On the surface your typical summer music festival is a no brainer, the kind of blitz that offers a relatively economical way to catch all those bands that have been filling up the iPod over the course of the last year or so. One place, one price - can't beat that, can you sport? But for plenty of the folks who flock to a marquee fest, the experience doesn't live up to the billing, offering miniature morsels of music - a few songs here before a mad dash across several hundred yards of festival grounds to catch a final song there. There is little intimacy; there is little connection; just a sea of sweaty people and those specs of musicians playing something somewhat recognizable on the horizon.
Wrapping up its 54th installment last evening, The Newport Folk Fest
is a different sort of happening; one that's defined by its cross-generational appeal, relative intimacy, and free flowing exchange between artists and audiences alike. That it takes place in and around an old 18th century fort on the banks of the Narragansett Bay only adds to the musically invigorating experience that only this fest can provide.
We spent one of our favorite weekends of the year up in Newport, watching big names (Beck, Jim James, The Lumineers, Feist, The Avett Brothers) and up and comers alike (The Lone Bellow, Spirit Family Reunion, Shovels and Rope, Michael Kiwanuka), all jockey for the attention of the friendliest fans around. Check out a few snaps from the weekend that was below and stay tuned for a few additional thoughts on the site this week.
Shovels And Rope
Father John Misty
Spirit Family Reunion