Newport Folk Festival takes tunes online this weekend


NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s the annual gathering where Bob Dylan went electric in 1965.

But this year, no fans will cover the grounds at Fort Adams for the Newport Folk Festival, which regularly sells out of tickets quickly.

Instead, organizers are taking performances online this weekend with three days of video streaming to fans’ computers, smartphones, or tablets.

Both the Folk and Newport Jazz festivals canceled their 2020 outings back in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo had also said events with crowds of more than 50 people wouldn’t be allowed to take place this summer due to the virus.

Friday, July 31, the festival’s online partners will feature “Mavis 80,” a celebration of legendary gospel and soul singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples. Planned performances include Staples herself, in addition to artists like Brandi Carlile, Ben Harper, and Grace Potter.

Saturday’s online event, “Deer Tick and Friends,” is billed as an “In-Your-House-Party Live From Fort Adams.”

Our Voices Together,” a film by Josh Goleman, closes out the virtual festival Sunday night with original performances from an array of folk performers, from James Taylor to Hiss Golden Messenger. “The spirit of the Newport Folk Fest continues on through this film … and an ending Newport fans expect each year: A moment of togetherness,” said organizers.

Fans are also encouraged to donate to the Newport Festivals Foundation. Usually, the Folk and Jazz festivals generate more than $58 million in revenue every year, according to a 2018 study.

As for the Jazz Festival, a weekend of archival performances is set to stream August 8-9, with a special presentation Aug. 9 on the organization’s Facebook page.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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