One of the stapes of any summer is the ability to travel across the country and the globe and enjoy one of the many wide variety of music festivals that bring people together in the grand fashion that only music can. I’ve been to many of the major festivals in America and over the past decade or so we’ve seen the festival landscape shift dramatically. Despite the different targeted audience of any given music festival, it’s now gotten to the point where a lot of the festivals just seem to feature the same half dozen headliners over and over, with a varying undercard and different geographical location.
Which is why the Newport Folk Festival has constantly been one of the only reliable music festivals on the scene and constantly reminds me why it may very well be the best and most important music festival in the entire country.
This is for good reason, as Newport Folk Festival is objectively the only festival that operates purely out of the love of music and books it’s lineup accordingly. The festival, which is held at the historic Fort Adams State Park, has a smaller audience capacity and this limits the amount of tickets available, which means the demand greatly outweighs the supply, and the festival sells out handedly within seconds each year. This allows the festival the freedom to book quality acts, ones that they really do believe in. The history of the festival also brings big timers such as Roger Waters, Alabama Shakes, the late John Prine and surprise guests like Dolly Parton who genuinely want to show up because the festival means that much to the fabric of not only music festivals, but America at large.
Which is why it particularly hurts to not be able to go this year thanks to the unfortunate situation with Covid-19. This year’s edition of the festival was supposed to take place next weekend July 31st-August 2nd. Of course this isn’t happening but out of all the festivals this stings the most. Outside of the fact that Newport Folk Festival is just a serene and unique experience that feels unlike any other music festival that I’ve attended, there’s so much about the festival with themes of bringing people closer and trying to unite and not divide, the sort of themes that folk music has been promoting for decades and decades. In Trump’s America, Newport Folk Festival is more vital than ever.
Although the festival is obviously not taking place as planned, their still finding ways to bring some sort of music to the Fort and for the sort of good cause and charitable fundraiser that the whole festival operates with every single year. Festival mainstays and hometown heroes Deer Tick are putting on a “Deer Tick & Friends In-Your-House-Party Live from Fort Adams” live stream at the actual Fort. The stream will take place on August 1st at 8:30 pm and feature guest performances from Leon Bridges, Robert Ellis, Sharon Van Etten, The Tallest Man On Earth, and Courtney Marie Andrews.
Tickets are on sale for the performance, which are $25 and benefits the Newport Festivals Foundation. It’s a great way to keep the spirit of the festival going safely at home and to help go towards a good cause and keep the festival coming back strong in the future.
I hope to be back at the Fort safely and soundly this time next year and hope to see you there.