Annual Waterfront Reggae Festival Returns to Providence

Photo “India Point Park” by Timothy Burling is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Summer is nigh, and that means Reggae music for the massive!

For those of us hip to the scene, reggae and ska shows are just another Friday or Saturday out in the city. Bands and DJs keep us dancing all year round. But for the casual listener, the summer season offers up great big can’t-miss festivals.

And for the second year in a row, Providence, Rhode Island, will be home to one of them.

Although only in its infancy at the India Point Park location, August 13th is actually the 7th Waterfront Reggae Festival. Having had to move from Newport, RI when the Yachting Center was shut down due to complaining neighbors, Providence has since become its new home.

India Point Park is nestled between interstate 195 and the Providence waterfront and was recently redone. During the 90’s it hosted many WBRU summer concerts (of which the Specials were one) as well as outings and events of all stripes. It’s a beautiful strip of land along the water and the organizers couldn’t have picked a better location.

Here’s a quick rundown on what stood out from last year.

Parking is hit or miss. There are no parking lots to speak of, but plenty of on street parking as long as you don’t mind walking, and the Festival had shuttles ferrying folk from downtown Providence parking lots. Some people skipped parking (and tickets) altogether and just sailed their boats into the harbor and within 60 feet of the park.

In typical Reggae fashion, the vibe was laid back and peaceful despite the huge number of people in attendance. Vendors sold merch and there was plenty of food and drink on site. Security getting in was tight, but the local police weren’t busting anyone’s chops despite the pervasive scent of reefer in the air.

The sound system was mighty and there were people having rooftop parties’ blocks away that could hear the music just as clear and just as loud as people in the front row.

If you are pushing forty, and you killed your knees skanking to 3rd wave Ska, I suggest you bring a lawn chair or blanket and stake out a spot. Ten hours on your feet is no joke.

You know what else is no joke? Yellowman. He performed at last years event and it was my first time seeing him. Holy highkick!! I hope I have that much energy when Im in my 60s.

Everything wraps up by 10 PM and in Providence and that leaves you with plenty to do within walking distance or a short drive. Last year, the Parlour on North Main St. hosted a Reggae after-party and they are doing the same this year as well.

All in all, last year’s festival was an amazing time and I expect this year to be no different. This year’s festival features The Wailers, Etana, Jesse Royal, The Cornerstone, and The Ravers. With The Wailers headlining, I’d get tickets sooner rather than later.

Festival Details

7th Annual Waterfront Reggae Festival featuring The Wailers, Etana, Jesse Royal, The Cornerstone, and The Ravers
August 13, 2016, 12:00 pm
India Point Park, Gano St, Providence, RI 02903
$41 advance/$51 day-of event, Purchase tickets,
Further detailsJoin the Facebook Event
This is event is all ages, kids under 12 years old are free.

Listen to this year’s bands

Clips from Last Year