Listener Supported Public Media from Fordham University

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Newport At 50 - Lookin' Good!

by Janeen Shaitelman

For a festival that didn’t think it was going to happen this past winter, you would never know it by looking at the generations of artists that came out to celebrate and be a part of this important milestone in Live Music.

It is always great -- and in the past few years, seemed to do its part to try and shake the “Folk Festival” label. But this year, Newport celebrated the old and new. Fleet Foxes, Joan Baez, Brett Dennen, Arlo Guthrie, Josh Ritter, Campbell Brothers, Guy Clark, The Decemberists, Pete Seeger and so many more. The stories and storytellers ruled the weekend, and I felt privileged to be there for it and hear the tales straight from the mouths of Pete, Arlo and from Joan Baez (not to mention her Dylan impersonation!). There had to be over 88,000 people there according to someone from the Newport Fire Department, but it didn’t feel crowded or overwhelming. For me, favorites included: Del McCoury, Josh Ritter, Arlo, Fleet Foxes, Neko Case, Avett Brothers, Pete Seeger’s singalongs plus more I can’t remember right now.

Team FUV was there – meeting people and handing out the ever-popular chapstick and fans – and this year we had an added element with our live broadcasts from Newport with NPR, with hostess Rita Houston. Hopefully, you got to listen and enjoy. Its still available too! I need to check it out, as there is so much I missed. You can really only be at one stage at a time.

Thank you, George Wein, for making Newport at 50 happen and making sure this festival sticks around for a while longer.

[Archived audio and pics from Newport 2009]