The annual Rhythm and Roots Festival at Ninigret State Park is a Labor Day Weekend tradition for many Rhode Islanders. Although the festival is under new management, very little has changed, with the musical lineup as strong as ever.

The 22nd annual festival runs from 5PM Friday, September 2 until late in the evening on Sunday, September 4. There are three stages, with many performers appearing more than once, so you won’t miss your favorite band while checking out some new artists. And the food trucks and crafts vendors are among the best in the region. Here’s a preview of some of our favorites – enjoy the festival!

Sunday: Little Feat is one of the most underappreciated bands of the 1970’s. Their gumbo of roots/funk/rock will keep you dancing all night long. The band is headed to the Festival as part of their “Waiting for Columbus Anniversary Tour,” celebrating one of rock and roll’s greatest albums. Check them out Sunday at 8PM on the Rhythm Stage. Learn more about Little Feat here.

Saturday: Grace Potter returns to Rhode Island after appearing at the Newport Folk Festival in 2021. The Grammy-nominated Burlington, VT native has shared the stage with legends including The Rolling Stones, Mavis Staples, Robert Plant, The Allman Brothers and Neil Young continues to see her star rise. She’s headlining the Rhythm Stage on Saturday at 8PM and promises to bring a high-energy dose of rock and roll to the festival. Learn more about Grace Potter here.

Sunday: Samantha Fish is another rising star and a frequent visitor to these parts. Expect the blues-rock guitar goddess to mix it up on stage, and likely play a few from her recent release Faster. For more, check out our interview with Fish here, and catch her Sunday on the Rhythm Stage at 6:15PM. For more on the artists, click here.

Sunday: Sunday School with Christine Ohlman and Rebel Montez, along with the three-part harmonies of the Sin Sisters, is reason enough to show up on Sunday. R&B singer Ohlman is of course best known as the “Beehive Queen” on Saturday Night Live. The Gospel-inspired set is another tradition at the festival you don’t want to miss! Check out this special set in the Roots Tent Sunday at 1PM. Learn more about the band here.

Saturday: Grammy-winning band Los Texmaniacs return to the festival for two sets over two days. The high-energy band combines “a hefty helping of Tex Mex conjunto with several parts Texas rock, along with a daring dash of well-cured blues, and R&B riffs.” Catch them on the Roots Stage at 6:15PM Saturday and on the Rhythm Stage at 2:15PM on Sunday. Learn more about the band here.

All Weekend: Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-Cha’s. This festival began as the Cajun and Zydeco Festival in the 1980’s when it was held at the Stepping Stone Ranch in Escoheag, RI. It’s evolved into Rhythm and Roots but the connection to its origins is felt strongest on the Dance Stage. The beat never stops with Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Cha’s who play evening sets all three days of the festival. Learn more about the band here.

Tickets are still available for the Festival. For tickets and more information, click here.

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music and more for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and The Bay. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.