By Bruce Sylvester
The mecca of the ‘60s folk revival, the annual Newport Folk Festival has resurged so strongly that last year it sold out a little in advance for the first time since its founding (by Pete Seeger among others) in 1959. That’s thanks to the rise in neotrad and new timey interests among the younger generation.
This year’s festival – July 27-29 in Newport, RI – has an underlying theme of the centennial of Woody Guthrie’s birth. Except for Friday night’s show with Wilco, Blitzen Trapper and Megafaun, the entire event is totally sold out three months in advance. That’s quite a fete given the recession and the attendance woes the festival was suffering in the previous decade before Jay Sweet (who understands whom to book) took over as producer.
Check the festival’s website (see link below) for Youtube links for the various performers. Of the acts I hadn’t yet heard, Deep Dark Woods, Spirit Family Reunion, and Jonathan Wilson seem especially good.
I’ve cut and pasted the bulk of the latest press release on the event. (If you go, be sure to take sun block and shade for your eyes. The sun reflecting off the bay behind the grounds can be brutal on your eyes.) So here’s the release:
NEWPORT, RI, April 23, 2011 - With more than three months left before the
2012 Newport Folk Festival® takes over Fort Adams State Park July 27 – 29, the 53rd edition of the iconic event in Newport, RI is sold out, it was announced today by George Wein and the Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc.™ Last year’s festival marked the first time in history that both days sold out in advance.
Ten thousand fans per day will celebrate the music in Newport on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm. Tickets are still available for the Friday night concert featuring Wilco, Blitzen Trapper and Megafaun at http://www.newportfolkfest.net/wilco/.
“We are incredibly humbled that our festival has found such a prized place in the hearts and minds of music fans across the nation, and indeed around the world,”
said Festival Producer Jay Sweet. “To sell out so early is really a tribute to our incredible artists, partners, volunteers, local and national media, and most ultimately, our dedicated fans. The Folk Festival Family is truly unique and we’re continually amazed how each and every one of you takes such an active role in making this annual reunion better year after year.”
“From the online posts and other correspondence that we have received since tickets went on sale on March 1, we knew this was going to be a special year,” said George Wein, Festival Founder/Producer and Chairman of the Board of the Newport Festivals Foundation. “But, never in my more than six decades of producing festivals have I enjoyed a sold out event this far in advance. Thank you all for helping to keep the legacy alive.”
This year’s festival features Wilco, My Morning Jacket; Jackson Browne; Conor Oberst; Iron & Wine; Patty Griffin; Guthrie Family Reunion; Dawes; The Head & The Heart; Deer Tick; Punch Brothers; City & Colour; Preservation Hall Jazz Band; The Tallest Man on Earth; tUnE-yArDs; Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman; Trampled by Turtles; Gary Clark, Jr.; Alabama Shakes; Blind Pilot; Of Monsters and Men; original music from Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker & Yim Yames set to the lyrics of Woody Guthrie; Sharon Van Etten; First Aid Kit; Sara Watkins; Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires; Brown Bird; Jonny Corndawg; Jonathan Wilson; Spirit Family Reunion; Deep Dark Woods; Carl Broemel; Ben Sollee; Robert Ellis; Frank Fairfield; The Apache Relay; Spider John Koerner & His Rag Tag Boys; Joel Rafael; Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons; Blitzen Trapper, Megafaun, Elizabeth Mitchell; honeyhoney; Sleepy Man Banjo Boys; The Kossoy Sisters; The Berklee City Music Choir; and very special guests to be announced.
For general information, craft vendor information or to leave a message for festival staff, call (401) 848-5055 or log on to www.newportfolkfest.net.
The Newport Festivals Foundation presents the Newport Jazz Festival® presented by Natixis Global Asset Management August 3 – 5 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Fort Adams State Park, featuring Pat Metheny Unity Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Jack DeJohnette 70th Birthday Celebration, Dianne Reeves, Dr. John, Jason Moran and the Bandwagon, James Carter Organ Trio, Maria Schneider Orchestra, Miguel Zenón, Rudresh Mahanthappa and many more. For tickets and information, please visit www.newportjazzfest.net and www.newportfestivalsfoundation.org.