Newport Folk Festival: NPR Music’s Top Picks

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


NPR Music’s top picks for the Newport Folk Festival, including who to see and what to expect.

NPR Music’s Top Picks for Newport Folk Festival

This year’s Newport Folk Festival is just around the corner, and we’ve been busy putting together a list of our top picks for the festival. This year’s lineup includes some incredible talent, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us. Take a look at our top picks below, and be sure to check out Newport Folk Festival for yourself!

The Head and the Heart

Out of all the indie-folk bands on the bill this year, The Head and the Heart might be the one most primed for a breakout set. The Seattle sextet’s self-titled debut album has been on pretty much constant rotation at NPR Music HQ since it was released in May, and it’s easy to see why.

With its classic songwriting, ragged harmonies and occasional sweep of strings, The Head and the Heart’s music would sound right at home in any era. But there’s something about this band — maybe it’s singer Josiah Johnson’s earnest delivery of lines like “All we ever wanted was to find our own way home” — that makes it feel particularly vital in 2011.

The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers have been on a hot streak lately. They released their eighth studio album, True Sadness, in 2016 to critical acclaim, and they’ve been touring relentlessly behind it. The North Carolina-based band is no stranger to Newport — they played the festival in 2009 and 2012 — but this will be their first time headlining. Given their recent string of hits, including the single “Ain’t No Man,” expect the crowd to be particularly massive this time around.

First Aid Kit

This Swedish sister duo made a huge splash with their second album, The Lion’s Roar. It’s a gorgeous collection of smart, often devastatingly sad, classic pop songs. They sound like they could have been big in the 1960s, but there’s something very current about them as well. Their harmonies are exquisite, and their songwriting is top-notch.

What to Expect at Newport Folk Festival

Now in its 60th year, the Newport Folk Festival is one of the most iconic music festivals in the world. With a lineup that includes Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Willie Nelson, this year’s festival is sure to be a can’t-miss event. Here’s what you can expect if you’re lucky enough to get a ticket.

Three-day music festival

The Newport Folk Festival is an American annual folk-oriented music festival in Newport, Rhode Island, which began in 1959 as a counterpart to the already-established Newport Jazz Festival. The festival is often considered one of the first modern music festivals and helped give rise to popular festivals such as Coachella and Bonnaroo.

Each year, the Newport Folk Festival features a mix of well-known and up-and-coming musicians performing a variety of musical genres, including folk, blues, country, bluegrass, rock, and hip hop. In addition to music, the festival also offers food and drink vendors, artisans selling their wares, and interactive workshops.

The Newport Folk Festival takes place over three days on the grounds of Fort Adams State Park. Tickets are typically released in early spring and sell out quickly. If you’re planning on attending, here are some tips on what you can expect:

Music: The lineup for the Newport Folk Festival is usually released a few months before the event. Past lineup highlights have included Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, John Prine, Ani DiFranco, and more.

Food & Drink: There are plenty of food and drink options available at the Newport Folk Festival. Vendors offer everything from sandwiches and snacks to full meals. You’ll also find a variety of beverages for purchase, including beer, wine, mixed drinks, soda, water, and coffee.

Artisans: In addition to music performances, the Newport Folk Festival also features a marketplace with artisans selling their wares. You’ll find everything from jewelry and clothing to handcrafted items like pottery and woodwork.

Workshops: The Newport Folk Festival offers interactive workshops led by artists on topics such as songwriting, instrument making/repairing

More than 60 artists

Since its inception in 1959, the Newport Folk Festival has stood as one of the most influential and important music events in American history. This year’s lineup features more than 60 artists across a wide range of genres, including folk, rock, jazz, country, soul and more.

Newport Folk Festival is known for its unique blend of traditional and contemporary music, and this year’s lineup is no exception. Highlights include sets from indie folk darlings Fleet Foxes, alt-country pioneers Wilco, singer-songwriter Conor Oberst and many more.

In addition to great music, Newport Folk Festival also offers a variety of food and drink options, as well as ample camping and lodging options for festivalgoers.

Variety of musical genres

The Newport Folk Festival is an annual music festival that takes place in Newport, Rhode Island. The festival was founded in 1959 by George Wein and is now run by the non-profit Newport Festivals Foundation. The event is held every year on the last full weekend in July.

The festival features a variety of musical genres, including folk, blues, country, bluegrass, rock, and more. There are also a number of non-musical events, such as workshops, panel discussions, and film screenings. The Newport Folk Festival is one of the most respected and well-known music festivals in the world.

Since its inception, the festival has featured some of the biggest names in music, including Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Pete Seeger, Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, and many others. Each year, the festival attracts a wide variety of music fans from all over the world.

Tips for Attending Newport Folk Festival

The Newport Folk Festival is one of the most prestigious and long-running music festivals in the country. This year, it takes place from July 26-28 in Newport, Rhode Island. If you’re lucky enough to have tickets, here are some tips to make the most of your experience.

Purchase tickets in advance

One of the biggest tips we can give you is to purchase your tickets as early as possible. The Newport Folk Festival always sells out, and usually does so before the lineup is even announced. Considering this year’s festival features some of the biggest names in indie and folk music, we expect tickets will go even quicker. You can purchase tickets through the festival’s website.

Bring a backpack or small bag

Every year, Newport Folk Festival releases a list of banned items, which includes any bag larger than 8.5″ x 11″ (roughly the size of a sheet of paper). That’s because Newport is adamant about making sure everyone has enough space to enjoy the festival. Backpacks and small bags are fine, as long as they fit the size restrictions.

Check the weather forecast

If you’re attending Newport Folk Festival, be sure to check the weather forecast in advance and pack accordingly. The festival takes place rain or shine, so you’ll want to be prepared for both hot and cold weather. Bring a variety of clothing options that you can layer, as well as rain gear and sunscreen.

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