All About Newport Folk Festival

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Newport Folk Festival Overview:

Newport Folk Festival was established in 1959 by George Wein as a folk and traditional music festival and counterpart to the already existing Newport Jazz Festival. The festival takes place every summer at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island.

Artists Who Have Played the Newport Folk Festival:

Newport Folk Festival has been known to host some of folk music's greatest contributors, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger (who was on the original board of the festival), the Staples Singers, Johnny Cash, Howlin' Wolf, and more.

Artists who have played past festivals include:

And so many more...
When Bob Dylan "Went Electric" at Newport:

Bob Dylan's decision to show up at Newport Folk Festival in 1965 backed by guitarist Al Cooper and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band was not the first time someone had plugged in an electric guitar on the Newport stage. The incident has become a thing of legend due to the expectations some in the folk music community had at the time. Learn more about this with Ben Corbett's full history of When Bob Dylan went electric, or check out the film The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965.

A Non-Profit Folk Festival:

After the big folk boom of the 1960s started to peter off, the Newport Folk Festival ran into some hard times (it was a non-profit operation in those days), and wound up closing up shop from 1971-1985.

When it returned in '85, it opened the doors as a for-profit venture, and has since garnered corporate sponsors like Dunkin' Donuts and Ben & Jerry's. With the help of these and other sponsors, the festival has been able to run uninterrupted since 1985. The 2011 Newport Folk Festival, however, has returned to being a non-profit operation.

Suggested Albums Recorded at Newport Folk Festival:
  • Newport Broadside: Topical Songs at the Newport Folk Festival 1963 (Vanguard)
  • Folk Music at Newport 1 (Vanguard)
  • Bluegrass at Newport: Recorded Live at the Newport Folk Festival 1959, '60, & '63 (Vanguard)
  • Ben & Jerry's Newport Folk Festival, Vol. 2 (Alcazar)

2011 Newport Folk Festival Lineup:

The Decemberists
Gillian Welch
Earl Scruggs
Gogol Bordello
Ramblin' Jack Elliott
Tegan & Sara
Mavis Staples
The Felice Brothers
Delta Spirit
Freelance Whales
Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three
What Cheer? Brigade
The Devil Makes Three
Song Circle with Dar Williams, Ellis Paul, John Gorka & Liz Queler
The Wailin' Jennys
The Ebony Hillbillies
River City Extension
PS22 Chorus
Emmylou Harris
Elvis Costello
Amos Lee
M. Ward
Wanda Jackson
Carolina Chocolate Drops
Middle Brother
Justin Townes Earle
The Secret Sisters
Trampled by Turtles
The Civil Wars
The Head and The Heart
The Cave Singers
David Wax Museum
Mountain Man
The Seeger Clogging All-Stars
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