Constant Rain Doesn’t Dampen Spirits on Day 1 of the Newport Folk Festival
Milk Carton Kids, photo via Newport Folk Festival Facebook page
The rain kept falling all day as the Newport Folk Festival kicked off its first Friday yesterday at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, RI. Nevertheless, the festival stayed crowded all day, and fans seemed to have no problem weathering the elements, or at least finding a place to wait them out.
The constant precipitation, which varied in intensity, kept the tents packed all day, starting with Hey Marseilles performance in the Kids Tent. The Milk Carton Kids got the day’s first standing ovation for their charming set, which showed off their technical chops, as well as their signature comedic inter-song banter. There was also also a line out the door for the Low Anthem-curated Newport Homegrown showcase, which took place indoors where it was both warm and dry. The showcase featured acts like Death Vessel, Last Good Tooth and Vudu Sister, and The Low Anthem closed things out with a surprise performance.
The crowd returned to the Quad Stage for Blake Mills, who was backed by the members of Dawes. Mills—who functions as an unofficial member of the band, but rarely plays with them live—took center stage throughout the show, especially with his guitar solos. The group wrapped up their set with cover of singer-songwriter Mt. Egypt’s “7.” Fans then stuck around the stage for Phosphorescent, who got people dancing with some electronic drum beats, despite feeling a bit out of place at the acoustic heavy festival. (Similar things have happened before at Newport Folk, if you know what I mean). Deer Tick’s John McCauley closed out the stage with a fun performance that included a sit in from his mother on a cover of Jimmy Buffet’s classic “Margaritaville.”
Despite the many covered and indoor stages fans still came out in droves to see the day’s two biggest acts, Feist and Old Crow Medicine Show, on the main Harbor Stage. People huddled under umbrellas to escape the rain as they watched the headliners. The wind had died down by that point, but the enthusiasm had not. Rain or shine, fans seemed excited for what was in store for them the rest of the weekend.