Friday at Newport Folk 2016 in Photos

Friday at Newport Folk 2016 in Photos

Friday at the Folk Fest…

Really very hard to believe that we are already a week removed from the shear greatness that was NFF ’16 and all we have now are our memories to keep us going through the normal routine of our lives. Nothing wrong with that of course. If we all were to spend every weekend like that, surrounded by great music and amazing people in a spectacular location, would they be as special as the fourth week of July?


Friday. Opening day. People arriving to the Fort in droves via ferry, bike, bus, teleportation. Maybe not that last one but I could have sworn I saw a portal. The main topic of discussion amongst the large crowd of revelers awaiting the opening of the gates was who were they all most excited to see. The first acts of the weekend had a group of people in front of me desperate to clone themselves so they could hit every stage and reconvene after to discuss which of them had the best time. I thought that odd. Wouldn’t the clones all know the answer already I asked? And just like that I had new festival friends!

That is one of the best things about Newport. Everyone is there to have a great time and everyone is open to meeting new people. Not more than five minutes after the gates opened I bumped into folks I had met last year and we all hugged like we’d known each other forever. We were all off to see Nashville’s JP Harris make is official Newport debut, and what a debut it was. Harris is no stranger to the festival by any means but this was his first year on the stage roster and he enjoyed his time up there. With a set that included a mix of songs from both JP Harris and the Tough Choices albums, along with singer-songwriter Shelly Colvin sharing vocals and Brown Bird’s MorganEve Swain on fiddle, it was the perfect way to honky-tonk into the day.

Where to head next is always on the mind. Quad Stage it is!

Austin, TX band Wild Child also made their Newport debut this year and wowed the packed in Quad stage. Playing songs from their great new album, Fools, and ending the set with a beautiful cover of the gospel/jazz standard “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free” with the one and only Langhorne Slim on guest vocals. Sticking around the Quad for yet another festival debut, this time by Canadian musician Basia Bulat, was a great choice. With an overwhelming voice, and a few very old and beautiful instruments (one of which a recent eBay purchase we were told) Bulat stole our hearts and received a well deserved standing ovation at the end of the set from the adoring crowd. Atlanta’s hip-hop-folker Raury also had his fest debut on the Quad and brought some stellar moves to the stage, along with songs about unity and love, and had the crowd up and moving. Newport regular, and Middle Brother-er, Matthew Logan Vasquez probably had the most fun of the weekend. He delivered a knock-out performance while dressed all in black and rockin’ the fuck out. Dan Auerbach and his band The Arcs closed out the Quad with a gritty, guitar-whalin’ set that was a foot stomping good time.

Meanwhile on the Fort Stage..

British folk sisters The Staves created beautiful harmonies that floated out over the harbor on the breeze of a gorgeous set that included songs from their most recent album, If I Was,  and had those that had gathered early around the stage swaying along. I bet those voices carried across the water and had everyone on that distant bridge wishing they were closer. Alabama’s St. Paul & The Broken Bones kicked out the funky jams and brought the power of the soul to their main stage debut. Not sure who has having the best time the crowd or the band, but the smiles on the faces and the twists on the hips, could be found on everyone within earshot of the Fort. I swear those boys could raise the dead with those tunes. Ending the night with folky-comedy stylings from the lovable goofballs known as Flight of the Conchords was perfect. Playing the favorites like “The Most Beautiful Girl (in the room),” “Business Time,” and “Bowie,” along with the perfect song for the setting, “Seagull,” the audience sang along and cheered on the New Zealand duo’s entertaining and all to brief set.

Take a look at our first day in photos from our photographer, Jamie Reiley,  and let us know which show you most enjoyed.