|This was the original "unofficial" mission of HIRI - "Hear In Rhode Island gets you to listen to the home
grown music of Rhode Island. There are many, many great singer/songwriters/bands and music
makers in this state. Go hear some LIVE, local, original music. It's just as good, if not better than the
stuff you hear on the radio, it doesn't cost $100 per ticket and you don't have to sit with 15,000 other
people to enjoy it. RI has some of the best music you may have never heard!
Come on out and hear what's playing in Rhode Island."
The official mission of Hear In RI is: To encourage and foster the composition of original music by
Rhode Islander performers and songwriters and to provide performance opportunities for these artists.
Hear In Rhode Island, Inc. was initially established to produce the Hear in Rhode Island Festival but
has expanded its scope to produce and present other events such as showcases and workshops. It is
a recognized 501 (3) (c) non-profit organization and operates under 501 (c) (3) of the IRS code.
From 1994-2000, the Hear In Rhode Island Festival was a free two day festival that showcased the
original music of local artists. Rhode Island contains a wealth of talented musicians and unsung
musical heroes. With the format of today's radio and TV playing mostly selections by mega-stars, the
idea of writing and performing music by local artists seemed like a pipe dream for some. The Hear In
Rhode Island Festival exposed Rhode Islanders to as much locally produced music as possible in a
single weekend in hopes of spurring involvement in the arts and musical creativity. The Festival
accommodated as many diverse acts and as many types of musical genres as possible to keep the
weekend fresh, educational and enjoyable. Based on Andy Warhol's "15 minutes of fame" theory, each
act was given approximately a 15 minute performance slot. This allowed an act to showcase its music
and for many acts to perform on each day. In an effort to put more focus on the song, many
performances were presented in a stripped down or "unplugged" fashion. Poets and Spoken Word
artists were featured during the set changes. There were also areas of arts & crafts, mind/body/spirit
and food vendors. Festival t-shirts, programs and artist's recordings were available for sale at the
Festival booth. The size and make-up of the Festival changed over it's history to meet its growing and
changing needs and brought with it a crowd increase each year.
The festival was discontinued in 2000. As with many non-profit organizations,
money became hard to raise. The volunteer staff was "burnt out" and it all just needed a rest.
The festival hopes to be re-born again in a new location with a new format.
When the time is right and the money is there…there will be a new Hear In Rhode Island Festival.
John W. Fuzek, then Chairman of The Rhode Island Songwriters Association (RISA), founded the Hear
in Rhode Island Festival in 1994. Fittingly, its birthplace was Roger Williams Park Temple to Music in
Providence, Rhode Island where the first festival occurred on Sunday, May 30, 1994. The Festival
originated in an attempt to showcase the talent of members in the songwriter organization and the
Rhode Island musical community. It originally was only supposed to be a one time/one day festival, but
so many people enjoyed it, it was brought back again and again. In 1995, it was expanded to two days
in order to include more performers. Also that year, the Festival was moved to downtown Providence's
new Waterplace Park, a beautiful amphitheater in the heart of the city. In 1996, The Hear in Rhode
Island Festival expanded even more by including multiple stages and evening satellite venues. At this
point, RISA could no longer produce the Festival due to the vast amount of other programs it was
involved with. The Festival separated from RISA and Hear in Rhode Island was incorporated and
obtained non-profit status. In 1998, the Festival was moved to India Point Park. After two years at this
location, the decision was made to return the Festival to its original location, Roger Williams Park
Temple to Music. It seemed a shame that such a beautiful space in a great park was not used for more
events. With its sloping, grassy amphitheater, trees and beautiful marble temple, the location, partly the
inspiration for the first Festival, provided the perfect place to enjoy a weekend of music.
The Hear In Rhode Island Festival took place annually during the second weekend of June. The
Festival was produced in cooperation with the Providence Parks Department and The Rhode Island
Songwriter's Association. Other past production collaborators and financial supporters have included
the The Music School, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts,
Stone Soup, The Newport Folk Festival and many other business, individuals and foundation sponsors.
|updated April 5th 2013
|ABOUT HEAR IN RHODE ISLAND