River Festival

2024 Cambridge Arts River Festival

2024 Cambridge Arts River Festival

Saturday, June 15, 2024, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Returns to the banks of the Charles River along Memorial Drive between JFK Street and Western Avenue.
Free admission
Six Stages of Music, Theater, Dance and Poetry
Mermaid Promenade
Interactive Art-Making
International Foods
Arts and Crafts Market

Site Sponsors
City of Cambridge, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation.

Stage/Production Partners
Cambridge Jazz Foundation, Central Square Business Improvement District, Central Square Theater, Club Passim, The Dance Complex, Global Arts Live, and Jean Appolon Expressions.

Map of 2024 Cambridge Arts River Festival.
Download printable version of 2024 festival map.


Mermaid Promenade
NOTE NEW PARADE START LOCATION: 11:30 a.m. - Parade including marching band, dragon dancers, and giant puppets begins at 11:30 a.m. at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park at JFK Street and Memorial Drive, proceeds east along Memorial Drive, traveling through the River Festival, to end around Corporal Burns Park on Flagg Street. All are welcome to join in the parade: To be in the parade, come in costume and/or with props to John F. Kennedy Memorial Park at JFK Street and Memorial Drive by 11:15 a.m.

Folk / Roots Stage from Club Passim
Noon - Gabriella Simpkins
1 p.m. - Anju
2 p.m. - Mercedes Escobar
3 p.m. - Casey Murray & Molly Tucker
4 p.m. - Almira Ara
5 p.m. - Dinty Child

Global Arts Live Stage
Noon – Albino Mbie
1:30 p.m. – Kotoko Brass
3 p.m. – Veronica Robles Female Mariachi Band
4:30 p.m. – Natu Camara

Jazz Stage from Cambridge Jazz Festival
Hosted by Jose Masso
Noon – 12:50 p.m. – Yaure Muniz Afrocuban Ensemble
1:30 – 2:20 p.m. - Anastassiya Petrova Organ Trio
3 – 4 p.m. – Ron Savage Trio, featuring saxophonist Bill Pierce
5:00 – 6 p.m. – Don Braden Quartet, featuring vocalist Vanessa Rubin

Poetry Stage
12:00 - 12:10 p.m. - Poetic Welcome: Cambridge Arts, Jean Dany, Toni Bee, Lo Galluccio, Peter Payack
12:10 - 12:45 p.m. - The Laureates: Philip Hasouris, Lynne Viti, Fred Woods, CD Collins and more
12:45 - 01:30 p.m. - Cambridge Sidewalk Poetry Contest Past Winners: Jean Dany, Peter Payack & Lillian Hsu
01:30 - 02:15 p.m. - New England Poetry Club: Denise Provost, Doug Holder
02:15 - 03:00 p.m. - CRLS Connection Poets: Peter Payack
03:00 - 03:45 p.m. - Poetry in Translation & New Publications: Willyz Ramirez, Jonathan Bennett, Jebca Editions
03:45 - 04:30 p.m. - City Night Readings Poets & Writers: Jean Dany Joachim
04:30 - 05-15 p.m. - Poets of the Gardens: Toni Bee
05:15 - 05:45 p.m. - Poetry from the Workshop: Tom Daley
05:45 - 06:00 p.m. - Words & Movement: Special Guest

Theater/Dance Stage from Central Square Theater and The Dance Complex
11 - 11:30 a.m. - Soul Dance with Allison Talis
12 - 1:20 p.m. - Your Town
1:30 - 2 p.m. - RootsUprising
2 - 2:30 p.m. - ‘Froca Fitness with Sylver Rochelin
2:30 - 3:05 p.m. - House Dance with Sean Bjerke
3:30 - 4:50 p.m. - Your Town
5:00 - 6:00 p.m. - Music & Dance Circle

Western Front Stage presented by Central Square Business Improvement District
12:20 - 1:30 p.m. - Pura Vida
1:45 - 2:45 p.m. - The Hip Hop Transformation
3:00 - 3:30 p.m. - Soca Fusion
4:00 - 5:15 p.m. - The Naya Rockers

Food and arts vendors are invited to apply to sell their goods at the 2024 festival. Cambridge Arts is not accepting submissions for performers for the 2024 festival.

The annual festival, usually held in early June, began in the early 1970s. Cambridge Arts has adapted the event for the covid pandemic in recent years, with virtual Stream Festivals in 2020 and 2021 and the Ripple Festival in 2022, a series of smaller in-person performances and arts markets rippling out into Cambridge neighborhoods in the spirit of the River Festival. During 2023 the River Festival was not held, as the pandemic continued to provide challenges for the long-term planning and fund-raising required to produce the showcase of food, arts, crafts, immersive art experiences and multiple stages of live music, dance, poetry and theater.

"Best of Boston" from Boston Magazine

BEST Festival Winner!

Boston Magazine named the Cambridge Arts River Festival the Best Festival of 2017 and then again in 2018: "This annual extravaganza isn’t just about seeing contemporary work—it’s about immersing yourself in it. Along with musical, dance, and theater acts, you’ll find a poetry tent, huge wild-animal puppets, and beatbox workshops. In other words, sweet, sweet sensory overload."

The City of Cambridge does not discriminate on the basis of disability. The City may provide auxiliary aids and services, written materials in alternative formats, and reasonable modifications in policies and procedures to qualified individuals with disabilities. For information contact Cambridge Arts: Phone: 617-349-4380, TDD: 617-349-4621

Maud Morgan Arts leads a paper banner workshop at the 2019 Cambridge Arts River Festival.