More than 50 years after it first started, The Newport Folk Festival continues to represent a broad range of American folk music and its many branches. This year, tickets for the two-day event in Rhode Island disappeared a record three months in advance of the festival. It kicks off this Friday with full concerts by Wilco, Blitzen Trapper and Megafaun, and continues through the weekend with shows by Iron & Wine, Jackson Browne, Alabama Shakes, Conor Oberst and many more.
On this edition of All Songs Considered, host Bob Boilen talks with festival producer, Jay Sweet about the extraordinary talent that makes the annual music celebration so special.
This is the fifth year in a row NPR Music will be at the Newport Folk Festival to live webcast full concerts, along with WFUV, mvyradio, Folk Alley, and WUMB. You can see the full lineup of artists and watch live video from the festival at our Newport Folk page.
This year Newport will celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of Woody Guthrie. All Songs Considered shares music from some of the "disciples" of Guthrie: from Wilco to the supergroup, New Multitudes (consisting of Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker, and Jim James). But the festival is not only about paying tribute and traditional folk artists, but re-defining what folk means today. Every year has a curve ball, and Sweet says this year's sharp elbow is tUnE-yArDs.