Photos by Boston Concert Photography
It’s hard to believe that it has been a month since the Music Savage gang converged on Newport Folk 2015 for what is simply the best festival in the country. We look forward to those three glorious days for 362 days, and when that last note fades out across the harbor on Sunday evening we begin to make plans for the following year.
You see Newport Folk Fest isn’t just about the music, of course THAT is the main reason we all make our way to the island every year, but it is so much more than planning your schedule to catch every band on your must see list. It is a time to reconnect with friends, a place to let your worries drift away for the weekend, a feeling that everything can be made right with a single strum of a well-worn guitar. So, it’s that experience that keeps us coming back. We already know the music will be great, so we only need to focus our attention on finding hotels and collecting enough spending money to buy merch from our favorite artists.
Each new year we say to each other “There’s just no way that Newport can somehow manage to top (insert previous year here),” however we are always proven wrong. Festival producer Jay Sweet always seems to have another card up his sleeve just when you think his best hand has been laid out on the table. Think about how much goes into pulling a festival of this magnitude off year after year and you begin to understand why these three days hold such a special place in all of our hearts. Sweet and his spectacular team have to coordinate everything from artist schedules, to vendors, to stage set-up and break-down, and still find time to make everyone involved feel welcome and appreciated. As a member of the press, having the opportunity to see this all happen behind the scenes is extraordinary.
The tremendous effort put in this year paid off big time. I spoke to so many different artists, as well as various crew members and security, about their experience being at the Fort and one thing came across time and time again…
Every single person involved with the festival talked of how grateful they were to be a part of the experience. Whether said person was playing the stage, guarding the stage, or gathered in front of the stage with hundreds or thousands of their closest friends, they were all so happy to be involved in their own unique way. This is why we love the Newport weekend as much as we do. The camaraderie spread throughout the grounds, both backstage and front, makes Fort Adams seems less like a impenetrable United States Army post built for war and more like a welcoming parapet (that’s for you Decemberists gang) built for a jamboree.
Let’s talk about that jamboree for a moment shall we?
From Friday’s haunting opening chords of Rhode Island’s own Haunt the House, to the closing number from the entire Folk house lineup in ’65 Revisited on Sunday night, the weekend was one highlight reel after another and everyone that took the stage brought their A-game with them for their all too brief moment in the sun.
Opening day pulled in the breezy, twang from Bahamas, a superstar making performance from Leon Bridges, and My Morning Jacket building a wall of sound with Roger Waters. Saturday saw a Spirited Family make the crowd soar, an outlaw cowgirl from Nashville make the crowd swoon, and New England’s favorite son finally finish his set having been interrupted decades earlier by a landing on the moon. On Sunday we were treated to a beautiful set/marriage proposal from everyone’s new favorite Brooklyn troubadour, a spectacular dance party from the soon to be Stephen Colbert bandleader, a foot stomping Nightsweaty hoedown, and a grave-shaking performance from a larger than life Texan.
At the time of this post there are only 332 days, 8 hours, and 30 minutes to go until Newport Folk Festival 2016. Not that we here at Music Savage are counting or anything.
Check out a few of the amazing shots our NFF shutterbug Steve Benoit took of all the fun below and make sure you get yourself to the fort next year.