Office Banter:  The Newport Folk Festival
  • WEDNESDAY, JULY 31, 2013

  • Posted by: Matt Howard

From genre-focused lineups to geographic setting, every music festival has its own individual personality. Attending these festivals, although work-related, is a vacation for us. We all have a favorite that we look forward to every year, one to complement our own individual psyches. Comparing and contrasting our festival excursions has built itself into a sports team rivalry. We constantly tease one another for the over-killed cliches and study lineups as if they were opposing fantasy football rosters. We thought we'd invite you into our inner-office world of sarcastic banter to encapsulate our own David Pitz's recent excursion to The Newport Folk Festival.

Throughout the years, Pitz has seen and heard it all. He sees Newport Folk Festival as the true music lover's escape into ethereal purity and relaxation. I, however, am a young buck looking to get my rocks off and experiment with malicious intent. Upon David's arrival, we bridged this personality rift by scooting our wheelie chairs together to sit down for a little question-and-answer sesh.


Spirit Family Reunion whoop it up at The Fort Stage


How many years have you gone now?
My trek to the opulent land of Newport RI, a place generally reserved for those who prefer double popped collars and seersucker shorts to cuffed jeans and work boots, is an annual tradition now. 2013 makes it two years running, and I will obviously be going back next year! Can't imagine what the local bourgeois think of all us ordinary folk invading their sailing community, but I guess that's why they keep their distance from the rough and tumble crowd, anchoring off shore on their yachts and 50 foot sailboats for the weekend, letting the music waft in their general direction.


Yes, of course. As they waft in return their highbrow farts. So what'd you bring?
Learned a lot from last year's traffic tie up getting into Newport and the festival in general. This year I brought a little more loot so my girlfriend and I could shack up in Newport proper. Last year's stay over the bridge in Warwick was a big ole disaster. We sat backed up for miles trying to get into the festival, watching the clock, ticking off the sets we missed while huffing exhaust on the Pell. Making things even easier this time around, we opted to haul bicycles up to Newport with us, skipping said traffic all together and the advertised convenience of the water taxi. We heard it still had hour long waits before and after the festival. Total reliance on pedal power, my friend...just a pleasant four mile ride over to Fort Adams, through stunning scenery to boot. What other essentials, let's see... Corn nuts? I brought some Corn Nuts. And my Tom's shoes provided the perfect footwear for tromping around the fort. They're reeeeal comfy and convenient, slipping on and off making it easy to go barefoot when you needed to. Plus, I think Tom's corporate philosophy jives with the quant, feel good, philanthropic vibe that's required up there.


Do you get a discount when you bring your AARP card?
This isn't the blue plate special in a retirement community in Florida, man. No discounts. Although flashing such credentials might get you a golf cart lift to the main stage. But seriously, Newport is this great multi-generational extravaganza. I saw babies, I saw grandparents, I saw everyone in between.


Did you bring drugs with you, or play it safe and buy 'em there? My last trip down to Tennessee was kicked off with a guest appearance in my RV by some white-gloved, drawling sheriffs.
Dude, no. Drugs? This isn't that kind of festival. As I already mentioned, this is a family affair, this is good clean fun. This is pure and honest and doesn't require a damaged, drug induced veil to take in the good vibes. I don't think there were any drugs in Newport...except the piles of coke on the aforementioned yachts and maybe during Misty's set. OK, definitely during Misty's set. I'm convinced those dudes are keeping the bath salts industry afloat.


Did you tent it or go all-out with a dope RV?
Gross. My girlfriend and I stayed at a rather lovely bed and breakfast, thank you very much. The soaps, the creaky old stairs, the impeccably decorated back yard, the stained glass windows, plus homemade Vietnamese French Toast (the house specialty I think?), tuna tar tar, cantaloupe smoothies and yogurt parfaits for breakfast. I'm convinced it's the only way to do it up in Newport. And the proprietor of the place is a former Brooklynite, so you know, he got us.


Sounds quaint as fuck.
Quaint, pleasant, old fashioned, baroque, enchanting, fanciful, whimsical...call it what you want. I call it the best.

The view from my Bed and Breakfast.



How many babes did you see in body paint?
You're such a perv. This isn't one of your 'Roo gatherings of scandalous and loosely morale 'music fans'. This is dignified and classy. The women in Newport have taste...vintage dresses, tasteful sun hats, antique sunglasses, and leather satchels. They are beauts.


Don't forget hairy pits and discussions about college feminist theses... Anyway, in three words, describe your experience. For example, Bonnaroo was "Drugged vibes YEWWWWWW!"
"Cute, banjo, Awwww..."


How much time did you spend at the Artisanal Cheese Tent?
Everybody knows The Newport Folk Fest is a lactose free environment.

Alright now for an award speed-round...

Best washboard rock out solo was?
Easy. That would be THIS GUY from Spirit Family Reunion. Next!

Dude that liked being there way too much.
Jim James. It was his third year running bringing a project up to Newport. It's obviously the best in his book. Just look at that top notch gesture of approval. Look at the satisfying look on his fuzzy face. Don't you just want to hug him?


Who (besides me) won't be invited next year?
Yeah, that one's easy. I think it's safe to say Father John Misty won't be bringing any of his sultry, classic songwriting back to Newport anytime soon. Declaring that it's always been a dream to shit all over an important cultural institution is just not the way to punch your ticket for a return trip. The dude was a mad man, a lunatic, half in the bag on strawberry moonshine and determined to take folk music to task. Declaring "folk music used to get you blacklisted but now you ride it to the top of the charts", Misty and his cohorts ranted, raved, and ultimately brought their set to a screeching, indignant finale, trashing the stage on their way out. It was wild, it was supremely dickish, it was oh so Misty.




That's more like my kind of performance. A total weird out that gets the folkies to quiver in their Toms. Speaking of lame footwear, from the sound of this David, the historic festival has turned into somewhat of a catalogue orgy of J.Crew and Urban Outfitters.
Well, I suppose Newport does feel like a boutique festival of sorts, so fashion should follow through, right? I think so. Anyway, the important thing about Newport is that it doesn't feel like any other festival that I've been too. It's intimate, there's this amazing energy pouring off the stage, there are all kinds of [white] people in attendance. It's the kind of festival you can share with your friends, your kids, your parents, even you grandparents. It feels like a small town music festival...the up-and-coming artists are welcomed with enthusiasm and the more established artists are celebrated like Newport royalty. To say it's the highlight of my musical year is an understatement. There isn't another festival that can hold a candle to Newport. See you next year.

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