BURRILLVILLE/NORTH SMITHFIELD – Rob Greyfox has worked for venues across the country, and at clubs small and large throughout the Ocean State over the past 30 years, including Providence Performing Arts Center.
The longtime music lover even did stint a carrying and setting up equipment for The Grateful Dead.
Now Greyfox has turned his energy to the northern Rhode Island music scene, bringing free live shows and fundraising events to The Island, a small bar and event venue right on Slatersville Reservoir.
A Mapleville resident, Greyfox said he got the idea to to put on a concert series after settling down locally, as a way to bring people together.
“I’ve always been a traveler,” Greyfox told NRI NOW. “I realized, I didn’t know my neighbors.”
Greyfox first started the series in Chepachet in 2018, bringing free music events to the Kent Field Pavilion.
Last summer, he began bringing shows to the small waterside bar off Victory Highway. His sound and lighting work, combined with a changing array of local entertainment, turned out to be a good fit for the venue, and Northern Rhode Island Music Under the Pavilion was born.
With free shows every Friday, and several Saturday night fundraising events, Greyfox has been giving small, local artists the chance to perform for crowds, while bringing out music fans for some summer fun.
“This is for the people,” he said. “Nobody knows their neighbors anymore.”
And on Saturday, July 13, he’ll put on an all-day festival to raise money for worthy local causes.
Starting at noon, musical entertainment at the outdoor pavilion will echo across the lake from the tiny bar. Groovin On 2019 will include music by local acts including Ro & Co.; IRA’s Grateful Harp Revival; Keytar Bear; Prairie Wind; Loose Change; Gary Backstrom; and Underestimated Prophet.
The event will benefit Strangers Helping Strangers, an organization that provides clothing, food and medical assistance to those in need. Tickets cost $25 in advance or $30 at the gate.
It’s his second fundraiser of the season: the 2nd annual Blues for St. Judes took place in June. A third fundraiser, to benefit The Shriners, will be held in August.
He’s also booked acts for his free shows every Friday through August 23 from 7 to 10 p.m.. Food trucks typically attend the events, which bring out local acts playing blues, funk, jam bands and more.
With a sound system that carries the tunes through the valley, word is getting out quickly.
“The music we put out from here travels,” Greyfox said, noting that people can hear it across the lake and even throughout Burrillville. From the lake, groups on party pontoon boats and jet skiers have come to enjoy the sounds.
“People are used to it being a private members-only club,” Greyfox noted of The Island.
Soon, Greyfox hopes to expand, with plans to bring music to the outdoor pavilion at Lindy’s in North Smithfield once it’s ready.
For the 30-year music veteran, it’s a way to use his experience to bring artists, fans and community together.
“These are all local people,” Greyfox said. “I’m a little person and I want to support small artists.
So far, he says, “The feedback is good. People are starting to learn that things are happening.”
To keep track of acts scheduled to play at the venue and in the future with Greyfox Productions, follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GreyfoxAudioLighting/?ref=br_rs