FirstWorks Festival: On the Plaza 2012

Imagine a festival that transforms every corner of Greater Kennedy Plaza into a tapestry of light, sound and movement. People filling the streets as parades of artists and musicians stroll through the plaza bringing a river of color, international performers regale the crowds from raised outdoor stages, dancers twirl, leap and cartwheel across the side of downtown’s tallest buildings–all caught in the dazzling lights of the illuminated plaza.

You don’t have to imagine anymore because on Saturday September 29th, 2012 from 4-11pm you can see for yourself as we welcome the first ever FirstWorks Festival: On the Plaza in 2012!


Join us for a FREE night of  jaw-dropping performances, energetic music and inspiring art in the heart of downtown Providence.  For one night only Greater Kennedy Plaza will be transformed into an enormous outdoor performance venue, showcasing over 200 world-class local, national and international performing artists! Read the full line-up or plan your  visit at

Highlights include:

  • 30-stories above Greater Kennedy Plaza the award-winning dancers of  Bandaloopcreates a jaw-dropping nighttime spectacle as they spin, leap and cartwheel through the air!
  • Red Baraat brings their distinct brand of bhangra funk (from India by way of Brooklyn, NYC)  with a fusion of funk, go-go, Latin, and jazz influences and the Grammy award-winning musicians of Spanish Harlem Orchestra capture the classic sounds of salsa to keep you dancing throughout the evening.
  •  Squonk Opera’s six-piece art-rock band/performance troupe rolls into Kennedy Plaza with a retrofitted 13-ton, 38-foot long flatbed truck as a two-story tall stage. Catch this much talked-about carnivalesque, 45-minute cavalcade of spinning instruments and melodic bombast — plus a blimp with a face and working jaw.
And much, much more! All of Greater Kennedy Plaza will be alive with art, music and culture throughout the evening–so plan to come early and stay late! Be sure to look for the following performances:
  • Shakespeare in the Park with “As You Like It” and “Winter’s Tale” with Brown/Trinity Rep
  • Flashmob by Festival Ballet 
  • Unveiling of dramatic new public art by graduate students of RISD and the youth artists of CityArts for Youth and AS220 Photographic Mem program
  • Inspired performance of ”L’Histoire du Soldad” by the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and surprise appearances by the Extraordinary Rendition Band
  • Live demos by the women of the Providence Roller Derby
  • Strolling by creature crew Big Nazo 
  • Street art with the artistss of the The Avenue Concept led by Yarrow Thorne
  • A full Waterfire lighting
  • The best of Rhode Island food trucks at the Festival Cafe including Mama Kims Korean BBQ, Plouf Plouf Gastronomie, Mijos Tacos, Ma’s Kitchen and Rocket Fine Street Food!
  • and much, much more!

See the full line up here!

Bike, walk or hop in the car – but get here early!

You can visit for parking information in downtown Providence, or for park & ride solutions.


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

For  updates on Festival events visit here.

See the full artist line-up here.

Plan your visit here.

The festival is part of the Our Town creative placemaking project, funded by a major National Endowment for the Arts grant and generous community sponsors. The festival is a collaboration between Firstworks, the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, Mayor Angel Taveras; and the Providence’s Downtown Parks Conservancy (Greater Kennedy Plaza); and over a dozen other cultural organizations.