Fun fact: Vanyaland founder Michael Marotta and I met in the media tent at the NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL in 2010, where we were scoping out Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings on assignment as music editors for competing alt-weeklies (he the Phoenix, I DigBoston, respectively). Our musical tastes are about as polarized as you could possibly get — he would rather get a root canal than listen to a Mumford & Sons song all the way through, and I’m thisclose to getting an Avett Brothers tattoo, kid you not — but we both fell hook line and sinker for Newport Folk, which continues to redefine the American folk music landscape year in and year out.
One of the best things about a festival like Newport is that it’s got an all-encompassing home on three stages at Fort Adams — it doesn’t take over a handful of venues, like the Austin sprawl of SXSW or the chaotic club-hopping CMJ requires — and that leads to some pretty phenomenal after-hours events long after the lights dim on the stage overlooking Narragansett Bay.
The building was originally designed to house the Zion Episcopal Church in 1834, so there is quite a bit of history behind it. And it’s also one of the homes of the Newport International Film Festival.
Now, I’m not one to hype Kickstarter projects normally, but one of the added perks is getting festival producer Jay Sweet to drop and give the Newport crowds 20 -— he’s literally doing push-ups, one for every $5 raised, to be executed on stage over the course of the Newport Folk weekend -— and that, along with the inevitability of a killer Dawes & Friends lineup, something I can get on board with.
It’s also worth noting that even though the festival has long since sold out, weekend passes to the whole shebang are additional perks to contributing to this Kickstarter.