I was talking to my sis, Jenn, as we sat and listened to the great music at the Newport Folk Festival. We couldn't help but reminisce about this being the 50th year of the festival and how it has changed from 1959 to now.
The biggest change - We were all checking our palm pilots, cell phones, crackberries, or in my case, "Crackette" - the lovely Blackberry Curve in Cotton Candy Pink, which allows me to remain connected to work and all of my websites, blog, and contacts at all times, even while listening to the incredible Judy Collins during the festival.
Sadly, the main thing I would like to have been different would to be in a time of peace NOW. Technically, we were not at war in 1959 when the Folk Festival began, but I do know that we were recently past the Korean conflict, and that Vietnam was already brewing. I wish that the war protest songs were just nostalgia, not so timely and profound to today's world. I found myself bitterly weeping while Collins sang the "The Weight Of The World", about a brother going off to war and coming home in a box.
photo courtesy of NPR.org
The entire concert was magical, as a 50th anniversary should be. Judy Collins' voice sailed about the huge crowd, permeated the rain and fog, like a beacon of light bringing us back to what is important; love, family, peace, music.
The festival was truly without preachy political overtones or undertones. Instead, it chose to practice. Recycling was consistent and thoughtful. All of the artists kept saying that they were honored to be a part of the festival.
Ben Kweller was a favorite, The Avett Brothers, Fleet Foxes, the Decemberists, of course the great Arlo Guthrie, Guy Clark, Tim Eriksen, Elvis Perkins. Deer Tick rocked, and Balfa Toujours made us want to all board the next plane for New Orleans.
Joan Baez was sweet and reminscent also. She actually performed at the first folk festival in 1959. What a great treat to see her and hear her. Pete Seger led sing-alongs both evenings. On Saturday, his third sing along song was a song first popularlized in 1921, and made famous by Bing Crosby, "Blue Skies". He even went for the verse, not just the chorus.
I'll let the reviewers and NPR give the full lowdown on all of the artists and their music (click here - http://www.npr.org/music/newportfolk/index2.html. I will say that for me, every second was savored, those moments in the beating 90 degree sun of Saturday and the warm rain of late Sunday afternoon. We got it all!