Thursday, August 6, 2009

Folk Festival 50 - Day 1

George Wein's Folk Festival 50: August 1 @ Fort Adams State Park, Newport, RI

This past weekend, George Wein's Folk Festival 50 took place at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, RI. For those not in the know, the legendary festival was celebrating its 50th anniversary. And what a celebration it was too! A who's who of old school and new school folk luminaries took the stage. the festival took place over two days, August 1 & 2 and consisted of three stages. I did a lot of back and forth between stages trying to catch as much as possible!

This is how my Folk Festival 50 weekend started. I opted to walk to the stages from the parking lot instead of taking a shuttle. Don't you just love that view? Life as a blogger is a dirty job with all of the sunshine and scenic views but, someone has to do it.

I got there a bit late so there were a few artists that I missed ... hey, I'm not a morning person or an outdoor person! The first act I caught was Tao Rodriguez Seeger. He was a busy guy ... doing his own set and than later in the evening performing with his grandfather Pete Seeger for the nights finale.

I then popped over to check out the Avett Brothers.

Then I went over to catch some of The Low Anthem. I wasn't much into their record so I really didn't have any expectations about their live show. But, it turns out and much to my surprise, I found I rather liked them live. It's funny how seeing someone live can change your mind about their work.

After that, I checked out Tom Morello.

Then I went around to catch Gillian Welch who did her set with Dave Rawlings.

I then dashed around to catch Mavis Staples who tore down the house or in this case, tent!

That's Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Folk Festival 50 founder George Wein greeting one another. They were both watching Mavis Staples do her thing. Ramblin' Jack performed earlier in the day but I missed his performance entirely as he was one of the three acts that opened the festival.

I was curious to see Brett Dennen so after Staples' set, I dashed around to catch the last bit of his set. He was good. He performed barefoot displaying what I call festival feet. I enjoyed what I caught of his show. Should he happen to be playing near me at some point, I'd probably go so I can get the full experience.

From there, I went around to catch the Fleet Foxes.

That was followed by The Decemberists. All of the music I'd heard of The Decemberists prior to this, I didn't much care for. But, I decided they weren't so bad live. The crowd absolutely adored them.

The day closed with Pete & Tao Seeger doing a singalong. Most of the artists that performed that day joined the pair onstage.

Festival co-founder Pete Seeger
Ben Kweller & The Low Anthem
Dave Rawlings, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Gillian Welch, The Low Anthem & Ben Kweller.
The Decemberists & Tom Morello.Billy Bragg & Tom Morello

It was a great day filled with great music. The weather was beautiful and warm ... perfect for a festival. This is how my day ended.