Thursday, August 2, 2012

Newport Folk Festival: Saturday Through My Lens

Newport Folk Festival, Saturday, July 28 at Fort Adams State Park, Newport, RI

Fort Stage audience, Newport Folk Festival 2012

This year, we once again made our way to the Newport Folk Festival with camera in hand (the Newport collection can be seen HERE).  The festival sold out three months in advance and the place was packed with music fans.  People were everywhere, even the portable potty's seemed to have longer lines than usual.  I know, that's a weird thing to notice; I'm quirky, remember?  But, every time I went to the Quad stage, it seemed I had to weave my way through and past the lines to get there.  I don't recall that happening so much last year which was also sold out.  

The day started out sunny and rather warm and ended in with a spectacular downpour.  This year saw the addition of the "Museum Stage" which was located in of course the museum at the fort.  Sadly, I missed all but one of the performances that took place there over the weekend.  It became very clear, very quickly that you had to pick who you wanted to try and catch.  It was a game of who you wanted to see perform more or perhaps who you wanted to see less than someone else.  Maybe it was just me but it felt like there was even more overlapping of sets this year ... some with the same start times others with start times just five minutes apart.  Getting from one location to the other was quite the workout.  I walked in total over four miles (and nearly four on Sunday as I made a conscience decision not to run around so much) taking in what the festival had to offer.

Based on crowd reaction, all of the Fort Stage, that would be the main stage, artists were highlights.  Brown Bird who played one of the smaller stages last year kicked things off on the main stage.  The duo had the late morning/early afternoon audience captivated by their down home bluesy folk.  And whoa, someone sheared David Lamb (lets all collectively groan at that bad pun) ... a moment of silence for the beard that was.  More Brown Bird photos HERE.

MorganEve Swain of Brown Bird

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who will play this coming week at the Newport Jazz Festival as well, brought a bit of New Orleans to Newport.  Every time they've played Newport, I've managed to missed their set, until now.  Previously, I just always saw their leader Ben Jaffe walking around the grounds with his tuba.  Anyway, bluegrass legend Del McCoury made an appearance during their set.  And, we have here another Ben Sollee sighting, yes another, he was on one of the smaller stages earlier but we'll get to that later.  More Preservation Hall Jazz Band photos HERE.

Ben Jaffe of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band

The Alabama Shakes who have been garnering a lot of attention of late got massive crowd love.  Leader Brittany Howard belted out song after song.  One minute she was doing a guttural growl, the next a bluesy yelp.  It was a vocal performance that I heard many compare to the late Janis Joplin.  At one point, a person next to me informed me that I would get chills.  While the predicted chills didn't happen, it was enjoyable none the less.  More Alabama Shakes photos HERE.

Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes

Dawes who played a smaller stage two years ago and managed to work in an unscheduled performance of a few songs last year, made their main stage debut as well. The audience loved them and if you've never seen them live you have to check them out. Their live show is a well-played, unrestrained, one helluva good time kind of thing.  Delta Spirit frontman Matt Vasquez put in an appearance.  Leader Taylor Goldsmith seemed to be everywhere over the weekend.  The only person whom might have been a part of more sets was Ben Sollee, who may well have set a record!  More Dawes photos HERE.

Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes

Patty Griffin took the stage, unplugged.  I'd forgotten how much I dig her work.  She oozed charm and talent and received much love from the audience.  More Patty Griffin photos HERE

Patty Griffin

My Morning Jacket, looking snazzy'ish in dress ... there was a seersucker suit sighting folks, closed day two of the festival.  Apparently, the deity of rain is a fan because said deity sent down over three inches of rain that evening.  Leader Jim James all in white, hair blowing in the wind, and for a song, draped himself in a cape.  A planned encore with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band was scrapped but I think the fans were happy with the show they received.  More My Morning Jacket photos HERE.

Jim James of My Morning Jacket

Over on the Quad Stage, Robert Ellis kicked things off followed by Jonny Corndawg.  I didn't stay to hear much of either set but what I heard, was enjoyable.

Robert Ellis

Jonny Corndawg

When I made it around to hear some of Deer Tick's set, they were in the middle of their opening number, a cover John Lennon's "Mother."  At this point, getting in and out of the Quad area took a great deal of weaving through throngs of people and lots of "excuse me" to reach my destination.  And it was here that we had another Matt Vasquez sighting.  This time he was lurking around the side of the stage.  I had to move on to another stage so I never did see if he put in a proper appearance.  At any rate, I'm not the biggest Deer Tick fan but they seem to always put on a good rollicking show.  More Deer Tick photos HERE.

Deer Tick

Sharon Van Etten was up next.  It was another set I only saw a small portion of.  The bit I saw, Van Etten seemed to be enjoying herself tremendously.  More Sharon Van Etten photos HERE.

Sharon Van Etten

Iron and Wine took the stage next.  Sam Beam hit the stage wearing flip-flops that distracted me for a while.  I say they were pink, a guy near me said they were red.  Regardless of the color, my eyes kept being drawn to his feet. Curse you Mr. Beam for making me spend so much time thinking about your feet!  I did enjoy his set even if I was distracted.  More Iron and Wine photos HERE.

Sam Beam

Billed as the Guthrie Family Reunion, the Guthrie clan closed out the Quad Stage.  The Guthrie's took the stage led by Arlo Guthrie, who didn't actually appear until after two songs, for a rendition of his father's "Pretty Boy Floyd."  Cathy Guthrie pulled out one of her Folk Uke songs, "Shit Makes The Flowers Grow," leaving me with another Guthrie sing-a-long song stuck in my head ... and I thank you for that.  I wasn't feeling well so I only stayed for a small portion of their set instead, opting to find a place to rest up a bit that wasn't surrounded by people.  As a result, I hear I missed "Coming Into Los Angeles," much to my dismay, and in general an all around good set.  More Guthrie Family Reunion photos HERE.

Arlo Guthrie

Over on the Harbor Stage, Apache Relay kicked things off.  I'd only heard their name but not their music so I wasn't familiar at all with them.  Their singer is very rock star looking. I enjoyed the portion of their set that I heard.  I headed off to another stage after their first song with guest Ben Sollee who was everywhere over the course of the weekend.  More Apache Relay photos HERE.

Apache Relay

My final visit to the Harbor Stage was to catch a few moments of Spirit Family Reunion. They had an old school vibe even singing around one mic together.  More Spirit Family Reunion photos HERE.

Spirit Family Reunion

The day ended like this ...

The Rain

 Coming soon ... Day 3, otherwise known as Sunday.