Sallie Ford (+SOS, -electricity) at Newport, 2011

In a few more weekends, the sheet (music) will hit the fan. It’s that time (of the season) for probably our favorite festival. Probably? Almost certainly. Almost certainly? We can do better than that.
It’s about time for the Newport Folk Festival.

It took us a little while to do another writeup on it. Why? Lack of inspiration, laziness, lack of direction. Working on a book (or two). But last night, we realized why we had to come back; speaking to a friend, whom we’d met at last year’s, there really is something different about this “little” fest. A fellow music reviewer herself, she had a somewhat hilarious nightmare about not getting tickets – why the fuss? you might ask – because it is something special. It isn’t rowdy or pushy or drunk, stoned; out of control. It’s kind of another home, we think. “Last year,” she recalled, “I went with people I didn’t even know and NFF was still amazing… It’s much more family friendly than any of the other fests I’ve been to.”

And there’s something to that. There’s something to the fact that we get to recognize a friendly face at the ticket booth (Ms. C.M., riding another stressful season, haha!). We get big acts (BIG acts this year) and small acts; remember these guys and gals? We get a packed, big ole historical fort crammed to the parapets with musicians – some of whom hand-selected the smaller acts to come aboard – all of whom are bustling with energy and focus and drive. And da- darned well fun, too. It’s the only place  you’ll get to see, hopefully, Roger Waters jam along with Sufjan Stevens (yes, our dreams of the NFF kinda reach a bit high). It’s the only place you’ll get to see Mr. Shakey Graves hopping about between acts, a gentleman and a music scholar. It is a kind of family, really, much for the musicians, much for the media, but also for the music fans who, year after year, pitch a blanket, reminisce about a few years ago, before the dance pit; reminisce to some of the same fans, to some newcomers as well, about how Jim James kept wearing some weird hankerchief, haha; the Avett Brothers, well, they were drowned out by the pier, no electricity, but man, what a jam!; and Cat Power, man! you should’ve seen her! I think fell in love…

We know the tickets are sold out. But – we do highly advise to check out the Newport Folk Fest’s after shows (and before shows) as that’s as good a place as any to get a heady brew of your favorite musicians, whom are almost always attacked on stage by fellow guest musicians. It’s totally unbeknownst to us who will show where (RI’s ole Deer Tick McCauley tends to show quite a bit) but we know the ensuing battles are generally worthy of your time.

So, if you’ve got tickets, congrats! Hopefully we (and our unfortunately nightmared friend) shall see you there! And if not, don’t fret, sometimes miracles happen. Especially at the after-party shows. We’ll keep y’all up to date a bit, and hope you enjoyed your 4ths,

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