port, Waterson Terminals, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island and others.

“Waste Management is proud to be the lead sponsor for the 2019 PVDFest again,” said James Nocella, Area Manager at Waste Management. We see this as the marquis community cultural event for the greater Providence region. We applaud Mayor Elorza’s vision in the creation of PVDFest and Waste Management is pleased to help bring his vision to reality.

In addition to sponsors, PVDFest relies on the contributions of the hard-working volunteers to make the event a memorable experience for everyone. Be a part of the magic by volunteering for a few hours or a whole day this year by signing up today.

A full line-up and list of events will be released in the coming weeks. For more information visit PVDFest.com, follow @PVDFest on twitter, @PVD.Fest on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

About Program Partners and Curators:

About FirstWorks

FirstWorks is a non-profit based in Providence, Rhode Island whose purpose is to build the cultural, educational and economic vitality of its community by engaging audiences with world-class performing arts and education programs. Over the past 15 years, FirstWorks festivals, performances and programs have attracted more than 500,000 participants. The FirstWorks Arts Learning Program reaches more than 4,500 students from public and charter schools across Rhode Island with transformative, arts-based learning experiences. Hailed as a national model for developing new audiences and featuring in-depth artist residencies, FirstWorks has brought to Rhode Island new works by Yo-Yo Ma, Urban Bush Women, Laurie Anderson, Kronos Quartet, and Paul Taylor Dance Company, among others.

FirstWorks is honored to collaborate with the City of Providence as a founding partner of PVDFest. In this role, FirstWorks curates internationally celebrated artists and astonishing street spectacles to activate the public spaces of Providence and engage the community with spectacular performance experiences. Featured FirstWorks artists at PVDFest have included Angelique Kidjo, Jazz at Lincoln Center and artists from across the globe. Since 2012, FirstWorks and the Department of Art, Culture, and Tourism have been awarded three prestigious “Our Town” grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Learn more at First-Works.org

About Providence’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism

The Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism ensures the continued development of a vibrant and creative city by integrating arts and culture into community life while showcasing Providence as an international cultural destination. The Department envisions a Providence that is a global destination for arts, humanities, and design, where neighbors celebrate diverse cultural and artistic experiences, and where all residents and visitors feel that a relationship to arts practice, making, and culture is a part of their everyday lives.

About AS220

AS220 is a non-profit community arts organization located in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. We are an unjuried, uncensored forum for the arts: a space to access tools, technology and knowledge; a space to come together, collaborate, innovate, experiment and take risks. AS220 offers artists opportunities to live, work, exhibit and perform in our facilities, including: four rotating gallery spaces; a performance stage; a black box theater; a print shop; a darkroom and media arts lab; a fabrication and electronics lab; a dance studio; a youth program focusing on youth under state care and in the Rhode Island juvenile detention facility; 47 affordable live/work studios for artists; and a bar and restaurant. AS220 cultivates a creative community that continues to have a profoundly transformative impact on the city of Providence. We are dedicated to supporting artists and enhancing the cultural opportunities for all the people of Rhode Island.

About The Malted Barley

The Malted Barley, established in Rhode Island in 2010, and now franchising with a new location opening soon in Florida, offers craft-beer and handmade gourmet pretzels made with passion and pride. With 37 craft draft lines, and another 45+ bottles and cans, we have an amazing variety to satisfy anyone’s thirst. All of our food is made from scratch and baked to order, including our amazing signature pretzels, pretzel sandwiches, and pretzel desserts. The Malted Barley currently has two R.I. locations, one in Downtown Providence and another in Westerly, along with The Malted Barley Brewing Company which makes our delicious house brews. For more information about The Malted Barley, The Malted Barley Brewing Company or The Malted Barley Franchising Company, please visit www.themaltedbarley.com.

About Major League Eating

Major League Eating (MLE), the world governing body of all stomach-centric sports, conducts more than 80 events annually, including the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest in Coney Island, N.Y. The competitive eating community is made up of more than 8,000 veteran and rookie gurgitators who travel the nation in search of top titles and the glory that they provide. For more information, visit www.majorleagueeating.com, www.facebook.com/eatfast or Instagram/twitter @eatingcontest.

About RI Day of Portugal

RI Day of Portugal and Portuguese Heritage in Rhode Island each year aims to celebrate the holiday, Dia de Portugal, de Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas (Day of Portugal, Camões and the Portuguese Communities), in the State of Rhode Island. The RI Day of Portugal Committee preserves the traditions of the Portuguese culture for future generations and promotes the contribution of the Portuguese people, language and culture to the rich fabric of Rhode Island.