After a major storm blew through Newport, Rhode Island, the events planned for the after-festival intimate Backstage BBQ took an unexpected turn when Mother nature made an appearance and shaped the evening to come by stripping the stage from power. Those that chose to remain to the bitter (sweet) end were treated to what evolved into the purest example of what the Newport Folk Festival strives to foster: the celebration of music through collaborations. Unplanned, off-the-cuff, the stage was electrified not through a power supply, but through a sheer communal love of music as one by one musicians stepped forward to grace the stage with their presence. Once such collaboration evolved from a song brought forth by Joe Fletcher, who joined Woody Guthrie’s granddaughter, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion and friends onstage to share it. Here is a glimpse into the night:
While organizers of the event may feel that it didn’t go quite as they planned it, I walked away (ankle deep in water) feeling that the unexpected extreme weather event created a sudden sense of unity—”we are all in this together” as they say! —and it will go down in my heart and mind as a truly legendary musical event. I am grateful to have been able to be there to share the experience with my sister Ady and our dear friend Kristi, and for the opportunity to have made new friends while we were all braving the storm.
More of our photos from the Backstage BBQ (a benefit event which reportedly raised over $20,000 for the Newport Festival Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of Newport County), will be shared here very soon, which also include Jim James (My Morning Jacket) who led the audience in a lovely singalong version of Inxs’ “Never Tear Us Apart,” Ben Sollee, Spirit Family Reunion, Eric George and others.
Thanks to everyone involved for making it a beautiful night, and to Jay Sweet and his crew of advisors for making decisions to keep us all safe and smiling through it all.
(photo by Shan, video by Ady for Sisters Dissonance)