Newport Folk Festival

Newport Folk Festival
The Newport Folk Festival is an annual folk music festival held in the city of Newport, Rhode Island, United States. It was founded in 1959 as a counterpart to the previously established Newport Jazz Festival. It encompasses various styles of music including folk, folk rock, bluegrass, country, blues, folk punk, indie folk, and alternative country.

The Newport Folk Festival was founded by American jazz promoter and producer George Wien. In 1954, Wien helped Elaine and Louis Lorillard found the now-famous Newport Jazz Festival. Several years later, Wein decided that Newport needed another music festival. He enlisted the help of talent manager Albert Grossman and folk singers Pete Seeger, Oscar Brand, and Theodore Bikel. Grossman was famous as the manager of some of the most successful and popular folk and folk-rock musicians, including Gordon Lightfoot, Odetta, the Band, Peter, Paul and Mary, Janis Joplin, and Bob Dylan.

The Newport Folk Festival was held almost every year between 1959 and 1970 (no festivals were scheduled for 1961 and 1962). It was discontinued beginning in 1971 because of financial problems, but was revived in 1985 and has run without interruption ever since. Over the years, it has become one of the most famous folk festivals in the United States, alongside the Kerrville Folk Festival and the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

The festival is renowned for introducing to audiences a number of artists who went on to become national and international stars. Notable alumni of the Newport Folk Festival include Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash, Howlin’ Wolf (Chester Burnett), José Feliciano, and others.

The festival is held at Fort Adams State Park located at the mouth of Newport Harbor. It kicks off on Friday night with a concert held at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. During the festival, musicians perform on four stages throughout the park. The main stage faces Newport harbor and the famous Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge. The Newport Folk Festival is known for its combination of a beautiful setting and an exciting line-up.

Newport Folk Festival

Photo: Brian Lima




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