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FirstWorks Festival: On the Plaza in 2012

Wonders await! On Saturday, September 29th, Greater Kennedy Plaza will be transformed into a multi-stage performance venue and pedestrian-only zone. From 4-11 PM, experience 200 world-class local, national and international performing artists for FREE in the heart of the city!

  • Watch Bandaloop fly through the air from the roof of One Financial Plaza.
  • Dance to the Afro-Caribbean rhythmof the Spanish Harlem Orchestra.
  • See the musical street spectacle, Squonk Opera, on a rolling two-story-tall stage.
  • Wander through awe-inspiring public art installations by RISD students.
  • Listen to the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra at Providence City Hall.
  • Eat your way through a variety of food trucks.
  • Sing along with the Festival Ballet Providence ‘Call Me Maybe’ flash mob.
  • Catch part of a roaming Shakespearean performance by Brown/Trinity RepMFAstudents, or a set by the Extraordinary Rendition Band.
  • Take in the second-to-last full WaterFire lighting of the season.
  • Cheer on the women of the Providence Roller Derby.

There’s so much more! Red Baraat, Zili Misik, Papermoon Puppet Theatre, Nan Jombang, etc. Review the complete line-up at, print a map & schedule or download a press release. Make the most out of your visit by arriving early and planning ahead. Visit for parking information in downtown Providence, or for park & ride solutions and bus relocation information. (If you’re looking for parking, we recommend that you avoid the Providence Place garage, which will probably fill up early. Instead, park in the large lots on Smith Street behind the State Administrative Office Building and the State Transportation Building. Both will be open and are free). For hotels and restaurants, the book-a-room tool at is also a great resource.

Firstworks is organizing this free festival of music, dance and performance in collaboration with the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, Mayor Angel Taveras; Providence’s Downtown Parks Conservancy; and over a dozen other cultural organizations. This creative placemaking project was funded by a major National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant and generous community sponsors.

Volunteer support for this event is also critical! You can register online to volunteer for a shift from 2:30-6 pm, 5:30-9 pm and/or 8:30 pm-midnight. Opportunities include working backstage, helping at an info or merchandise booth, or assisting with general production. You’ll receive a free t-shirt, and you’ll be a part of this amazing experience!

Photo (above): Squonk Opera, by John Altdorfer

Photo (featured): Nan Jombang (Sumatra)