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FirstWorks Live—Music at Roger Williams Park: CARNIVAL!

August 15, 2021 @ 1:30 pm - 6:00 pm


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.

Special guest artist Etienne Charles

FirstWorks Live—Music at Roger Williams Park is presented by FirstWorks in partnership with Roger Williams Park Conservancy and Providence Parks Department. A PVDFest Summer Happening

FirstWorks’ Carnival! 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.

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

Event Time: 1:30-6pm, see below for individual events, times, and locations.

Headliner Etienne Charles, Creole Soul, Roger Williams Park Bandstand

Event Time: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

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.

Providence Drum Troupe, Roger Williams Park, near the Bandstand

Event Time: 4:00-5:00 PM

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: Erin X. Smithers

Workshop, Carnival Music, Roger Williams Park Bandstand

Event Time: 2:15 PM – 3:00 PM

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

Workshop, The Steel Pan from J’ouvert to Carnival, Roger Williams Park, outside of the Casino

Event Time: 4:00-4:45 PM

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.


August 15, 2021
1:30 pm - 6:00 pm


Roger Williams Park Bandstand
Behind the RWP Casino
Providence, RI 02907 United States
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