Newport festivals bring boost to town’s economy

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NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) – Thousands of music lovers flocked to Newport this weekend for the 57th annual Newport Folk Festival.

Crowds of tourists could be seen in more places than the festival at Fort Adams, like the town’s restaurants and shops, bringing a big boost to the local economy.

A steady line of people could be seen waiting for the ferry to Fort Adams, and more traveled by foot, boat, and car to the festival.

Katie Lelievre from Boston tells Eyewitness News this is her seventh folk fest.

“Everyone is having a really good time enjoying the music,” says Lelievre. “You have to sort of sometimes navigate your spot in the crowd or if you’re putting down a chair or blanket and you’re sort of squishing in between people but everyone is just totally chill and everyone is there for the music.”

While crowds make their way to the music, they pass plenty of shopping opportunities along the way.

“Business is great,” says Taylor Toppa, a manager at Hooley Re-Sails in Newport, just around the corner from the ferry stop. “It’s very busy. We have a lot of people coming in for Folk Fest. Everyone is coming in buying hats and sunscreen for Folk Fest. Bags to carry their goods in.”

Even off-season shopping is in-season in Newport during festival weekends.

“We’ve shopped up and down the street so we’ll definitely come back,” says Kimberly Cox from Boston. There’s “not enough time.”

“Businesses in Newport thrive on events like this, the Folk Fest and such,” says Toppa. “We’re a big tourism community so we rely on tourists to help our business grow and thrive.”

The Folk and Jazz festivals are open to people of all ages.

The Jazz Festival kicks off in Newport on July 29th and runs through the 31st this year.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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