Forty seven years ago at the 10th Annual Newport Folk Festival, the crowd at Festival Field in Newport was entertained by Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash, James Taylor and many others.

While James Taylor’s set would be cut short by George Wein because a man named Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, there was something else that was ‘launched’ on that warm Summer day – the career of Kris Kristofferson.

The story of that performance was heard for the first time by many (including myself) on July 22, 2016 at the Museum Stage at the 2016 Newport Folk Festival when Festival Producer Jay Sweet introduced and welcomed back (in what was a suprise performance) Kris Kristofferson to Newport.

You see, when the Johnny Cash troupe performed on opening night of the 1969 Newport Folk Festival, Cash asked Kris Kristofferson to play a few tunes.

Sweet explained that George Wein  took some convincing by Cash to let the not well known singer-songwriter perform at the festival.

His appearance and performance of  “Me and Bobby McGee” and other songs would give Kristofferson a launch into his legendary musical career.

For those lucky enough to be in the small and intimate Museum on Friday, they were treated to a raw, classic and absolutely beautiful performance by the 80 year old Kristofferson.

Photo by Ryan Belmore

Opening for Kristofferson on Friday, that would be Kris’s daughter Kelly Kristofferson and her duo.

Kelly Kristofferson

You never in your wildest dreams think that you will see someone as legendary and influential as Kris Kristofferson, but then it happens and it’s a surprise, and it’s one of those moments that you will never forget the goosebumps and how that moment felt.

Thanks for the memories, Kris!

What’sUpNewp’s 2016 Newport Folk Festival Coverage is brought to you by Midtown Oyster Bar
What’sUpNewp’s 2016 Newport Folk Festival Coverage is brought to you by Midtown Oyster Bar

Popular Stories Right Now

Ryan Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp, LLC. Belmore has led What's Up Newp since December 2012. Belmore also serves as the Sr. Editor - North America for Mountain News - publisher of OnTheSnow. In his spare time, Belmore serves as the Vice President for the Board of Directors at Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors at Lucy's Hearth. Belmore is also a member and supporter of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to