The 2012 Newport Festival just wrapped up this past Sunday at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island after a weekend of folk fun. Founded in 1959 by George Wein, the festival has featured everyone from established artists to up-and-comers who would later become major stars of the music scene.
This year’s event featured no shortage of extraordinary talent that spanned across generations. In honor of Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday, artists such as Joel Rafael and Tom Morello performed interpreted songs by the iconic music figure. Adding to the centennial celebration was New Multitudes, an original music set performed by Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker, and Jim James, featuring Guthrie’s previously unrecorded lyrics. Other nostalgic performances included the Kossoy Sisters, who made an appearance at the first Newport Folk Festival, and Jackson Browne. Other more current, but equally captivating, appearances included the Tallest Man on Earth’s Kristian Matsson in his festival debut, of Monsters and Men, Trampled by Turtles, Iron and Wine, and The Head and the Heart, a group whose incredible lyrics, stage presence, and music made them one of the stand-out performances at the festival. The amount of talent featured, spanning across many different genres and performances styles, never seizes to amaze. NPR music recorded all of the musical performances on each stage, which allows those who did not attend to listen and view the lineup while simultaneously supporting public radio.
In addition to the wonderful musical acts, food and craft vendors added another dimension to the annual festival. Selling everything from jewelry and clothing to instruments to artwork, the festival supports local businesses and their often handcrafted fair, offering a refreshing contrast to factory-made and imported goods. Food vendors are also typically native to the New England area, offering a wide variety of foods from various cultures. Many vendors are committed to environmental sustainability, such as the Feel Good Food solar-charged mobile kitchen. Vegetarian and vegan options are plentiful at the festival each year, featuring everything from falafel pockets to the completely vegan soft serve truck Like No Udder, proving that cruelty-free fare doesn’t compromise on taste and experience.
Each year, the Newport Folk Festival continues a wonderful and deeply-rooted tradition of music, outdoor fun, and delicious food. It serves as a celebration of the bonding and uniting qualities of song that transcend generational gaps and continue to withstand the test of time.
View performances from the 2012 Newport Folk Festival at: http://www.npr.org/series/newport-folk-festival/