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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Changes are coming to this year’s PVDFest, but not everyone is onboard.

The free outdoor arts festival, which was first held in 2015, attracts hundreds of thousands of people to the capital city each year.

Since its inception, PVDFest has taken place in June. But this year, Providence Mayor Brett Smiley said it will take place in September.

“We chose a new date to maximize economic impact,” Smiley explained.

Smiley said this year’s PVDFest will also have a renewed focus on the arts and “…less on the street fair vibe.”

That means forgoing the outdoor bars, open containers and block parties typically associated with the weekend-long festival.

Smiley said he’s most excited about changing the location of PVDFest. Instead of the festival’s focal point being Kennedy Plaza, the mayor is moving it closer to the Providence River.

His reasoning? To further promote and better accommodate WaterFire.

“We will be blending this incredible beloved arts festival with a long-standing public art event that’s known nationally,” Smiley said.

Not everyone supports Smiley’s decisions, including social media influencer Victor Baez.

Baez described moving the festival closer to the Providence River as a huge mistake.

“If you relocate it to where WaterFire is, we’re just going to rebrand it as WaterFire 2.0,” he explained.

Smiley tells 12 News he’s not worried by the pushback to his changes.

“Change is never easy for people, particularly Rhode Islanders,” he said. “I think we’re more resistant to change then others.”

That philosophy doesn’t sit well with Baez.

“People are mad,” Baez said. “Pay attention.”

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