Friday, July 31, 2009

50th Anniversay of Newport Folk Festival

This weekend is the 50th anniversay of the Newport Folk Festival. It began as a spin-off of George Wein's Newport Jazz Festival, but took on a life of its own. Early on, Pete Seeger suggested a new format. Each artists would be paid the same modest $50 fee and the extra money would be spent on additional artists and, more importantly on "song-catchers who would scout the country for unknown or forgotten folk artists. Special efforts were made as well to recruit young and rising artists. Joan Baez made her national debut here.

The festival was discontinued, but it's back for a big gala event this year. NPR has a mini-site devoted to the Newport Folk Festival. It is also broadcasting lots of perfomances live on Saturday and Sunday. NPR Music, WFUV, Folk Alley and mvyradio will broadcast and webcast from the Folk Festival 50 on Aug. 1-2.

Here's Saturday's Scheduled Live Performances, check the NPR site for further details.

12:10 p.m. Billy Bragg

1:20 p.m. The Avett Brothers

2:40 p.m. Gillian Welch

4 p.m. Fleet Foxes

5:30 p.m. The Decemberists

7 p.m. A Singalong with Pete & Tao Seeger & friends

The NPR site has lots of archived performances from past NFF and even a free 12-tune download. Unfortunately, it is done through iTunes, so you are going to be restricted on where you can play them. There a nice photo essay on Bob Dylan at the 1963 festival.

1965 is the year I would have liked to have been at Newport. I wouldn't have been booing.

Couldn't find a video of the third song, but this is the performance with pics from the NFF.

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