If I had a bucket list, the Newport Folk Festival surely would have been on it. I've long wanted to attend, and for years have been listening to the live NPR broadcasts when the festival happens. That it worked out for me to attend this year - when so very many of my absolute favorite musicians appeared on the stages (expected and unexpected too!), and to do so with Taproot, where I could share the work we're doing with appreciating folks - well, I can hardly believe that it happened. But the best part of all, was a brave and dear friend who took on the job of farm care and child care for five days so that Steve and I could take this trip together. Our lives, our days, our farm is not very conducive to us getting away together before (nor, really, have we had a huge desire to leave this place we call home!) - in fact, we can only remember a single overnight since Calvin was born. Ah! So, so blessed we were by this stretch of days working together and enjoying each others company. And all that music!
The lineup surely tells you how fabulous the music was - I needn't explain that. And the way that the organization honors its history while moving forward is impressive to me. But I have to tell you how completely touched and overwhelmed I was by the crowd of folk in attendance. I practically had a fight of kindness at the merchandise table with someone about who should go next - each insisting it was the other's turn. That kind of vibe was throughout the festival, and just felt so good. Good music (amazing music!), good weather, beautiful setting, and good, kind people. Spectacular. After the music each day, we stayed up far past our bedtime each night, explored Newport a bit, found the best cocktails in town (HOPE Food and Spirits, hands down!), and found music in every corner of every room, basement (that's Spirit Family Reunion above - so glad to have discovered them this weekend!), and fort tunnel we walked into.
Ah, and now we're home! Feeling refreshed from the time away, energized by the music, and fueled by the good conversation with the people we met. How fitting that we slide right on into the work of our next Taproot issue, FOLK, now. I've got a few new thoughts about that word and all that it means and can't wait to translate it into the pages of the magazine.
And though my mind was blown when Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings walked onto the final stage to host the 65 Revisted "surprise" set (marking 50 years since Dylan went electric at Newport); and it was incredible to see Spirit Family Reunion (with many talented friends) in a teeny tiny basement after the festival one night; and I've come home with a whole list of new sounds to add to my days......I still think the version of Heart & Soul I heard last night was one of the best (courtesy of Adelaide and Steve on the piano and Harper on drums). And "The Horn on My Unicorn is Green" by one Necklace Rainbow Magic Candy might be my new favorite song of all. And falling asleep to the distant sound of Ezra strumming away on his guitar downstairs was just the right way to be welcomed home. Oh, the many ways music moves us.