Bottom Line Recap: Newport Folk Fest 2010


Newport Folk Festival 2010. Photo by Karina Harwood

Got back from Newport last night. Here are some bottom line thoughts… 

  • Overall Experience: Awesome and I’ll totally go back. I don’t think it beat my 2005 Telluride experience, but it came pretty damn close.
  • Crowd: The crowd was a huge mix, including Baby Boomer-WFUV-lovin-chatty-hippie-music-snobs, Brooklyn hipsters with full arm tats, and wholesome moms.
  • Lineup: It was the perfect mix and hands down the best linup for festivals this summer. I like having old timers and new guys. I think there were a few folks missing (like Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Alison Krauss, Bela Fleck, Mumford & Sons, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Langhorne Slim), but we can’t have everything now can we?
  • Three Stages (this was the first year): It was great having three stages because there’s always something to check out. However, I also hated this because I hate missing stuff. BUT, nearly everything is on NPR here, so I feel good. My wife and I were both at the main stage the least.
  • High Points For Me: Preservation Hall, Punch Bros, Horse Feathers, David Wax Museum, The Low Anthem, Edward Sharpe (it was hard making a limited list though)
  • High Points for My Wife: Avett Bros, A.A. Bondy, Ben Sollee
  • New People I Saw And Loved: Elvis Perkins, Pokey Lafarge, The Low Anthem, Blitzen Trapper and Liz Longley.
  • BUMMED That I Didn’t See: Richie Havens, The Swell Season and Andrew Bird (though I saw him play with Preservation Hall). A bunch of others I only saw half sets, but that was fine.
  • Worst Moment of the Festival: When we found out the Elvis Perkins was replacing Justin Townes Earle because he cut his hand open.  Don’t get me wrong. Elvis is great. We just didn’t know this until Elvis got on stage instead of Justin. It seemed like we were the only ones that didnt know that was coming.
  • Coolest Moment: Ed Sharpe crowd control. It was nuts and made everyone feel like they were at Woodstock. (Yeah, damn The Man.)
  • The Food: Lobster roll was amazing. Not much was cheap, but nothing outrageous, so I was happy. Getting a beer was a huge ordeal. I had one beer the entire festival. 
  • Integration: Yim Yames was the busiest man in Newport. Everyone played with Yames. The Preservation Hall Band played with a lot of folks too. I felt like there wasn’t much mixing, but a reader pointed out a bunch of spots that I missed (jumping from stage to stage). (UPDATED)
  • Friday Night Show: The show on Friday was Steve Martin, Sarah Jarosz and Tim O’brien. They were all awesome. It was worth the ticket if you’re traveling.
  • Doc Watson: He can pick faster than he can think. I love that ole guy.

More on the way. Also, here’s the Boston Globe’s review…also very positive. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll fill you in.