Jay Sweet

Impressions of the Newport Folk Festival (An Alphabetical Memoir)


is for the Abandoned pair of shoes we found along Thames Street


is for the Backstage BBQ going down in a storm . . .

. . . only to rise again! Unplugged but still so powerful


is for the Cameras on sticks


is for the water Dumping down Ady’s back!


is for the solid Everywhere-man Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes) who was spotted . . . everywhere!


is for the vibrant music playing with the historic Fort Adams as its backdrop


is for the Guthrie Family and the celebration of Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday


is for the Heat and Humidity


is for Irie!


is for the friendly stranger who strolled over to chat with us, and turned out to be Jackson Browne
(and for the omelette that was named after him)


is for all the fun we had with Kristi! And for the beautiful souvenirs she made for us


is for the Love of music


is for Deer Tick’s explosive cover of Lennon’s “Mother


is for, what else! the legendary Newport Folk Festival and the Newport Festivals Foundation that supports it


is for Conor Oberst and Friends’ mind-bending performance at Jane Pickens Theater


is for the Passageways leading from one stage to the next


is for the lightning Quick entrance by Conor Oberst to join First Aid Kit for “King of the World”


is for Rip Roaring amounts of fun and entertainment for days on end


is for Jay Sweet. Thank you and the rest of your crew for making the NFF so folking amazing for all of us!



is for the (dog, not deer) Tick that stowed away home with us, only to be discovered and dumped along the way in a parking lot in somewhere in New York state.


is for the rumored Unicorn head at the festival that turned up at First Aid Kit’s set (see Kristi’s photo for proof!)


is for Ben Brodin’s ethereal Vibraphone at Jane Pickens Theater


is for the spectacular Weekend kickoff with Wilco’s “Christ for President”


is for the acoustic cover of InXs’ “Never Tear Us Apart” led by Jim James at the Backstage BBQ


is for the countdown to the 2013 NFF. See you next Year!


is for the lack of Zzzzzzz’s, but who cares! We were at the 2012 Newport Folk Festival!

Adieu sweet festival, until we meet again!

View our collection of photos from the 2012 Newport Folk Festival

Video | Joe Fletcher and friends at the 2012 Newport Folk Festival Backstage BBQ

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)