“This is a very special festival,” remarked music iconoclast Beck from the Lawn Stage Tuesday evening. “There’s nothing really like this anywhere else in America,” he noted. We couldn’t agree more.
Beck headlined the fifth day of folk music in Newport, a day full of diverse talent. And although you couldn’t find much relief from the hot weather, there was a dose of comic relief from former SNL and Portlandia star Fred Armisen.
Singer-songwriter Emma Swift kicked off the day with a fine set of Dylan covers followed by a dose of badassery from S.G. Goodman. Cameroonian-American Vagabon rocked the Quad Stage with a powerful set while Allison Russell conquered the Fort’s Lawn Stage. (Shout out to all you clarinet players!) No surprise, Langhorne Slim made it out into the crowd, (a trademark move), and sets from Sharon von Etten, Steve Gunn and Bonny Light Horsemen were impressive.
The Festival’s continued emphasis on gender equity and diversity in booking acts was clear Tuesday. Throughout the six-day event, the gender balance of musicians is around 50-50, with numerous artists of color performing. (In what other major festival can you find women of color playing at the same time on “competing” stages?) It’s a testament to the enormous talent simmering under the surface in American music, and part of the mission of this historic Festival.
Newport Folk concludes Wednesday – check back for continued coverage tomorrow. Meanwhile, What’sUp Editor Ken Abrams shares a few pics in today’s photo gallery below.