3,000 miles from Newport Folk

28 July 2014


19 weeks. That’s how long it took since moving to Galway to have a genuine “I miss the good ol USA” moment. Of course since moving to Ireland I’ve missed friends and family, but with how connected we are to technology for the most part I don’t feel that far away. No, it took this past weekend’s Newport Folk Fest to really supply my first true #FOMO moment since picking up and moving across the pond this past spring.

For the last several years I’ve travelled down to Newport, RI with friends on the last weekend of July to the little festival by the sea to join 10,000 other likeminded music lovers in a one of a kind festival. Through the years I’ve been able to witness incredible sets from Wilco, Alabama Shakes, My Morning Jacket, Dawes and so many more. And I didn’t even mention my favorite all time set (Middle Brother 2011) or the legendary Deer Tick after party shows. As great as Galway is this time of year with the collision of the renowned Arts Festival and raucous Race week festivities beginning today, there is one thing Galway was not last weekend: Newport, Rhode Island.

For those who’ve never experienced Newport Folk it’s tough to describe or compare to any other music fest. Thanks to producer Jay Sweet’s never-ending commitment towards one upping himself, year over year the line-up just keeps getting better and better. I laugh when friends make the comment that the fest must be pretty boring if it’s “banjos and hippies strummin’ folk music all weekend.” Tell that to Gary Clark Jr, Jack White or Trombone Shorty. It’s a music lover’s heaven with one-of-a-kind collaborations that take place all across Fort Adams.

The last few years I’ve had the good fortune of running into Newport’s producer Jay Sweet at different shows throughout New England. Our brief conversations usually involve me thanking him immensely for the job he does year in and year out, I end up sounding like a teenage super-fan meeting One Direction and we both go on our separate ways. Here is a great recent interview Jay did where he discusses all things Newport leading up to last weekend- Jay Sweet talks Newport Folk

By all accounts it appears the 2014 edition was one of the best weekends yet in the storied Newport history. Mavis Staples popping up all over the place for her 75th birthday celebrations, Tweedy’s solo project, and yes, more Deer Tick after parties. Mitch Miskified’s Instagram feed says it all: Mitch’s Insta Feed. Thankfully for those off who missed out this year our friends at NPR have a few of the shows available to stream online; this Ryan Adams set sounds pretty damn good!

Ryan Adams Newport Folk Fest 2014

Thank you Newport Folk for reminding me how beautiful the red, white and blue really is. Here’s hoping schedules and stars align and I will be right back where I belong next July, front row with the Folk Family.

Until next time.


p.s – a few memorable shots from previous years, found while stalking various #newportfolk feeds over the weekend:

Jim James soundcheck 2012

Jim James soundcheck 2012

Wilco 2012

Wilco 2012

Matt Vasquez and Taylor Goldsmith from Middle Brother, 2011.

Matt Vasquez and Taylor Goldsmith, Middle Brother 2011.

Deer Tick after party, 2013

Deer Tick after party, 2013

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