The Blackstone River Theatre (BRT) will move its programming outside to present its 11th annual Blackstone River Theatre Summer Solstice Festival at Diamond Hill Park, Rte. 114, Cumberland, on Saturday, June 17! The Summer Solstice Festival will run from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. with four stages focusing on Celtic and world music, dance and culture, plus a children’s activities area and 35 craft and food vendors. Rain date is June 18.
Featured entertainers include international performers and regional favorites. Three music stages run continuously throughout the day as does a stage dedicated to Irish step dance. A popular returning feature is an Irish session tent where patrons are invited to bring their instruments and sit in and play with many of the festival performers.
“Our goal is to provide a full day of entertainment that will appeal to every age group,” says Russell Gusetti, BRT executive director and festival producer. “For the price of a single concert ticket, audiences can see eight hours of music at a family-friendly festival.”
Gusetti looks forward to returning to Diamond Hill Park where more than 1,300 people came to last year’s festival – the first able to be held since 2019 due to the covid pandemic. “It’s a beautiful and very walkable park in Cumberland and people are always amazed when they see how we’ve set it up,” he explains.
Featured performers – most doing two sets each – include the Atwater~Donnelly Trio, Cantrip, Kevin Crawford, Cillian Vallely, Colin Farrell and Alan Murray, Kevin Doyle’s Roscommon Soles, Eastern Medicine Singers, Genticorum, Grosse Isle, Hildaland, Turas, and The Vox Hunters. There will again be a special tribute set of “The Music of Jimmy Devine.” Devine, who passed away in June 2021, was was one of the true lynchpins of the Irish scene in Providence and will be honored by many close friends playing the music he wrote and loved.
There will again be Irish step dance featuring 35 young students from Tir Na Nog Irish Dance, a noncompetitive school run out of Blackstone River Theatre. A children’s activity area will feature face painting, sand art, a maze, henna, and Marvelous Marvin’s Circus Skills workshop.
Admission is $20 adults, $15 seniors, $5 children ages 6-15, while children under 5 get in free. For information and to purchase tickets, call 401-725-9272. Festival sponsors include Navigant Credit Union, The Valley Breeze Newspapers, Sound Advice LLC, Town of Cumberland, Quebec Government Office in Boston, Open MRI of New England, and Angelo’s Palace Pizza.
Also returning will be the popular after-festival Music Session on Saturday evening, 8:30-11:30 p.m., back at Blackstone River Theatre itself, 549 Broad St., Cumberland. The separate admission event will feature virtually all festival performers playing and dancing in a relaxed Irish session atmosphere. Admission is $25 and includes complimentary food and a cash bar.