I cannot wait to head to Newport Folk this year. It’s no secret that three days on Fort Adam State Park are my favorites of the year — industry friends, folk friends and some of my best friends all gather for a weekend of impressive music in one of the most beautiful parts of Rhode Island. I thin This year there is no shortage of amazing acts to catch. Here is your comprehensive guide of who to see, and how to prepare a really amazing festival!
This Is The Kit: 1:10 – 2:00 @ The Harbor Stage Kate Stables is quickly becoming one of my favorite songwriters, so I can barely contain my excitement to see her play live for the first time.
JD McPherson: 12:35-1:25 @ The Fort Stage. Watch as JD fuses the new and the old seamlessly.
Glorietta: 2:40-3:40 @ The Quad Stage Glorietta will be one of two super groups debuting at Newport this year. If they’re anything like Traveller or Grandma’s Hand’s Bad, then this will be a set to remember. Wild Child’s Kelsey Wilson will be featured, so that’s yet another reason to go.
Lucius: Fort Stage, 3:10-4:10 Lucius will provide a great folk-pop pick me up that will get you through the rest of the day
St. Vincent: 5:40 – 6:45 @ The Quad Stage I never been disappointed by a St. Vincent performance. But I also never know what to expect when I see St. Vincent live–this time is no exception. With Annie’s flair for video screens and large scale productions, I am interested to see how she will pair her theatrical set (and album) back to fit the confines of the Quad Stage. I know I’ll be there to see how she does it!
Curtis Harding (11:20–12:05 @ The Fort Stage) and Lukas Nelson (12:30-1:20 @ The Fort Stage): I haven’t listened a ton to either of these artists, but from little what I have heard, I think they stand good chances of being two of my annual “Newport Discoveries”.
Tank And The Bangas: 1:25-2:15 @ The Quad Stage This group is a legendary live band, known for their fun performances. Tank And The Bangas are the one band that everyone has told me to see at Newport, so I plan on doing just that. You should too!
Phoebe Bridgers: 2:25-3:15 @ The Harbor Stage Phoebe is the critics darling, so expect to see her on nearly every “sets to watch” list. Her hype is *slightly* overblown, but Stranger In The Alps is very good album and it really can’t hurt to see her set in a more intimate setting than normal.
Jenny Lewis: 4:05-5:00 @ The Quad Stage Jenny Lewis may be best known as the hard rocker who fronts NAF and who fronted Rilo Kiley. But Jenny has serious chops in the folk realm. If you’re unfamiliar (or just don’t believe) spin Rabbit Fur Coat before seeing her on Saturday.
Courtney Barnett: 4:40-5:45 @ The Fort Stage Courtney Barnett will be playing a really, really strong new album against a beautiful backdrop in the warm summer sun. A Gillian Welch cover and a Jen Cloher appearance are also likely. What the hell more could you want?
Hamilton Leithauser + Rotsam: 5:00-6:05 @ The Harbor Stage Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam made a brilliant album together called I Had A Dream That You Were Mine. But here’s the thing. They don’t play it together too often, so be sure to see this rare appearance of two talented musicians on the same stage.
Unannounced: 6:15-7:30 @ The Fort Stage The last time this happened it was James Taylor who was unannounced. Nuff Said.
Twain: 11:00–11:40 @ The Harbor Stage Ask anyone listening to folk music who you should listen to and they’ll tell you Twain. His performance is a bit out there, but it is one that you won’t forget–and at the very least, you’ll be inspired by his talent.
Jen Cloher: 12:05-12:50 @ The Harbor Stage Jen Cloher seems at ease on the stage. I saw her play solo last fall, and I can only picture how great she’ll sound supported by her band and hear her songs the way that they are meant to be heard.
Passenger: 12:30-1:20 @ The Fort Stage I haven’t seen Passenger live yet so this will be a highlight for me.
The Lone Bellow: 1:50-2:45 @ The Fort Stage The Lone Bellow always put on a great show that surveys the best of their talents and catalogue. If you see them, especially this you won’t regret it!
Jonny Fritz 2:45-3:30 @ The Museum Stage I first heard Jonny’s music from his band Traveller. I am looking forward to hearing more of his tunes this weekend!
Brandi Carlile 4:45-5:45 @ The Fort Stage If you even skim this blog, you know that I am obsessed with Brandi Carlile. In 2018 she holds the spot for my favorite concert and my favorite album. Her shows give me chills and cannot be missed. If you see one show at Newport, see Brandi at the Fort Stage.
A Change Is Gonna Come 6:15-7:30 @ The Fort Stage When Newport promises an all star lineup, and when they do it for the last set of the festival, you better believe that its gonna be an all star line up. Don’t leave the Fort early and miss it!
Get There Early: Newport is a festival where some of the best acts play before or at 1pm. Unlike festivals that last 15 hours and go until 1am, you’re really doing yourself a disservice if you don’t show up right around doors.
Know Your Set Up: Fort Adams has areas for food, crafters, charities, and of course, four distinct stages. At the beginning of the festival do yourself a favor and take the time to learn the lay out of the grounds so you aren’t late to your favorite artists set!
Get The App + Know Your Schedule: There are so many great, but overlapping, sets this year. Get the app to help you keep them all straight. If you like the ones you want to see, the app creates a schedule for you in favorites! Important festival announcements, or impromptu set announcements are also shared through the app, so it’s pretty helpful to have.
Stop And Smell The Roses: I find myself discovering a new band at Newport every year. In 2016 it was The Staves and Frightened Rabbit, two of my absolute favorite acts. In 2017 it was illuminating sets from Mandolin Orange, Dr. Dog, Marlon Williams and The Wild Reeds that truly solidified my love of those acts. Don’t miss one of your favorites in the pursuit of hearing something new, but make sure you set aside sometime to discover a new group. Or if you’re passing by and like what you hear, or are even intrigued, stop and listen. You could discover your new favorite artist.
Pack For The Car Ride Home: Getting out of the parking lot at Fort Adams State Park can take some time. Be patient, but be sure to pack snacks, a cooler of drinks and a good attitude–you could be in line to get out for 45 minutes!
Check Twitter: Similar to the official festival app, Twitter will be the place where artists are most likely to announce if and when they’ll be playing a surprise after show in Newport that nite. But sometimes you’re just in the right spot at the right time, and that’s pretty damn cool too.
Rustic, But Fashion: Newport might be the only festival where you can leave the flower crown and crop top at home. Stick with denim, more denim, and maybe some overalls to create the “rustic chic” look that will let you embrace the full festival vibe.
Sitting Encouraged: This is one of the few festivals where you can bring a blanket or even a chair and just park it all day. Get a good spot with your blanket early and you are set for eight hours of great music!
Be Crafty: The crafters at Newport have some pretty incredible stuff at prices that are reasonable, especially reasonable for a festival. The crafters village is something that makes Newport unique, so be sure to see it.
#TBT: Newport 2017
Take a look back at some of my favorite conversations from last year’s trip to the Fort!