As the last powerful notes of the final Newport 2018 set, “A Change is Gonna Come,” flowed over the emotional crowd and through the breeze, drifting across the ocean to spread a message of hope, we all began the internal countdown. We’ve been eagerly anticipating what is about to happen to our senses for approximately eight thousand six hundred and eighty eight hours. We are excited!
Speaking of said excitement the line-up for 2019 is out of this world bonkers. We get incredible up and coming bands/musicians like Black Belt Eagle Scout and Yola making their festival debuts. We have musicians joining forces to form new super-groups like The Highwomen, Mountain Man, and I’m With Her. We get returning favorites like Jeff Tweedy, Hozier, Lake Street Dive, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and The Milk Carton Kids.
We get Sheryl Crow!
We have the unbelievable shows in the museum hosted by both J.P Harris (Outside Folk) and Chris Funk (For Pete’s Sake) featuring outstanding artists like Kyle Craft, Judy Collins, Alice Gerrard, Bill Scorzari, and so many other talented musicians. There are the fabulous Late July Family Tent shows where families and friends get to dance and sing along with beloved New England musicians like Julie Rhodes and Dan Blakeslee, we are lucky enough to have tons of legendary musicians to end each night in way that will make all in attendance say “You remember when (insert fest legend here) closed out (insert night here) wasn’t that amazing?” for years to come.
We all make our own schedule for the bands and musicians that we have been thinking about since the moment the line-up was rolled out. Each of us hoping that the schedule fits into that perfect map of music we have conjured up, but as we know once the time-slots are announced we inevitably run into the overlap of favorite bands playing at the same time. This should not come as a surprise yet it always does. The one thing to remember is that no matter who you have to miss the performance you choose will be extraordinary, because every artist will be at the top of his or her game for that glorious hour. We will be moved to tears, we will be moved to dance, and all will be right with the world for a while.
There are also a TON of Newport after parties to keep the revelry going long into the night. When the last note plays over the Fort Stage crowd you can head back to town and hit up any number of amazing shows that are bound to have one special guest after the other. It all begins tonight July 25th with “All Newport’s Eve Tas-Jam feat. Aaron Lee Tasjan and Friends @ Newport Blues Cafe. There is the “Steal Your Folk” show hosted by The Cook Brothers at the Jane Pickens Theater Friday night, SXNE/Narragansett & PVDlive Present “OldJack’s 7th Annual Newport Nights” @ Jimmy’s Saloon taking place Friday and Saturday, and festival favorites Deer Tick throwing their well loved “Deer Tick & Friends” parties @ Newport Blues Cafe featuring a whose who of Newport superstars. Sleep? We don’t need no stinking sleep!
All of these moments we are about to witness will be made a million times more special because of the people in the crowd that have become the friends you look forward to seeing the same time every year. Whenever I walk through those gates I immediately wonder who I will run into first, and it takes about a minute to run into someone special. You see, these moments at Newport aren’t simply defined by the time we spend at any of the stages where our favorite musicians are creating festival memories to be remembered for years to come, it is also defined by the time we spend in the company of friends old and new.
Stay hydrated, stay happy, stay healthy and have ALL the fun this weekend my friends!