The Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Folk Festival are two of the most popular festivals that happen in Newport every year. Both festivals started in the 1950’s and attract thousands of people from all over to celebrate jazz and folk music.
George Wein produced the first Jazz Festival in 1954 and five years later, with the help of Pete Seeger, he founded Newport’s Folk Festival. In 2010, Wein realized that the best chance for these festivals to continue after his passing was to create a non-profit corporation. Since he’d been in the business for quite some time, running a for profit business, he knew the best way to keep his festivals alive was through grants and donations through foundations and fans.
The mission of the Newport Festivals Foundation is to maintain both the Jazz and Folk Festivals in perpetuity and to keep them at historic locations. They want to present all forms of jazz and folk music from the past and present and showcase performers who recognize the freedom of creativity that is necessary to grow in these styles of music. This foundation brings together traditional jazz and folk music with new contemporary versions of these styles. Performers come from all over the world and this foundation hopes to create partnerships around the world.
The Newport Festivals Foundation also hopes to educate young people about these types of music through partnerships with local grade schools and universities. In association with Salve Regina University (located in Newport), this foundation has put together an annual jazz workshop for high school students. Most recently they have started a family concert at Fort Adams in order to introduce children to jazz and folk music. The Newport Festivals Foundation also brings in local jazz bands to the Jazz Festival, which gives them a chance of a lifetime.
Thanks to George Wein, generations will be able to enjoy jazz and folk music for years to come.
The Newport Folk Festival recently won the 25th Annual Pollstar award for Music Festival of the Year. Pollstar is the only trade publication that covers the concert industry worldwide. For 30 years, they have been a fountain of information for concert promoters, booking agents, managers, facility execs and other live entertainments executives. Each year, Pollstar invites a group of international music professionals to come up with nominations for the Pollstar Concert Industry Awards. These awards honor artists, managers, buyers, venues and support services. Winners are determined by votes from the readership of Pollstar. This year’s awards were held on February 21st, 2014 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
The Newport Folk Festival won Music Festival of the Year, beating out the Boston Calling Music Festival, Electric Forest Festival, Hardly Stictly Bluegrass, and the Treasure Island Music Festival. This is the second year in a row that The Newport Folk Festival has won this award.
The Newport Folk Festival has been around since 1959, when it was founded by George Wein. The festival became known for introducing some major stars in the Folk world, such as Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. This festival stretches the boundaries of folk music, incorporating blues, raggae, rock and indie artists to its lineup. Some of the most notable performances of the festival throughout the years have been Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, the Pixies, Pete Seeger, and The Avett Brothers. Thanks to the work of George Wein and the Newport Festivals Foundation, the Newport Folk Festival will continue for years to come.
This year’s festival will be held July 25th through the 27th at Fort Adams. Tickets generally sell out early. The lineup for this year is still in the works, however some performers have already been announced. So far – Band of Horses, Jenny Lewis, The Devil Makes Three, Death Vessel, Nickle Creek, Shovels & Rope, Houndmouth, The Oh Hellos, Benjamin Booker, Mavis Staples and Hurray for the Riff Raff – have been added to this years lineup. Check out www.newportfolk.org for more information about the festival and additions to the lineup.
One of Newport’s most underutilized and rarely seen attractions is Fort Adams State Park. Featuring some of the best harbor views around, ample parking, and the much overshadowed Coastal Walk, Fort Adams is something not to miss when visiting Newport. Granted, the Cliff Walk is a much more spectacular walk, but the Fort Adams location offers lots of opportunities to view the many seagoing vessels tooling around the harbor.
Make history come alive for every member of your family. Just a short drive or a water taxi ride across Newport Harbor stands the largest coastal fortification in the United States. Visit this engineering and architectural masterpiece to see where the soldiers lived, enter the casemates, explore the tunnel system, and climb the bastions for breathtaking views. The Fort Adams trust has done a wonderful job in procuring funds from the state and federal government to reclaim and restore many areas of the fort that were once too dangerous to see. In addition, huge improvements were made to the dockage capacity and marina operations for the America’s Cup Races held here in 2012.
The Fort area is also home to many other great activities. The America’s Cup Yachting Museum is housed here as well as the most under the radar beach and snack bar. If you are a sailor or want to learn how to sail consider visiting Sail Newport where you can rent sailboats or take lessons.
Consider renting the Fort with its 6-acre parade field or North lawn on the water for your special function. Watch for their upcoming special events including military reenactments, music festivals, and classic vehicle shows. From 1824 to 1950 Fort Adams housed generations of our soldiers, today it still stands ready for your enjoyment.