NEWPORT: Did That Actually Happen?

Breaking the silence…

First off, I apologize. It’s been an entire week since my last post and I’ve felt like a slacker. But I have an excuse! Newport Folk Festival 2011 rocked my world. In my last post, I explained how I’d be spending the festival…mostly working my tail off, and enjoying whatever I could catch here or there. Well, the entire experience was quite stunning…and left me somewhat in a state of shock (and exhaustion). So it took me a week before I could bring myself to log on here, click ‘new post’, and attempt to get my feelings across to you. And here we are.

The strongest feeling I’ve come away with is a sense of pride and accomplishment. I was part of an awesome team who kicked ass covering the festival…bringing the main stage acts LIVE across the radio airwaves in Newport (96.5FM) and on the Cape & Islands (92.7FM) as well as posting recordings of nearly every set of music performed throughout the weekend on our website along with tons of exclusive interviews and photos (and not to mention our stellar Facebook coverage). 

Aside from that, I was also a sponge soaking in every little drop of amazing music that came my way. Even while sitting at my post backstage for almost the entire festival, I witnessed impromptu performances and jams and got to meet many of the artists who came to our tent to be interviewed. I could also hear the Quad stage quite clearly (especially when the louder bands rocked it), plus there was a pair of headphones right next to me with the main stage feed coming through, so I put those on and blissed out pretty frequently. With all of that and a few jogs to catch a song here or there while my files were saving, I experienced quite a bit of musical magic. Here are some highlights:


*photo by Scott Wurster

Meeting Amos Lee was probably one of the best moments of the festival for me. He was super super sweet and SO striking in person. You hear the word SOUL used a lot when talking about music these days…but I think this man is the real deal…his voice is the epitome of SOUL. Listen to Barbara interview him HERE. And listen to his amazing set on the main stage HERE.


*photo by Scott Wurster

I got to hear a good portion of The Decemberists and their set was just dynamite! They played a perfect mix of new and old songs in their catalogue to please every fan. Colin Meloy was hilarious too! I can’t be sure, but I’d like to think that this picture was taken right as he was telling the crowd to scream like they were being eaten by a whale, haha… definitely check out their performance …LISTEN HERE.


*photo by Scott Wurster

Mavis Staples is such an incredible performer AND person. While she’s on stage of course, but also anytime you see or talk to her, she just exudes a light that makes you smile and feel good about the world, and you can really hear that in her interview with Barbara…LISTEN HERE.

 
*photos by Scott Wurster

Although they were probably the farthest from ‘folk’ at the festival, performances from Delta Spirit and Middle Brother were exceptional. I think Delta Spirit has long been one of my new favorite bands and their rockin’ set really sealed the deal for me. Then, put the singers of Delta Spirit, Dawes, and Deer Tick together and you’ve got Middle Brother – one of the best supergroups I’ve seen in several years. LISTEN TO DELTA SPIRIT. LISTEN TO MIDDLE BROTHER.


 *photo by Scott Wurster

When you hear just a few minutes of stage banter and half a song and then you include that in your list of highlights, that’s when you know The Civil Wars are really something special. I was bummed they were playing on the stage furthest away from me at the festival, but when I ran over there quickly I really was struck by how they commanded the stage and the audience’s attention. You could hear a pin drop in the tent as their intoxicating harmonies cut through the quiet, hot air. Hear part of their performance and Barbara’s interview with them in OUR ARCHIVES.

There was a whole lot more over the course of the weekend, but I’ll leave it at that for today. Now that I’ve had some time to process the experience, I hope to keep sharing it with you here. I’ve said it before, and here I go again…Fort Adams is a magical place, and Newport Folk is one of the most incredible festivals I’ve ever attended. The history, the gorgeous setting, the knowledgeable and well-behaved festival goers, the talent, the collaborations…it all makes for such a special, peaceful place to enjoy the music.


*photo by Jess Phaneuf

If you’ve yet to click on any of the above links to the mvyradio archives,
CLICK HERE TO STREAM & DOWNLOAD LIVE SETS FROM NEWPORT 2011

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2 Comments

Filed under Check it out, LIVE music, mvyradio

2 responses to “NEWPORT: Did That Actually Happen?

  1. mona

    Great post Jess. Put your hands in the air if you love music! We do.

  2. lagoondine

    Your streaming and coverage took sting out of not being able to be there in person! Envious of your meeting Amos Lee!

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