Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Boston Globe review of Newport

New and old celebrate 50 years of folk at Newport
By James Reed, Globe Staff August 3, 2009

NEWPORT, R.I. - No matter how diverse the programming, there’s always a naysayer who grumbles about the mix of old and new at Newport’s fabled folk festival. This was not the year to complain. To celebrate the event’s golden anniversary, this year dubbed Folk Festival 50, the event was one of the most triumphant and inclusive in recent memory.

And to think it almost didn’t happen. When the festival’s future was in question earlier this year, original executive producer George Wein took back the reins and scrambled to fill two days with an impressive lineup that appealed, in producer Jay Sweet’s words, to “the musical omnivore.’’

The musicians, in particular, acknowledged how the music had come full circle from heritage artists to the ones who will build on their legacy. The Avett Brothers’ Scott Avett mentioned Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s huge influence on his band. Backstage yesterday, Judy Collins embraced Neko Case upon meeting her for the first time. And nearly everyone praised Pete Seeger, the festival’s headliner on both days and iconic elder statesman of folk who’s kicking hard at 90.

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