The summer landscape is littered with music festivals that draw tens of thousands of attendees to see what are often stellar band line-ups. In the whirlwind of all of these festivals, which include heavy weights such as Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and Forecastle Festival, one of the founding fathers of the scene is often overlooked.
The Newport Music Festival, which has roots dating back to the original festival back in 1959, kicked off Friday in Rhode Island. Tickets for the fest sold out in record time this year, and attendance is estimated to be at 10,000 a day. Not too shabby for a festival that is almost old enough to qualify for AARP benefits.
This year’s lineup boasts a number of major acts including Beck, The Avett Brothers, Jim James, Old Crow Medicine Show, and The Lumineers, among other.
Drawing such big names should come as no surprise for a festival that historically has drawn titans of the music world including Pete Seeger, who is a co-founder, Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan, whose infamous electric set in 1965 angered attendees.
While the festival nearly fizzled out in the 1960s, it appears that there is no stopping it now. In fact, organizers are planning to expand. Starting next year they hope to add a full third day by expanding the festival’s opening acts on Friday.
With that expansion Newport Folk might take its rightful place among the major festivals and become another hot summer destination for music fans.