Warren Folks Fest returns Aug. 28

By Ethan Hartley
Posted 8/19/21

Warren Folks Fest is a celebration of all things local and all things artistic. It will be held on Saturday, Aug. 28 from 1-8 p.m. at the mill complex at 30 Cutler Street.

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Warren Folks Fest returns Aug. 28


The Collaborative, a Warren-based nonprofit arts organization, is eagerly awaiting the return of its hallmark summer event and biggest fundraiser — the 5th annual Warren Folks Festival — which was cancelled last year due to COVID.

The festival is a celebration of all things local and all things artistic, and encapsulates the creative energy found throughout the town. It will be held on Saturday, Aug. 28 from 1-8 p.m. at the mill complex at 30 Cutler Street.

“We’re just excited to get back to it,” said Collaborative Executive Director Uriah Donnelly. “People can expect more of the same of what we’ve done every year, which is live music —10 bands on two stages — lots of food from local restaurants, a big arts festival with over 40 different art vendors and makers of things. There’s just so much happening that there’s something happening for everybody.”

Festival attendees can look forward to plenty of food from local favorites, including Balasco’s Pizzeria, Chomp Kitchen & Drinks, Hunky Dory, Bywater Restaurant, Chelsea’s Creamery, Basil & Bunny and Sarcastic Sweets. Pair those treats with adult beverages supplied by event sponsor Narragansett Beer, or go classy with a glass from Rumford-based winery Anchor & Hope. Or, for something alcohol-free, swig some soft drinks suppled by Westerly’s Granny Squibb’s or grab a fresh squeeze from Warren’s own juice bar, Bevvies.

Music lovers will have a wide array of genres to enjoy, from the smooth instrumental tones of the Brian James SoulJazz Quarter, to the surf rock sounds of the Z Boys, and the genre bending Providence hip hop artist The Waterbearer. Dida, a New York-based singer-songwriter is making the trip with her band as well. With the other stage providing a space for more intimate singers and songwriters to express their own musical talents, the hope is to provide a little something for everyone — particularly for the locals.

“The reason we title it “Warren ‘Folks’ with an ‘S’ is because it’s certainly not a folk festival,” Mr. Donnelly explained. “It’s really about Warren folks. The goal early on was to highlight what people in Warren were doing. So you could come to the festival and see Warren restaurants and artists and sometimes Warren bands or Warren-based bands. You get a good sense of what some of us are trying to do here in town and celebrate all things local.”

All proceeds from goods sold at the event go to the vendors or, in the case of Narragansett products (which are donated from the company), back to The Collaborative to help them continue with their mission of providing arts education enrichment opportunities, such as arts academies, art galleries and poetry readings.

“Everything goes back into us doing more artsy type things,” Mr. Donnelly summarized. “For us, we just want to have fun and party and have it be a fun safe good time for everybody. Did I mention it’s free?”

Attendees are encouraged to walk or bike to the event, as parking is very limited for the event. Click here for more information on the day’s events.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.