NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — Sailboats and song capped off another successful year for the Newport Folk Festival as the venerable and reinvigorated musical event refused to show its age.
Thousands of fans were treated to performances from Beck, the Lumineers and more than a dozen other bands on four stages Sunday at historic Fort Adams on Narragansett Bay. The festival began Friday afternoon and concluded just as the sun began to set Sunday as boats plied the blue waters offshore.
The festival, first held in 1959, is arguably enjoying its best years since the 1960s, when Joan Baez, Bob Seeger and Johnny Cash all played Newport and Bob Dylan angered folk fans and changed American music forever by going electric in 1965. The event now attracts a mix of music icons like Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and younger bands from genres including folk, rock, blues and jazz.
“It’s the setting, the people and the music,” said Alex Kimball of New London, Conn., who attended his first festival Sunday with friend Meredith McCrave of Ledyard, Conn. “It’s just a peaceful, mellow time. Why did it take us so long to come?”
Tickets for the Saturday and Sunday shows sold out five months ago — the earliest tickets for the main two days of the festival have sold out in its history. Attendance for each day is capped at 10,000. Friday’s performances attracted nearly 9,500.
Jess Doucette and her friend Dave Carpino, both of Worcester, Mass., bought tickets before this year’s lineup was even announced. Doucette said she considered it a safe bet.
“With so many bands playing you know you’re going to find at least five or six that you love,” she said.
Elliott, 81, stayed around following his Sunday set to sample some New England oysters and pose for photos with fans before taking the stage to do a number with Beck. Elliott has played Newport 10 or 11 times, he said, going back to the 1963 festival.
“I’ll be back,” he said.