travel journal :: Newport Folk Fest Day 1

Another post from my short little travels the past couple days. I’ll most likely be doing a Wanderlust post about the Rhode Island coast as a whole and one about the festival but here’s this to hold you over (because I know you can’t live without my posts…)

Saturday was the first day of the festival. We awoke from our ocean side camping spot and drove up and around to Jamestown. It’s a small town on an island in between the mainland and Newport. It’s a wonderfully quaint little New England village, picturesque. We grabbed breakfast at a bakery and headed over to Fort Adams State Park across a beautiful bridge to Newport.

We got to the festival a little early, thankfully beating a lot of the traffic and getting a decently close parking spot (which we would later be even more grateful for, you’ll find out later why).

I think the thing I loved so much about this particular festival is that it’s just he perfect size, and also has a crazy amount of history (take that Bonnaroo!). Yes, there were some crazies there and people wearing poor excuses for clothing, but overall, it was just the most wonderful experience.

The first day was spread of nicely in terms of who we wanted to see. We started the day of with a band that I worked some with at Thirty Tigers called Apace Relay. They put on a great show and they had a decent crowd watching.


We wandered back to the main stage only to leave a little bit later. Thankfully, we did because we got to see 1/2 of the set of Spirit Family Reunion. Seriously guys, amazing amazing stuff going on for them. They have this deep folk gospel vibe and just so much enjoyed themselves on stage. It was actually the only record I bought at the fest.


We saw just a bit of Deer Tick’s set before we ran on over to see the Alabama Shakes. And Lord, can that girl saaaang. It was utterly flawless and soulful. As they were playing their last song, we literally ran over to see First Aid Kit, who started the same time Alabama Shakes ended.


They also were great fun to watch. They are one of my favorite bands, so of course I loved it. The sound was a little off with mics not being balanced well, but in the moment it didn’t even matter. They beautifully covered a Joan Baez song, Diamonds and Rust, which was the show stopper for
me. During their last song, King of the World, Conner Oberst blasted on stage and sang his part in that song, so that was fun.


As soon as they finished, we went over to catch some of Iron and Wine’s set. It was cool to see him in person, but the show just wasn’t doing it for me so thankfully I left early and saw a lot of Blind Pilot’s set, which absolutely killed. I’ve been a semi-fan of them for a while, but this set me over the top. Just good music.


I stayed for a bit of City and Color, but it just wasn’t impressive. He was kind of stuck up and complained about not being able to play with his band. Over him.

Then, the closer, My Morning Jacket. Oh man, what can I say?? Jim James is a crazy, weird, but super talented musician. At different point during the show, he was wearing a cape, a towel on his head, and this necklace type thing which was basically a mini soundboard he was controlling things from. Just pure craziness. Then Britney from Alabama Shakes came up and they covered a Levon Helm song (a tribute, he passed away this year). That was definitely a highlight for me. I was pretty much speechless the entire show. Right as their set was finishing, it started to pour, for my them to forgo an encore.


At first, it was like “Cool! Rain! We are so totally devoted fans.” But this rain was torrential downpour. We walked back about a mile to our cars in blinding rainfall. (which is why we were super glad we were at the front of the parking lot) I had on a raincoat, which did absolutely nothing after about 15 minutes. After it being annoying, it was quite comical. I probably ha about an inch of rain in the boots I was wearing and rain was pouring into the sleeves of my coat causing the water to form a stream down my formerly dry shirt. Just pure ridiculous. It looked like I had just jumped in the ocean. After finally making it to the car, we changed our drenched clothes before fighting traffic out from the park.

We had dinner at a kitschy pizza place in an old fire station in downtown Newport and decompressed and obsessed about the entire day of musical bliss.

Out night ended with the car parked along a small park and our beds were the car seats. And they weren’t even that bad. The funny part was trying to get dressed and freshened up the next morning with people jogging by and totally judging us with their looks as they went by. Oh, youth, please never leave me.

More about day 2 at the festival and the journey home tomorrow πŸ™‚

Live what you love.


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