Newport Folk Festival - Crowds Mightily Entertained, Soaked

Saturday - Aug 2, 2008

A deluge in Newport made things very muddy

- but didn't dampen the spirits of the crowd

BragginBilly here. It turned out to be a great day for music, but it was sure was a wet one, for those who didn't make it under one of the very few and very crowded tents at the Newport Folk Festival.

The weekend had kicked off on a far-drier evening with a very special performance by Beach Boy Brian Wilson - a late addition to the Newport Folk Festival weekend.

I arrived at the festival early afternoon on Saturday after fighting both Boston and Newport traffic jams. I was totally bummed to miss Jakob Dylan. There was still so much to see. Here's a glimpse into an entertaining day at Newport:



Trey Anastasio hit the stage and was greeted by screams of "Welcome back Trey!" He just shot back a big smile and dug in. It was only the Phish frontman's first second public stage performance and 17 months and he lit it up. (One has to wonder if Trey's performance at the Festival will guide him towards a Phish reunion?)

All Smiles and Down to Business

Things have definitely changed for the Folk Festival - and based on the impressive lineup this year, one couldn't help but say for the better. Anastasio was one of the few performers on stage Saturday that went unplugged.


Zooey Deschanel

About the time the drops started falling it was time to hit the one big tent to catch She & Him. This was very lucky because I managed to get one of the last couple spots under the tent before the deluge arrived. They put on a great show. Zooey's voice was as good as you would hope and the sly smiles and sideways looks made for an entertaining, if understated, performance. It was a very happy surprise that you got a lot more M. Ward in the live performance then you did on the album. His guitar play added some extra edge to one of my favorite albums of the year so far.


M Ward

An Early Appearance from Jim James!


Lettin' it Fly at Newport

Jim James - Suspicious Minds
(Elvis Presley cover)

Jim James also popped out to do a song with group in advance of his set and kicked up the vibe a few more notches. Jim James, of My Morning Jacket fame, followed up with an amazing set. He switched back and forth between guitar and something called an omnichord. Toward the end of his set he commented about amazing it was to be playing such a storied music festival (it began in 1959) and walking amonst the ghosts of many of music's greats. I think he proved himself worthy of that company.


Cat Power - I Found A Reason
(Velvet Underground cover)

As the sun finally emerged emerged it was time for Cat Power to hit the stage. Chan Marshall's aggressive stage presence as she stalked from one side of the stage to the other, stood in stark contrast to the soulfulness of their music. Although known for being quite mercurial, the performance went off without a hitch - much to the pleasure of all those who had waited out the storm.

Sunday Recap: We gracefully defer to our esteemed colleague at Aquarium Drunkard.

Thanks to the Planners and Organizers of the Festival. You did a fantastic job and without all your work and careful planning, things would not have gone so well. (Now if we could only get Mother Nature on board!) Looking forward to see how they can top this one in 2009!


Anonymous said…
This information is wrong:

> It was the Phish frontman's first
> public stage performance and 17
> months and he lit it up. (One
> has to wonder if Trey's performance
> at the Festival will guide him
> towards a Phish reunion?)

Trey played at the Rothbury Music Festival on July 6th 2008, just one month ago. Might want to do some fact checking on your article...
Ryan Spaulding said…
Duly noted. When Trey's Newport Folk Festival was booked - there were no earlier dates scheduled - an easy detail for us to miss as developments occur.

And hey dude, take it easy. We're a blog of people that do this for fun - not a staff of fact checkers working for a newspaper.

The bottom line is that Trey hasn't been on stage for a long time.
Anonymous said…
Hey there, noticed you are a Cat Power fan, thought you would like to check out Arrica Rose, who just released a new album entitled, "La La Lost" on Poprock Records.
Here’s the myspace link:
Unknown said…
Is it possible that you posted a recording of the Trey show anywhere like Dimeadozen or TheTradersDen because the sound quality of the sample is amazing!
Ryan Spaulding said…
Hey Ping, it twas not I but I had heard the material and some of it is juicy! thanks for stopping by.

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