Ken Abrams, What’s Up Newports fabulous music, arts, and entertainment writer, joined this edition of What’sUpNewp Radio to chat about life after the Newport festivals. There’s Rhythm & Roots, Providence Folk Festival, and much more music that is sure to keep you busy from now thru Labor Day.
CHARLESTOWN, R.I. – Aug. 8, 2018 – PRLog — Rhythm & Roots asked, and music lovers answered. In a survey last year the Taj Mahal Trio was the most-requested artist and Steve Earle & the Dukes was No. 2. So that’s exactly who will be headlining the 21st annual music and dance festival, which transforms Charlestown’s Ninigret Park into a three-day, family-friendly party from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2.
Calling this year the “People’s Choice” festival, producer Chuck Wentworth says Taj Mahal, a legendary bluesman and Rhythm & Roots fan favorite, has performed in Charlestown three or four times. “I don’t think he’s ever had a bad show that I know of. He delivers every time.” Earle is performing as part of his 30th anniversary celebration of Copperhead Road, his breakthrough bluegrass-meets-
Popular requests also included the Texas Western swing and country favorite, Asleep at the Wheel, and Boulder, Colo.-based Leftover Salmon, one of the original jam bands that play what they describe as a “poly-ethnic, Cajun slamgrass.”
“Having these favorites in there is going to make for a really good show,” Wentworth says.
About 5,000 visitors per day, from as far as the Virgin Islands, California and Louisiana, are expected to take in the laid-back groove that has made the festival an annual reunion of sorts for families and friends who appreciate all forms of roots music: blues, swing, bluegrass, zydeco, Cajun and Americana. Performances are held every day from 1 p.m. to midnight on four stages. Buy tickets at rhythmandroots.com or call 401.783.3926.
While popular acts on the festival circuit have been requested this year, “We haven’t abandoned the concept of bringing in new music,” Wentworth says, noting that he is introducing fans to the “fantastic” 18-year-old duo from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nick Earle and Joe Coffin, discovered on one of his music trips to Canada.
Also new to Rhythm & Roots this year: Big Sam’s Funky Nation, a New Orleans blend of funk, jazz, rock and hip-hop; Larry Campbell,formerly with Levon Helm and the Midnight Ramblers, and Teresa Williams, a married couple who will perform Delta blues, folk and Americana music; bluegrass quartet Hot Rize, is celebrating a milestone and will play with the country quartet Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers. “I couldn’t resist bringing them in here for their 40thanniversary,”
This year’s lineup may represent the widest spectrum of roots music yet. Rhythm & Roots always offers a heavy dose of Louisiana music (Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Cedryl Ballou & the Zydeco Trendsetters, Bonerama, CJ Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band to name a few),and this year offers a sampling of Americana music(Girls, Guns and Glory and Session Americana, both from the Boston area) blues(Taj Mahal Trio and Earle and Coffin), bluegrass (Hot Rize), Tex-Mex (Los Texmaniacs) and swing (Asleep at the Wheel).
Music lovers can set up the blankets and chairs and relax at the main RHYTHM STAGE, which features at least seven performances a day, or check out daily music workshops followed by extended performances and jams at the ROOTS STAGE. The DANCE STAGE, with its covered, 4,400-square-
Other attractions of Rhythm & Roots:
Camp Out – Ninigret allows camping only during Rhythm & Roots, and about 1,500 people stay for the entire weekend. Last year, Rhythm & Roots added an extra night of camping on Thursday and a new upscale offer of “glamping” to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Those additions will continue. “Glampers” arrive at the festival to find a tent already set up and outfitted with four cots, a lantern, table and other amenities. Quiet camping spots are available as well.
Park Close to the Entrance – If you’re not camping and want fewer steps between you and the music, premier day parking is for you. The 100 spots close to the front gate will be can be purchased for $20 per day, or $50 for all three days. Spaces are limited. To reserve a spot purchase parking passes online at rhythmandroots.com/
Eat and Drink – Choose from barbecue ribs, Cajun/Creole specialties, chowder and clam cakes, gyros, Middle Eastern food and desserts, along with craft beers, wine, frozen lemonade and other beverages. Fan favorite Chili Brothers will attend again this year, and a new vendor, Gotta Q Smokehouse and BBQ of Cumberland, RI, has won the Motif award for best BBQ food truck two years in a row.
Join the Rhythm & Roots Youth Music Camp – It’s free.Children can learn to play Cajun fiddle, accordion, guitar, bass and mandolin from talented artists, including director and expert fiddler Pam Weeks. No festival ticket is needed for the camp, which ends with a graduation gig in the DANCE STAGE Sunday at 2 p.m.
Play With Your Kids – Story-telling by the well known Len Cabral, Marc Levitt and Thawn Harris parades, games, comedians, hula hooping, and one act every day by the Contemporary Theater Company in Wakefield can be found at the FAMILY STAGE.
Buy Tickets Today – Buying before August 24th saves $15 per day. Once tickets are in hand, it’s quicker and more efficient to get in to the event than to buy at the gate. Visit rhythmandroots.com or call 401.783.3926. Children 12 years and under are free, and 13- to 19-year-olds get in for half price. “The basis of it all is it’s a good family festival, and we try to keep that at the forefront,” Wentworth says.
Here’s the artist lineup: http://rhythmandroots.com/
Mardi Gras Ball Saturday
The 26th annual Cajun and Zydeco Mardi Gras Ball arrives in Cranston Saturday with great food, wide open dancing, and of course, the best music. Bands include favorites Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet, Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas, and the Knickerbocker All Stars, who will be playing a special set dedicated to Fats Domino. The event is run by Chuck Wentworth, producer of the annual Rhythm and Roots Festival. Details here.
Written by Ken Abrams, December 14, 2017
Jazz on Whaling City Sound
Jazz fans need look no further than New Bedford’s boutique label Whaling City Sound. The label releases high quality CD’s with comprehensive liner notes from noted local and national jazz artists. Recent releases from Terry Gibbs, Dave Zinno Unisphere, and NYC saxman Eric Wyatt and have garnered critical acclaim. Check the web site for ordering information and further details. Click here to support local jazz!
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Rhythm & Roots Festival Celebrates 22nd Anniversary
Ninigret Park, Charlestown, RI
September 4,5,6 2020
Labor Day Weekend
Rhythm & Roots Festival Early-Bird Tickets Available Jan. 15
The 23rd annual Rhythm & Roots Festival tickets will go on sale Jan. 15. Last year’s festival had the perfect weather, music, dancing, camping, food and fun that turned Charlestown’s Ninigret Park into a massive reunion. This year’s festival, set for Sept. 4, 5 and 6 over Labor Day weekend, will surely deliver all that and more.
Give yourself, or a loved one, something to look forward to this winter. Early-bird tickets will be available online Jan. 15 at the lowest price all year. Three-day tickets, with camping, are available at a cost of $175.
We’re busy planning the lineup for this year’s festival. Confirmed acts thus far include Rhiannon Giddens (of Carolina Chocolate Drops fame), Richard Thompson, Uprooted featuring Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root, Keller Williams, Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, Trigger Hippy, Donna the Buffalo, Amythyst Kiah and Tami Neilsen just to name a few. More stellar artists will be announced in the coming months.
We’ve decided to return to our tradition of beginning the music at 5 p.m. on Friday, with bands performing on the main stage and dance tent. The gate opens at 4 p.m. Ticket prices have been adjusted to reflect the shorter day. The Saturday and Sunday schedule will remain the same as in the past. Festival hours are: Friday 4 p.m. to midnight, Saturday and Sunday 12 p.m. to midnight. Music begins at 5 p.m. Fri. and 1 p.m. Sat. and Sun.
As the festival evolves, so does traditional music. Year after year, the two dozen or so bands who perform at Rhythm & Roots prove that roots music never stands still, so get your tickets early. These low prices are good for a short time, and tickets sell out quickly.