For years and years, Providence lacked a really great outdoor music venue. For a time, the now-defunct and much-missed WBRU Summer Concert Series filled that void, at least on Fridays during the hottest months, when the radio station would bring on-the-rise musicians to Providence for free concerts in Waterplace Park. We had no idea who they were when they played, and then all of a sudden you’d hear those same songs in car commercials.
But all of that changed when East Providence’s Bold Point Park opened its outdoor concert venue. With its sweeping views of upper Narragansett Bay and the Seekonk River, with India Point Park just across the water and the Providence skyline in the distance, it’s an easy draw for major national touring acts. And they’re coming. Last summer was Bold Point Park’s first full season, which brought in bands like The Roots, Halsey and Dropkick Murphys.
This summer, the concerts are bigger and more numerous than ever. Buddy Guy and Kenny Wayne Shepherd play on June 21, John Fogerty performs on Aug. 9 and The Beach Boys surf in on Aug. 16.
There are big festivals, that start when the sun is out and play into the night. The Royal Affair Tour, coming on June 30, is headlined by Yes and supported by Asia, and members of The Moody Blues and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The Roadblock Music Festival brings in Bad Religion. And the R.I. Reggae Festival has UB40 and Shaggy playing.
For ’90s kids, there’s Ben Folds and Violent Femmes, playing on Aug. 4, and Toad the Wet Sprocket and Big Head Todd and the Monsters on Aug. 23. And if you needed even more confirmation that country music is catching on in the Northeast, there are four big country shows happening: Josh Turner (June 29), Billy Currington (July 20), Lee Brice (July 21) and Chase Rice (Aug. 1).
What’s especially great about Bold Point Park is that it’s bringing visibility to an often-overlooked area of East Providence, just five minutes over the bridge from Providence, where most people assume all of the action is happening. The concert venue is just around the corner from The Comedy Connection, and in between are Al’s Waterfront Restaurant and the Black Duck Tavern. If you venture another five minutes down the road, you’ll find some of the best world cuisine in all of New England: Portuguese at O Dinis, and Korean at Sun & Moon.
Parking is easy in the lots at the venue, or the surrounding streets. You can also get there on two wheels via the East Bay Bike Path, or via a quick RIPTA bus ride. Seriously, it’s so close. And it beats the traffic getting to those Massachusetts venues any day.
Discover more things to do in the Providence area with the AAA travel guide.
Can’t get enough concerts? AAA members get exclusive discounts on concert and event tickets purchased through Ticket Monster.
Which Bold Point Park concert are you looking forward to this summer? Tell us in the comments.