Thursday, July 28, 2011

Newport Folk Festival

George Wein, who also founded the Newport Jazz Festival,  founded the Newport Folk Festival in 1959 and it's still going strong. 

The Festival, at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island, helped launch several major stars, including Joan Baez, who first appeared in 1959, and Bob Dylan, who was a guest of Baez in 1963.  The Festival helped bring about the 1960's Blues Revival and in the 80's and 90's brought in reggae, rock and indie artists.

The Festival was the site of an infamous appearance by Bob Dylan.  After two yearly performances, Dylan had made quite a name for himself.  That is until July 25, 1965 when Dylan appeared on stage with an electric guitar and backing musicians from the rock and roll band The Paul Butterfield Band.

The organization did not do well in the late 60's and actually closed down in 1971.  But in 1985, the Festival was revived and now exists as a non-profit organization.  There are 15 albums of the Festival from 1959-1990. 

This weekend (July 30 and 31), the Newport Folk Festival includes traditional folk stars Pete Seeger and Joan Baez as well as newer artists such as Amos Lee, Delta Spirit, the Decemberists and the Freelance Whales and performers including Elvis Costello and Emmylou Harris from other genres.

A crowd of over 10,000 is expected this weekend.  Sounds like fun!

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