It’s almost that time of year. A time when an eclectic crowd of talented artists and musicians converge on Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island for the Newport Folk Festival. The Newport Folk Festival first began in 1959 as a spin-off to the annual Jazz festival. The festival broke some of the biggest folk names in the history of american music starting in 1959 when Bob Gibson brought along a then unknown Joan Baez. A few years later in 1963 Baez brought an unknown guest by the name of Bob Dylan which is widely considered his premiere national performance.
History was made once again, when Dylan “plugged-in” for the first time in 1965 with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band backing him. The reaction stunned some of the crowd resulting in some purists booing him during the set. Regardless of the mixed reaction it propelled Dylan from straight folk into a new direction of rock and roll. In 2005 The Pixies reversed this by unplugging for their set at the festival.
In 1969 Johnny Cash introduced the Newport crowd to a new singer/songwriter by the name of Kris Kristofferson who came to his attention on Cash’s front lawn where he gave the legend his tapes.
Over the ensuing years, many staples of american music played the festival including non-folk artists including Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Jose Feliciano,
Take a look at the 2014 schedule and line-up below: