Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Newport Folk Fest Preview and Playlists

This will be my first time at the legendary Newport Folk Fest and since the day the bands were announced I've marveled at how lucky everyone is to see this eclectic group of bands at one festival. Earl Scruggs will be at the festival for the first time since the festival first took place in 1959, please take a moment and wrap your head around that. At the other end of the spectrum Middle Brother, the one LP indie-rock supergroup of sorts, could be playing one of their last shows here as they alluded to in an interview earlier this month.

This is the first time in the impressive 50 year history that the festival sold out in advance. 10,000 people will be attending this year's Newport Folk Festival. The reasons seem to be clear, in that they did a tremendous job with booking as well as using social media more effectively than any other music festival I've followed. They've even had a Newport Folk Fest room since the early days of turntable and it always has a sizable group avidly using the chat box, giddily discussing all thinks Newport Folk Fest related. As for the booking, they gathered groups that appeal to all age groups with a healthy balance of indie credence and tried and true folk and bluegrass bands. Here are two playlists, one has everybody playing on Saturday (minus PS22) and one for everyone playing on Sunday. Every band is represented by one song, with the exception of Wanda Jackson getting two songs because she covers Bob Dylan's "Thunder on the Mountain", which seemed fitting.
Saturday                                                                Sunday
Note: the playlists might not load for you if you're using Chrome or a mobile device, but you can use these direct links: Saturday PlaylistSunday Playlist. There is also a bigger Spotify playlist with 2 or more songs from every NFF artist that can be found here. For optimal listening, play on shuffle.
For people looking for younger indie bands there's: Tegan & Sara, Delta Spirit, Freelance Whales, Typhoon, River City Extension, M. Ward, Middle Brother, Head & The Heart, The Cave Singers, and Mountain Man.

For people looking for the folk and bluegrass sounds: Justin Townes Earle, Chris Thile & Michael Daves, Trampled by Turtles, The Secret Sisters, Brown Bird, Ramblin' Jack, Earl Scrugs, Gillian Welch, The Devil Makes Three, The Wailin' Jennys, Emmylou Harris, Pokey Lafarge, Carolina Chocolate Drops, and The Felice Brothers.

Then there's everything else that doesn't clearly fit into those categories: The Decemberists, Mavis Staples, Gogol Bordello, Sallie Ford, PS22 Chorus, The Civil Wars, Elvis Costello, Amos Lee, Wanda Jackson, and David Wax Museum.

I only grouped them this way to show how diversified and perfectly curated the line up is. I am positive that many people headed to Newport this weekend will be looking forward to seeing bands from each category.
Potential Scheduling Conflicts
Saturday's schedule is an easy one to plan ahead for with the only issues occurring at:
12:35-1:30 slot: Felice Brothers - River City Extension - Typhoon all play at the same time

Sunday's schedule is slightly more nerve racking
3:00 - 4:25pm slot: Amos Lee - Justin Townes Earle - Chris Thile & Michael Daves.
4:20 - 5:20 slot: Elvis Costello - Middle Brother - The Head and the Heart.
Useful Links 
Festival -
               Follow @newportfolkfest on twitter
Newport -
Must-have free iphone app - itunes
Folk Fest Twitter List - Stay on top of all the madness with this curated list of bands in attendance, music bloggers, press, and other important people that know what's up. (coming soon)

Music Bloggers (not published press) in attendance: 
follow their tweets if you enjoy being jealous
New Music Co @newmusicco
RSL Blog @theRSL
Music Vagabond @musicvagabond  & @jpage
Music Savage @musicsavage
Visible Voice @visiblevoice
The Wild Honeypie @wildhoneypie
Sleepover Shows @sleepovershows
& many others...

After Party Concerts: 
7/30 The Newport Nightcap ft. Vikesh Kapoor, Kingsley Flood, Swear & Shake, Pearl & the Beard // At Gas Lamp Grille // $5 at the door, starts at 7pm

7/30 Deer Tick & Friends at Newport Blues Cafe $10
7/31 Coyote Kolb at  Perro Salado // 9pm  Free
More to be added...

Other Newport Folk Festival Previews: 
NPR - Newport folk and jazz festival preview
Boston Phoenix - Newport Folk Festival Expands its Scope
The Wild Honeypie - Newport Folk Festival Guide and Interview with Jay Sweet
The Washington Post - Newport Stays Relevant at 52
Music Savage - Newport Folk Fest Mixtape for downloading
Visible Voice - 8 track mixtape of Newport Folk Festival artists

Hope everyone has a folkin' good weekend. I'll leave you with my favorite music festival song.
"To all the people out there: 
travel safe and take good care... 
...get some sunshine on your souls."

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