The Newport Folk Festival started in 1959 thanks to George Wein, the founder of the Newport Jazz Festival, with help from Pete Seeger. After a bit of a hiatus in the 1970s, the festival returned and has been held at Fort Adams State Park annually since 1985. The festival is known for honoring traditional folk roots alongside new trends. Past performers have included Peter, Paul, and Mary, Bob Dylan, and The Pixies. The festival is also known for scheduling surprise guests including Mumford & Sons in 2018 and Dolly Parton in 2019. The festival has sold out every year since 2014.
Things are going to be a little different this year and it may be one of the few positive things about COVID. Instead of one festival, there are going to be two 3-day Newport Folk Festivals. Each festival will feature a unique line-up of storytelling, workshops, and surprise performances. The first festival will be held Friday, July 23 through Sunday, July 25. The second starts the very next day on Monday, July 26 and runs until Wednesday, July 28. We can’t wait to see what the line-ups are going to be this year. People are excited for live music and artists and ready to perform.
Another change this year is a real boost to Rhode Island craft vendors. Only vendors from the state will be invited to the Fort this year. We are so happy to see preference given to local talent and businesses. We are even more thrilled to know that festival attendees will get to see all of the wonderful things that our little state has to offer. We may be small in size but we are big in talent.
Tickets for the event have not gone on sale yet. We want to repeat that ticket sales for the Newport Folk Festival are not yet open. The festival planners suggest that interested parties follow them on social media or join the email list to get updates on ticket sales. Follow this link to join the email list: https://newportfolk.org/sign-up/ Unfortunately, scalpers and bogus websites have already starting “selling” fake tickets. The festival website states: “We are releasing access to this summer’s events in phases. Be aware that we have not gone on sale with any tickets, so please do not purchase from any site posting them for sale.”
The Newport Festivals Foundation does more than just plan festivals. They support artists and music education. The Newport Festival Musician Relief Fund supports micro grants and content grants. The Foundation has provided 463 artist grants and 113 program grants. They have donated nearly 1,000 instruments to children across the country. Those instruments have given kids a chance to build confidence while learning about music. Music education is also shown to help students improve their test scores and develop strong communication skills. Music can be an integral part of a student’s success. Therefore, by attending one of their festivals you get the joy of experiencing live music with the knowledge that you are helping today’s youth.