This weekend from July 28 - 30, one of the prime events of the summer will be taking place at Fort Adams in Newport. It’s the Newport Folk Festival and it’ll be once again happening in …
This weekend from July 28 - 30, one of the prime events of the summer will be taking place at Fort Adams in Newport. It’s the Newport Folk Festival and it’ll be once again happening in one of the most idyllic settings in Rhode Island with a stacked bill of music occurring on numerous stages. This is one of the many reasons why it’s one of the hottest tickets you can get during the music festival season and you never know who is going to show up. For example, both Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell made surprise appearances during last year’s edition of the festival and people are still talking about it a year later. For the ones who are guaranteed to make an appearance, here are five of them that shouldn’t be overlooked.
A local Algonquin Drum Group from both Providence and Woonsocket, the Eastern Medicine Singers are a musical entity that’s dedicated to maintaining the American Indian culture of the eastern woodlands and keeping it intact. They sing and drum in the language of Massachuset and Wampanoag dialect while often making the audience move around in a vibrant fashion. This is bound to be an extraordinary experience to witness on the festival’s biggest stage, especially with guitar phenom Yonatan Gat and Lee Ranaldo from New York City noise rock pioneers Sonic Youth joining in on their performance.
Nickel Creek’s latest album “Celebrants” that came out on March 24 is the first release from the trio of mandolinist Chris Thile, fiddle player Sara Witkins and her brother on Sean on guitar in nearly a decade, and in my opinion it's one of the best records to come out so far this year. This is why I’m personally excited to see them play during the first day of the festival. Once you check out their stellar recordings, I’m willing to bet that you’ll feel a similar way.
Another band taking part in Newport Folk that released a new album this year is The Hold Steady from Brooklyn, who released “The Price of Progress” on March 31. Their upcoming set is probably going to piss off a few “folk purists”, and part of me can’t believe those people still exist, due to Craig Finn and the crew having a rock & roll sound. Regardless, what these guys bring on Saturday should be something special.
Aimee Mann has had a unique journey with her music career ever since she started out in Boston while attending the Berklee College of Music during the ‘80s. She was in the alt-rock act The Young Snakes, then briefly with the industrial metal icons Ministry before co-founding the new wave band Til’ Tuesday and releasing a top ten single with “Voices Carry”. She’s been a prolific songwriter and collaborator since those days and it’ll be cool seeing her exhibit her pure acoustic essence as a musician when she performs on Saturday.
Kicking off the last day on the biggest stage is Dan Blakeslee, who is an absolute New England treasure. Chances are that you’ve seen the South Berwick, Maine native busking at the entrance and exit of the festival grounds over the years and it’s going to be awesome seeing him perform in such a big setting. Rumor has it that his backing band known as The Calabash Club will be joining him, but the only way to find out is by showing up and checking his set out.