Bela Fleck (Photo: Rick Farrell)

If there was a theme to the first day of the 2022 Newport Folk Festival on Friday, July 22, it was variety and diversity. A wide range of sound was represented, including several genre-defying bands and artists. No doubt, the focus was simply all about great music.

The festival was more or less back to normal this year after the downsized six-day event held in 2021 due to the pandemic. The sold-out first day at Fort Adams featured artists playing genres ranging from punk rock to bluegrass, indie to world music.

Highlights included the “My Bluegrass Heart” led by banjo extraordinaire Bela Fleck, the funky neo-soul of Lee Fields, and the chill jam band vibes of Goose. Last-minute substitute Faye Webster was strong in her Newport debut, and Taj Mahal, who first played the festival in 1968, was inspiring.

International sounds were weaved into sets from Silk Road Ensemble and Arooj Aftab and Dinosaur Jr. woke up the Quad Stage with a punk-inspired set for the ages. Courtney Barnett and her band returned to Newport to rock the Fort Stage and The National closed out the first day of the festival.

Check back later this weekend for more coverage as the festival continues through Sunday. Meanwhile, we’re sharing some top-notch photos of Day One from WUN photographer Rick Farrell below.

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.

Rick Farrell

​Rick Farrell of Mojo Photography has been drawn to music his entire life. Maybe it was growing up in Newport, RI, host to the venerable Newport Jazz and Folk festivals. Or maybe it was the countless hours listening to his older siblings' classic LP's and 45's on the stereo in the 1960's. Whatever the reason, there has always been a strong connection.

He had originally taken up photography as a hobby, eventually gravitating towards shooting professionally in 2007. Never knowing what his true passion or niche was, proved to be very frustrating to say the least. Then in 2009 he shot a concert, and everything seemed to click. He had discovered his passion! Concert photography!

He considers himself fortunate to have photographed shows at some of the premier venues in New England, including Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium. He has literally photographed hundreds of shows, including some of the biggest acts in today’s music industry. He has photographed many esteemed festivals including the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Newport Folk Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, and Farm Aid. His work has been published in numerous outlets locally, regionally, and nationally.

Musically, he loves everything from rock to country, jazz, R&B, pop, and classical. There is no greater feeling for him than capturing a moment on stage for others to enjoy for posterity. Whatever your taste, his goal is to provide "music for your eyes."