Make Music
Rhode Island


Make Music Rhode Island is an annual free, outdoor day of music held on the summer solstice, June 21st.  For Rhode Island, this is our first year.  We have a good representation by our towns including  Providence, East Greenwich, Newport, Westerly, Pawtucket, East Providence and others!  Check us out and get in touch to get involved for this years event in your own neck of the woods!

Completely different from a typical music festival, Make Music is open to anyone who wants to take part. Every kind of musician — young and old, amateur and professional, of every musical persuasion — pours onto streets, parks, plazas, and porches to share their music with friends, neighbors, and strangers. All of it is free and open to the public.

Last year, over 750 cities around the world threw city or state wide music celebrations on June 21st, and now Rhode Island joins as the 39th state as part of this international celebration.

It all started 34 years ago in France.  In 1982, Jack Lang and his staff at the Ministry of Culture dreamed up an idea for a new kind of musical holiday. They imagined a day where free music would be everywhere, all around the city: street corners, parks, rooftops, gardens, and store fronts.  And, unlike a typical music festival, anyone and everyone would be invited to join and play music, or host performances. The event would take place on the summer solstice, June 21, and would be called Fête De La Musique. (In French, the name means both “festival of music” and “make music!”)

Amazingly enough, this dream has come true. The Fête has turned into a true national holiday: France shuts down on the summer solstice and musicians take over. Almost 8% of the country (5 million people) have played an instrument or sung in public for the Fête de la Musique, and 53% of the country (35 million people) comes out each year to listen.

Get involved, make music, host a performance, attend, donate and enjoy the music and your neighbors.

2017 Listings: Wednesday, June 21st



The event marries two key components, music makers and venues.  The music makers can be existing or ad-hoc groups or individuals.  Venues are the places they can make music … parks, local businesses, front porches, or any other outdoor space.  You can provide one or both.  Our job includes marrying the two together.

To make this easier, a web site (similar to a dating site) is available for the music makers and venues to register and to connect the two, here’s how.

Music Makers

Want to play? There’s always room in the band.

We invite musicians, rappers and instrumentalists of all kinds to collaborate on making June 21 a musical masterpiece. Singers, church choirs, jazz combos, rock bands, glee clubs, marching bands, mariachis, and every other kind of musician, of any age group or skill level, are all welcome.  We even have room for the Rhode Island traditional playing of the Clam Shell.  Register your music making here.


Water Place Park

Where will we make music?  All across the state … Parks, squares, businesses, churches, clubs, maybe your front porch.  Any outdoor location works.  Register your venue here.

See Schedule for more details


How can you support Make Music Rhode Island?

Make Music Rhode Island is free and open to the public. In order to make this happen we need your help!

Make Music Rhode Island is a volunteer-organized event and thrives on the support of our community. As Make Music Rhode Island enters its first year, all the costs associated with producing this awesome, free music festival is currently funded by our benevolent organizers and generous donors. Help us produce YOUR festival by being a sponsor today.

The work of a small army of volunteers makes it possible to pull this off on such a limited budget, but unavoidable costs remain, including:

  • publicity and advertising
  • software development
  • insurance
  • event permits
  • security
  • trash management

Help us cover these costs, and be part of bringing the musical merriment to the summer solstice!

For sponsorship opportunities, contact

For donations, donors should use our Kickstarter 

See our sponsors.


Our organizing sponsor is Building Bridges Providence.



Thank you to our financial and in-kind sponsors:



General Information

What is Make Music Rhode Island?

Make Music Rhode Island is: Music Performed by Anyone, Enjoyed by Everyone

When and where will Make Music Rhode Island take place?A way for all to celebrate the summer solstice, June 21st, enjoying the longest day of the year, while sampling a buffet of musical merriment. A DIY statewide celebration when almost any way to make music can and will happen. MMRI is open to music makers of all ages, skill levels, and musical persuasions.

MMRI will take place on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 … the same date that a 750 cities worldwide celebrate Fête de la Musique.
Performances can be scheduled from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM in spaces open for public participation throughout Rhode Island. Sidewalks, parks, and more may become impromptu musical stages, dance floors, and social meeting points. Last year we saw oodles of amateur musicians and every ilk of professional musicians pop up all over cities around the world to perform for new audiences and neighbors alike, and we’re sure 2017 will only be better.

Why isn’t it always on a weekend?

We celebrate the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, with a Make Music celbration as do over 750 cities around the world. The Summer Solstice occurs on June 21st. The celebration doesn’t always land on a weekend. Think of it like Halloween. Halloween doesn’t always land on a weekend.

Who can participate?

MMRI is Performed by Anyone, Enjoyed by Everyone – all over Rhode Island. Students, amateurs, part-time professionals, and established artists are all welcome. There is no audition process to be included in the musical merriment, and MMRI is open to all ages, skill levels, and persuasions of music makers, All you need to do is sign up, at  Then make your match with a venue, show up, and perform. Surprise Rhode Island with your creativity! Even non-musicians are invited to participate by dancing, singing along with a crowd, or even helping to organize a flash mob.

Are dancers included in the Make Music Rhode Island fun?

Yes. They are more than welcome.  Of course, the venue for dance must be large enough for both the dancers and the audience.

Participants Info

Where may I perform?

Performances will take place in a variety of outdoor spaces. The goal is

to generate a continuous soundscape of music as people walk around participating spaces. Unlike other Rhode Island summer music events, MMRI does not have one central venue. We envision music corridors throughout all neighborhoods of Rhode Island. If you have a rock band, and you want to set up outside your building and play for your neighbors, do it! If you want to perform Bach’s cello suites outside your friend’s convenience store, you can do that, too. Almost anything is possible.

Sidewalks: Many musicians will perform on the sidewalks of Rhode Island. MMRI organizers will secure the necessary permits from the city, so that musicians don’t have to deal with any of the paperwork or pay fees.

Parks: MMRI has reserved some prime Rhode Island park locations for June 21st concerts. Those locations are listed as “on hold” in our matchmaking system, and can be reserved as a venue on a first-come, first-served basis by contacting You may register for all other parks yourself, and as with other public spaces, we will secure the necessary permits for you. See more details on parks below.

Community Centers, Gardens and Plazas: Some public spaces are privately controlled by community groups, management companies, or individuals. These can be fantastic performance locations – quiet, yet accessible. People who control these spaces will make many of them available on our website. If a perfect site isn’t listed, check with the owners to see if they’re interested!

Private Spaces: Restaurants, businesses, community organizations and homeowners may wish to offer their locale as a venue. We welcome all comers. The only requirements are that the performance space is open to the public at no cost and is outdoors.

To host performances at your venue, go to

How long will each performance last?

You have complete artistic control. It’s your concert. If you want to take an extended 20-minute bass solo, you don’t have to ask our permission! In other cities we’ve seen performances as short as a single song and as long as 2 hours. Artists and venues must agree to the length of your performance during the matchmaking process. Then, when you perform you must stick to the set length you agreed to, so that the statewide published performance schedule stays on track.

May performers take full advantage of Make Music Rhode Island and perform all over town?

Yes. But scheduling is key.   Be certain to leave enough time to get to your next gig and tell the each venue about your plans.

What if a band signs up now, and has to back out later?

Once your event is confirmed by your chosen location, and by the MMRI organizers, we will block off your spot and secure your permits. We are counting on you to perform! If you do need to cancel, it is your responsibility to find another performer to take your spot. Please let the location – and us – know about all program changes ASAP, so that MMRI and the venue can help find a replacement if you are having difficulties.

What if I play an instrument, but don’t have my own band?

Join or organize a “Mass Appeal” event!  The big idea is that scores of musicians who have never performed together before can band together to perform massive pieces. Think, a platoon of accordions playing the “Beer Barrel Polka”, barbershop quartets singing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”. You get the idea! Each performance works differently, depending on the genre, the instrument, and the location. You can connect with other performers at

I am part of a large drumming circle, and we’d like to perform at the solstice sunrise.

Noise ordinances and common sense are not suspended for MMRI. Basically 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM are acceptable times for higher decibel sound, and acceptable locations are non-residential areas where people will not be disturbed in their homes. There can be some exceptions – in past years there have been a few cases of neighborhoods hosting venues with later performances, planned in cooperation with surrounding homeowners.

Okay – where might I make loud music?

Some of Rhode Island’s larger parks might work out. To get an idea of some of the possibilities, take a look at Rhode Island’s park system or, contact us at to noodle around some ideas.

How do we sign up to perform in parks?

Good question – long answer…

Many city parks, park shelters and downtown performance spaces will be made available for MMRI performances. Check out a complete list of Rhode Island parks, with info on the amenities each park offers.

When you request a park space you are taking on responsibility in the sign up process as both artist and venue. To request a park space you may need to fill out both a venue and an artist request form, and then confirm your performance and venue. Please use the park names and street addresses as listed at the park website (linked above) to complete the venue form.

Won’t lots of people sign up for parks? If twenty different groups sign up for Burnside Park, how do we know who has first dibs?

Many of our city parks are large enough to accommodate multiple simultaneous performances, so be as specific as possible in your description as to the location in the park where you intend to perform, and what park amenities you wish to use. Even after you confirm your park venue and performance, you must wait for final confirmation from MMRI planners to make sure there are no conflicting or overlapping requests. Only then is your park venue truly confirmed.

Who will provide a stage / tuned grand piano / etc. for my concert?

MMRI is not a typical music festival. It is a DIY opportunity for people to be creative about putting together their own musical events. Our organizers set up the framework for concerts — the rest is up to you! Artists and locations collaborate to produce the events, provide electricity, if needed, and provide any necessary equipment.

Will there be a main stage?

There will be no main stage. Rhode Island itself is your stage. This is not an event focused around built stages, so performances generally take place at the same level as the audience. Your stage could be a front porch, a restaurant patio, a park bench, or any other outdoor space you can imagine. Do you have somewhere you’d love to play? Convince that location to register as a venue!

Will I be paid to perform?

MMRI is a statewide celebration of summer and part of an international movement. As part of this international celebration, MMRI agrees to offer all performances for free to the public. As is the case with other cities around the world, our contribution is setting up the framework for performances by securing the permits, coordinating the concerts, and publicizing the event statewide with media stories, concert listings with our media partners, an interactive website, and a volunteer street-team.

Participation at any level, as a musician, host, or spectator is voluntary. This allows musicians of all skill levels the opportunity to come out and perform in public if they wish. While most performers volunteer their time and talents, both venues and musicians are welcome to seek outside sponsorship and support if they so choose.

Can I charge admission for a Make Music Rhode Island concert?

No. All MMRI concerts are free and open to the public.

Can I block off a street?

Cities DO NOT allow closing streets without a permit.  You may apply for a block party type of permit on your own.

Can my concert be “invitation only”?

No. All MMRI performances are free and open to the public.

Can I have my event indoors?

Yes. While we encourage musicians to find an outdoor venue, many businesses such as restaurant/bars, retail shops, and coffee shops are all eager to host.


Matchmaking Software and Making Matches Info

How do I sign up to perform / host a concert?

Musicians and venues will use our registration and matchmaking tool, which is hosted on this site, in order to register and make concert arrangements with each other. Registration is located at  If necessary, you will find a video to instruct you on the use of the site.

If you encounter problems, please contact us at and we’ll work through the problem together.

The matchmaking software asks for my facebook and website addresses. I don’t have facebook or a website. Does this mean I can’t register?

Facebook or a website is not required. We ask for the links to allow potential venues and performers to learn more about each other before committing to the match. After matchmaking is complete, our website will allow prospective audiences to sample your work and allow you to promote yourself. If you incorrectly enter information in these boxes, you won’t be allowed to continue. Information entered should be accurate, or the box should be left blank.

I’m a venue. Why is there a check box that says “Accepting requests from artists to perform here?” I wouldn’t be signing up if I weren’t accepting performers.

When your venue is full, you will un-check this box. We’ll see your venue, and performance schedule, and see that it is full.

Why am I restricted to three choices for the type of music I perform or that my venue will accept?

This arbitrary limit is to make finding the right match easier. Use the “Other” choice and the description box to override this limitation. Then, you can tell us about your music styling in the description box. If you represent a venue open to all types of music- just say so in your description.

I see there is a box asking me how I will promote my performance and I have no idea how to promote my performance. Do I need to promote my performance or venue to participate?

Everyone who signs up on our matchmaking website should describe what they will do for promotion. We are counting on musicians and locations to promote their own shows, in all the ways that they normally would — sending out email blasts, putting notices on websites, texting all of their friends, etc. Maybe for you, promotion means telling your best friend and your Aunt Mary about your performance. That’s fine. If you DO know a lot about music promotion, this is a great opportunity to volunteer.  Of course, the state wide organizers will be promoting the festival in the media.

What will Make Music Rhode Island do to help promote my concert?

We will list all concerts on the MMRI website (with descriptions and links to artist websites, where available), and we’ll pitch stories about noteworthy concerts to the press. MMRI neighborhood organizers also will promote the performances in their area with fliers, posters, etc. We are also working with local media, newspapers, magazines, radio and TV to promote MMRI.

I’ve signed up as an artist or a venue and I’m ready to make a match. Can you break down the approval process in the software for me?

You can see all of the details on any artist or performer who fits your search criteria from either the browse or account pages. Use the box with the drop down menus labeled “venue type”, “neighborhood” and “electricity” to narrow your choices. Use the small triangle to the left of the name of the artist or venue to see all of the details on that option. You can see all available venues and performers by selecting the browse feature, but the matchmaking actually happens on your account page.

I’ve looked at all of my options and chosen some possible venues or musicians. What happens now?

After you make a choice, that choice will receive an email to notify them. Then both sides need to confirm, modify or decline the opportunity. If you wish to modify, you should contact the other party to resolve the problem. When you agree on a match it will be recorded, and then Make Music Rhode Island will examine and send final approval to both parties. Before approval by artist, venue and the webmaster, your desired match will appear on your “Account” page under “My Performances”; note that until all three parties have approved, the match is “pending confirmation”. After approval by artist, venue, and Make Music Rhode Island, the match will be recorded at “Performances”.

We completed our matchmaking last week, but our completed match still says “Pending Confirmation”. What gives?

Make Music Rhode Island must confirm each performance before it is final. In most cases Make Music Rhode Island will confirm your performance and venue match within two weeks. To allow for an ample assortment of musicians to fill out our matchmaking inventory, we will not begin confirming most matches before June 1st. If your venue and performer are certain you have a firm commitment, there is no need to worry, you are going “steady” and we will not force a “break up”.

Do I need to check in with my “Account” page to see if there are any pending matches?

No worries. When someone requests a match, you will be emailed a notification to login and check the match.

Let’s say I signed up two weeks ago as either a venue or a performer and no one has picked my venue/performance. When should I start to worry?

It may take time to make a match. Keep in mind that the registration will be open until June 1st, so new musicians and venues will be appearing over the entire time period. If you don’t see what you want today, come back at another time. Or, be creative in your matchmaking. Venues may contact musicians not already registered in the matchmaking software to ask them to sign up. Likewise, performers may contact venues where they’d like to perform and ask them to sign up as venues. Also consider that venues can be almost any public place in Rhode Island where people can gather without impeding traffic. The playground down the street, the pet store’s parking lot, the plaza outside your office building could all be venues.

My performance was denied. Why?

Some reasons for a denial might be because the venue’s time slots all have been filled, or the venue cannot accommodate your type of music or number of performers. Don’t despair, try to find another match.

A venue or performer wants to modify my request for a match. What is required of me now?

The modify request in our matchmaking software is there to set up a performance schedule that works for both the venue and performer. If a request needs to be modified in some way other than time, you will need to contact the other party to work through details of the modification.

It’s June 15th and there is still no match. Should I be heartbroken?

Make Music Rhode Island wants to make sure everyone who wants to perform can perform. After June 15, registration will close, but participants will have another week to match. We will contact musicians and venues that haven’t been able to create a match through the software and will propose some creative options for your inclusion in the Make Music Rhode Island merriment. We are in the happiness business and don’t want you to be disappointed or left out.


Other Participation Info

Who organizes this event?

Launched in 2017, Make Music Rhode Island, is a volunteer-based committee with Building Bridges Providence acting as the sponsoring organization.  We join an informal confederation of about 750 cities worldwide in creating opportunities for all stripes of music makers to take to the streets to celebrate the summer solstice. Volunteer organizers in Rhode Island will work throughout the state to help recruit musicians and venues, handle permits, and promote the concerts.

How can I get involved as a volunteer?

There are lots of ways to volunteer. Contact us at and we’ll offer some suggestions.

Can I donate to Make Music Rhode Island?

We’re glad you asked! Contributions are 100% tax-deductible. If you are interested in making a donation or becoming a Make Music Rhode Island Sponsor contact us at 

For donations, please go to SUPPORT.  

For sponsorship please contact  



Pictures from around the world and around Rhode Island

And, some ideas










To register as a music maker or a venue, go to

For more information, get in touch with us at