The first ever Firefly Festival will be held Saturday at Slater Memorial Park’s Daggat Farm in Pawtucket.
The Firefly Festival is being sponsored by The Engine Institute, a Warwick-based non-profit that focuses on promoting arts, science and technology.
The Engine Institute’s founder and executive director, China Blue, said that the Firefly Festival would be a presentation of performances, music and sculpture.
The event, held in conjunction with The Pawtucket Arts Festival, will feature performances by composer and musician Lance Massey, Red Ed and the UnDead, and Warwick’s own The Dakota Run.
Despite it’s name, The Dakota Run isn’t the name of a band, it’s a moniker for a single singer/songwriter: Dylan Thompson.
Thompson will be playing acoustic “indie-pop” music at Saturday’s event.
“It won’t make your eardrums bleed but it won’t put you to sleep,” he said.
Thompson, 24, who began his musical career in high school with a pop/punk band, said he always drew inspiration from Bob Dylan.
When he was ready to go solo, he didn’t want to use his own name, and so he began to brainstorm. Thompson knew if he came up with a pseudonym he could incorporate other people into his act, or add musicians when recording CDs, without changing the group’s name.
“It’s more of a collective,” he said of his act.
The name, “The Dakota Run,” came to him one night before he fell asleep.
He had been listening to a song called “Play Crack the Sky” by Brand New that included the lyrics “this ain’t the Dakota.” Somehow his subconscious strung this together with the words “cannonball run” from a Will Farrell “Saturday Night Live” sketch, and the name “The Dakota Run” was formed.
Since he began playing under his new name, Thompson has recorded two EPs, or extended plays, “Northwest Passage” and “Havana Negative.” He said he would have copies of his music available for purchase at Saturday’s festival.
Thompson said he is excited for Saturday, and the opportunity to play his music.
“It should be fun,” he said.
The Providence Ballet Theatre will also perform, dancing to Lance Massey’s “Firefly Chorus.” The dancers will be outfitted in special LED-lit capes, constructed by China Blue.
Blue has also created electronic sculptures that the dancers will utilize in their choreography.
Created from Mason jars and battery-powered lights, Blue’s “Firefly 2.0” will also provide illumination during the festival.
“It’s going to be visually dramatic and exciting,” said Blue. “The dancers will be performing around dusk so you can see all that’s illuminated.”
The Engine Institute is using the waning population of fireflies as a metaphor for the “fragility of our ecology.” They hope to bring ecological awareness, as well as appreciation of the arts, to the visitors of the festival.
This free event will take place from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17. In addition to the performances, there will also be a raffle. Blue encourages those who attend to bring a chair.
For more information, visit www.TheEngineInstitute.org/firefly-festival.