Newport Folk FEstival
Newport Folk returns

The Newport Folk Festival is a lot of different things to a lot of different fans. We asked folks in an online forum for their thoughts on what makes Newport special. Here’s what we heard…

“Two words—Folk Family!!!” Linda, MA

“If I’m being totally honest, it’s the cheese fries. But if you want an answer you can more reasonably use, it’s that (almost) everyone is pleasant and kind; there’s a lot of natural camaraderie… at least after the initial speed-walk through the gates to get the blankets down,” Nina, RI

“Community, enjoying great music with kind people who take care of one another and that community includes the musicians who collaborate all weekend.” Patrick, NY

“Every year, my brother and I look forward to a weekend together full of artistry, good will, community, collaboration, and, of course, fantastic music. Added bonus are the years that my parents come as well. It’s really one of the kindest places you can be and is so friendly to folk of all ages!” Alexandra, DC

“I feel like Newport is everything that’s perfect about summer. A lightness, no stress, good vibes wherever you are, time out in the sunshine (hopefully) listening to good music. A Dels lemonade.” Wendy. CT

“There’s nothing like that feeling of unity when everyone is there because they love good music and you’re reuniting with them each summer to do it all over again, but there’s always something fresh, new, and exciting to be discovered. Not to mention the suspense of waiting to see who the Saturday headliner(s) will be this year!” Lee, RI

“Bliss in every direction.” Jason, MA

“In 7 years of attending, I’ve never seen an argument. I’ve never been uncomfortable. And I’ve never felt I couldn’t trust someone. And it seems most people have the same experience. We spend the whole weekend walking around saying: “How lucky are we to be here?” and “How great is this?” NFF feels like ‘Home.’ Or the ‘Home’ I’ve always wanted.” Rick, OH

“Good vibes, great music, and magical sunsets.” Melissa, NY

“My wife Kristen and I look forward to attending Newport Folk every summer to discover new music, connect with old friends, and completely immerse ourselves in the experience. NFF renews our faith in humanity.” Al, CT

“Everything about the community – the music and the people. This has become a tradition every summer for me. I’ve always gone with my sister, sometimes my college roommate comes along, and through it I have connected with old friends and met new ones. It also keeps me connected to the music scene I love. I don’t get to go out to concerts as much as I did when I was younger, and this is a great way to see new artists and some that I have been listening for decades. It is something I look forward to every year.” Sam, NY

“The unexpected “Newport Moments” that will stick in your mind forever. Aka, Glen Hansard’s Auld Triangle, Nathaniel Rateliff and Preservation Hall marching through the crowd, Roger Waters w/ John Prine, the Oh Hellos jumping off stage in 2014, etc.” Nick, PA

“Every year I leave with new favorite music and new friends.” Leigh, MD

“I’ve been going for almost 20 years with the exception of a couple years in the middle when my group of friends couldn’t go. After that gap I missed it so much that I decided to go on my own and realized that I have a Fort full of friends and the Folk Family – I committed to never missing it again if I can help it. Coming back to NFF is a mid-year reset and good for my mental health. Really. The joy, community, music, sun, rain, and everything in between keeps me going for the entire year.” Suzanne, NY

“Getting to wear my special Newport straw hat: falafel and Late July chips: and then the high-fives from all of you on the way out…that’s Newport Folk Fest to me.” Susan, MA

“The magic of Newport is quite simply three days of walking around somewhat aimlessly knowing that no matter where I stop to listen I will be treated to something special. My whole year is spent anticipating these three days, and I haven’t been disappointed yet.” Michele, IL

“The feeling that even though we gather from all around the globe we are one community.” Michael, ME

“There is no pretense to the Newport Folk Festival. Everyone involved, from the artists to the last patron, is there for the music and a sense of community. It’s a purity that no other music festival can match. It would be corny if it weren’t so true.” Geoff, RI

“A perfect weekend of musical discovery & appreciation on Narragansett Bay with my favorite people. And John Prine put it best, “with friends like that, who needs pizza?” Maddie, PA

“The only weekend all year where all is right with the world!” Nick, NY

“Waiting until the breeze is blowing in the perfect direction (so you can still hear the show), and taking that giddy walk out to the beer pier!” Dori, MA

“It’s a music lovers festival, curated with great care and respect for its history and heroes, while simultaneously making space for, and celebrating emerging artists, who through their talent and passion, mold and become part of the tradition that is unique to Newport Folk.” Tim, CT

“Every musician there can’t wait to play at such an iconic venue seeped in history. They can’t wait to play for respectful, captive listeners. And it seems they are just as psyched about playing for and WITH each other, the other musicians. The audience feels this energy, the producers feel it, the media feels it. That’s why it sells out before the lineup is even announced. Everyone is at their best and it opens doors to magical moments of collaboration and community.” Alissa, MA/CA

“The sense of community–onstage and in the crowd.” Tom, FL

“Newport Folk Festival is truly transportive; like good food or wine, it suspends the thought that anything else even exists and reentry into ordinary life is difficult, if not unmanageable.” Martin, ME

“A weekend of non-stop music of favorite artists & new discoveries, seeing old friends & making new ones in a respectful & caring community PS annual purchase of awesome jewelry at Stringin’ Along with ME & Peace Soap!” Gail. NJ

“In search of music with passion? A place where each act puts every ounce of heart and soul into their performance?” Dennis, RI

“The community that gathers to share music, stories, recommendations, sun/rain/mud/whatever, and joy!” Suze, MA

“An annual weekend of pure joy!” Jenny, NY

“I love the musical diversity of the acts each year, and I love the people that come to listen. And they do listen. Which I love. You can hear a pin drop at the Quad stage while Brandy Carlisle is singing Harmonies.” C.J. RI

“Newport Folk is the one time of year I just feel completely at peace. Also I’ve discovered some of my current favorite artists there and met great people there too!” Rachel, TN

“Hope.” Amanda, IN

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music and more for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and The Bay. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.