This year’s Newport Folk Festival has been cancelled

Photo Credit: Matthew Shelter for Vanyaland

Add Newport Folk Festival to the list of events not happening this summer. Newport Jazz Festival, too.

News of the Rhode Island festivals’ cancellations came down Wednesday (April 29) afternoon. The decision was made by the Newport Festivals Foundation in tandem with local government officials, including Ocean State Governor Gina Raimondo, taking into account the risk of hosting large-scale events as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the country.

Newport Folk Fest was set to go down July 31 to August 2 at Fort Adams State Park. Newport Jazz Festival was set for August 7 to 9 at the same location.


“As devastating as it is to write these words, it’s balanced with a renewed sense of, well, hope,” says Executive Producer Jay Sweet. “It’s Rhode Island’s motto for good reason, and it’s also the feeling our festival family, constantly exudes when we come together in good times and perhaps more importantly, in difficult times as well. This community is truly unlike any other in music, and I believe we can emerge from this adversity stronger and more connected than ever before.”

Those carrying tickets to the sold-out Newport Folk Fest and the Jazz Fest have options, according to organizers. One would be to receive a full refund, and other options include: An “opportunity to donate all or a portion of their ticket to go directly towards ensuring the festivals for 2021 while continuing the foundation’s support for artists and educators,” or to apply their refund to a 2021 Revival Membership. The Newport Festivals Foundation describes that as “a new and one-time offer we’ve created specifically to ensure the future of the festivals and provides these members with three-day tickets to the 2021 festival (remaining memberships will be offered to the general public directly after the refund period).”

Last month, the foundation created the Newport Festivals Musician Relief Fund, to aid former performers of the festival with financial aid during the pandemic. Read more about it here.


“Although we won’t be able to gather at the Fort this summer, rest assured we have invited all the announced artists to join us next year,” Sweet adds. “In the meantime, we promise we will all commune one way or another on our festival weekend. As always, we have some secret surprises in store as well, so stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks. Until then, be present, be kind, be open, be together and stay strong.”

Revisit our photo gallery of the 2019 Newport Folk Festival below.