Day One: Mavis Staples Sings “Bad Self Portraits” with Lake Street Dive in Newport

Lake Street Dive - Photo by Vi Luong/grass clippings blog

Opening Day at the 2014 Newport Folk Festival was loaded with great moments, but there is no question about the most memorable one of the day. On a perfect Friday afternoon on the Quad inside Fort Adams, Lake Street Dive was performing the kind of soulful set that has helped the band sell out show after show all year when they called up Mavis Staples to join them for their hit song, “Bad Self Portraits.” (30 sec clip here).

The crowd, which was already on their feet, roared as Staples, who celebrated her 75th birthday earlier this month and will perform on Sunday at the Festival, sang the entire first verse and then belted out multiple choruses with LSD lead vocalist Rachael Price. I can’t think of a more soulful performance in my lifetime than that paring.

Large crowds gathered for high profile sets from Band of Horses, reggae genius Jimmy Cliff and indie soul groups PHOX and Jenny Lewis. Purer folkers like Jefferson Hammer & Anais Mitchell, Mandolin Orange and Noah Gunderson entranced folk fans with quieter sets while Reignwolf rocked so hard that his set felt a bit out of place (for me at least…but it made for nice photos). Ryan Adams closed out the day making a strong Newport debut as the sun set on the harbor and a sold out crowd of festivarians.

Check out a few shots of the day below from our own Vi Luong. More to come.