Dolly Parton At Newport Folk 2019
Photo: Douglas Mason/WireImage
Newport Folk 2019: Relive All The Surprises, Highlights & Exclusives
It’s hard to believe the first-ever Newport Folk Festival took place 60 years ago, mainly because the vibe at this year's fest feels so future-facing, so switched-on, and so decidedly in-the-now. But in truth, Newport Folk has been a breeding ground for revolutionary change since the beginning. On-the-ground and by-the-sea at Fort Adams, you can't get far without talking to someone about Bob Dylan going electric here in 1965, or Mississippi John Hurt bringing Delta blues to a whole new audience three years earlier in 1963, or Judy Collins introducing two young songwriters to the Newport crowd a few years later who just happened to be Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, or... or...
History aside, the first force of nature you notice about this year’s Newport Folk is the powerful and dynamic female-driven lineup, highlighted by Friday’s headlining debut of the Highwomen, a new supergroup featuring Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires. Saturday’s surprise headlining slot, mysteriously marked on the schedule as four female symbols, turned out to be the first all-female collaboration in the festival’s history. Also, remarkable performances by Sheryl Crow, Kacey Musgraves, Jade Bird, Maggie Rodgers, I’m With Her, Lucy Dacus and more.
But the surprise of the year—and each year at Newport there are many—was the Saturday night “Collaboration” when none other than Dolly Parton, joined by her frequent collaborator Linda Perry, jumped up on stage with Crow, Carlile, Collins and more, providing Newport ’19’s most memorable moment.
— Newport Folk Fest (@Newportfolkfest) July 28, 2019
Not to be outdone, Sunday was magical in its own way, highlighted by Hozier’s soulful set with special guest Mavis Staples and Lake Street Dive’s Rachel Price. But the most chill-producing musical moment Sunday beloved to Carlile, the same way the entire arc of Newport ’19 seemed to belong to the incredibly warm, gracious and talented GRAMMY winner. She joined Hozier on-stage for a rendition of her GRAMMY-winning song “The Joke,” trading verses with Hozier, then silencing the crowd with her vocal delivery of the songs climax before an uproar of applause.
Festivalgoers had plenty to cheer for at this year’s Newport Folk, but what they didn’t see was the action backstage. It’s not uncommon to see impromptu rehearsals, joyous reunions and excited first meetings between artists while walking through the all-access areas of the festival. The Recording Academy setup shop to speak with some of Newport’s brightest stars, one-on-one, for exclusive interviews.
For instance, we caught up with Friday’s main event, The Highwomen, to hear about their new singles and forthcoming album. We spoke with well-traveled Texas country breakout artist Charley Crockett, who also came well-dressed in a brand-new bright-red suit. We sat down with rising star and Queen of Country Soul, Yola, who ended up making guest appearances everywhere during the weekend, winning over new fans in droves.
We were also honored to talk with Judy Collins about her rich history at Newport dating back to the days of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. We even got to talk with Our Native Daughters, the powerful new group featuring Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla, Allison Russell to hear about their moving debut album and performance.
For all of this coverage and much, much more, including interviews with Amy Ray, Molly Tuttle, Lukas Nelson and many more, visit our exclusive photo gallery and see who else stopped by to say hello and snap some pics in our portrait studio.
— Recording Academy / GRAMMYs (@RecordingAcad) July 28, 2019
At the end of the day, Newport is about the music and the people, and backstage in a beautiful side room of the Fort, artist after artist tells us how attentive the audiences are and how well the staff treat everyone. This is the spirit behind the festival that — 60 years after it’s inception — continues to bring the music community together, push the boundaries of artistic conventions, give a voice to artists to fight for what they believe and build lasting friendships and connections with all those who make the journey to Newport. See you next year!