Newport Folk Festival 2024: Enjoy American Folk-Oriented Music

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Newport folk festival

Newport Folk Festival is a way of introducing and cultivating the genre of folk music to the American people. In addition, it is the medium of familiarizing the people with their roots, culture, and traditions. America has a century-long bounty of folk music, of which people of this country are not aware.

Newport folk festival
Copyright: Tim Bugbee / www.tinnitus-

Besides, the fest tries to remove the barriers and bring people together. It also crosses its boundaries bringing the folk artists from other countries to bring up their own cultures.

Below I have mentioned everything about the Newport Folk festival that you must be wondering about. So, if you are interested to know about the carnival, please concentrate till the end of the article.

Newport Folk Festival 2024

2024 Newport Folk Festival will begin on
July 26
and ends on
July 28

Like every year, the three-day-long Newport folk festival will start from July 26 to July 28, 2024, at Fort Adams, Newport, Rhode Island, United States. It is the same place where the first Newport folk fiesta in 1959 continued for the next eight years, except 1961 and 1962.

In the beginning, the festival was for one night. Later, the duration of the carnival expanded to three nights. Finally, in 1960, the celebration remained for three nights. 

There are four stages- the Fort stage, the Harbor stage, the Quad stage, and the Museum stage.

When does it start, and at what time does it end?

The main program will start at 11 am. So, you have to come at 8 am to park your car, do ticket checking, and do other procedures that will come after step by step.

The program will end in the evening or after sunset. But, sometimes, the program continues late at night.

How do I get tickets?

Tickets are not available on the spot. Instead, you have to purchase tickets online. They are released a few months before the program gets started. You can buy four tickets at a time. Tickets are available for three days, two days, or a single-day entry. 

You can buy tickets through an online ticket app related to entertainment like DICE and Vivid seats, as it is a simple and easiest way to purchase.

How much do you have to spend to buy tickets?

For a single day, you have to pay more than two hundred dollars; for two days, around three hundred dollars, and for three days, you have to spend above three hundred dollars. 

Vivid Seats, an online app for purchasing tickets to the Newport folk festival, offers a price of $280 for a single day which is the lowest price, and for three days, your average cost will be $438.

Newport Folk Festival crowd
NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND – JULY 28: The main stage and crowd at the 60th annual Newport Folk Festival 2019 at Fort Adams State Park on July 28, 2019 in Newport, Rhode Island. (Photo by Douglas Mason/WireImage)

History of Newport Folk Festival and George Wein

George Wein, a music producer, is the founder of the Newport folk fiesta. He is also the founder of the Newport Jazz festival.

A movement circling folk music was gaining its strength during his time. As a music producer, he had the foresight to see the possibility and popularity of folk music. As a result, he arranged a folk night at his Jazz club named Storyville, which is famous for Jazz music, situated in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1958. 

The Newport folk festival started its journey on Sunday afternoon in 1958. Artists and bands- Odetta, Pete Seeger, Kingston Trio, and the Weavers related to folk music were invited to the Jazz club to show their talent in folk music. It gained popularity among the people after the show ended. The optimistic view toward folk music encouraged Goerge Wein to expand the perimeter of folk music. George Wein hired Abert Grossman, a manager of Odetta, and he came forward to bring George Wein’s plan into action.

Folk music could not escape criticism after performing on Sunday night in 1958. Jazz lovers criticized George Wein, who believed that it was Wein’s commercial views playing behind arranging a folk music night.

History of the folk festival in Newport
1967 finale of the Newport Folk Festival. Credit (Photograph by Diana Davies, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution)

Civil rights movement and the Newport Folk Festival 

It would be wrong to say about the Newport folk merriment but not spend a word about the Civil Rights Movement. During the Newport folk fair, the Civil rights movement was everywhere.

The Civil rights movement held against the racial segregation, discrimination, and disenfranchisement of black people. Many organizations were created to support this movement and, like other things, selected songs as their voice to say against the oppression against them. Students, Nonviolent Cooperating Committee (SNCC) was one of them.

In 1963, the Newport folk revelry gave a platform to SNCC to spread its ideals through songs and supported SNCC with its followers and members by adding them to the movement to make a march on Washington DC.

Festival back in the 90s 

After 1969, the fair took a long gap to start again. First, it happened because of difficulties like money problems and other circumstances at the Jazz carnival in 1970. Then, riots took place again in the Jazz revel, based on which Goerge Wein prolonged the celebration later in 1971. Besides, Wein decided to revive the Jazz fiesta; four years later, the Newport folk show also occurred in 1981.

Photography by Joshua Silk

From non-profit to for-profit and back to non-profit 

The celebration started its journey in 1959, aiming to be a non-profitable fair. But with time, it distracted its path and became for-profit merrymaking in the middle of the 1980s. Then, after a long time, it again changed its mind and announced to organize a non-profitable fete in 2011.

Who attended the first Newport Folk Festival?

Some artists and bands named Sonny Terry, Odetta, Earl Scruggs, the Kingston Trio, Brownie Mcghee, Pete Seeger, John Jacob Niles, and the New Lost City Ramblers attended the first Newport folk celebration. 

Albert Grossman, on whom George Wein bestowed to search for the talents of folk music, invited them to come and attend the carnival. 

The platform for unfamiliar faces 

The Newport Festival is the platform for introducing new faces and folk songs of both native and other countries. It is the medium of beginning a career as a folk artist for fresh faces. Many talents come here and seek their luck to be folk artists. Some of them started their musical career on their first debut. Bob Dylan, John Hurt, and Kris Kristofferson were some names that became familiar to the world through this fest.

Mississippi John Hurt 

John Smith Hurt is familiar with Missipissi John Hurt in the arena of folk music. He was an American country blues singer and guitarist.

At the first stage of his career, John Hurt decided to start his journey with songs. For this, he made a deal with Okeh records, An American record label established by the Otto Heinemann Phonograph Corporation. But none of them gained the limelight. This failure led him to start cultivating, forgetting about beginning a career by singing.

In 1963, fate smiled upon him. His recorded song “Avalon Blues” made him stand before the audience on stage at the Newport folk fete in 1965, which he recorded in 1928 about homesickness.

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan is an American singer and songwriter. He is famous by the name- the Crown Prince, God of Folk, King, the Jester, or the King of Folk-Rock in music history.

He writes many songs about the civil rights movement, Vietnam War, and other contemporary issues. As he was both a singer and a songwriter, this capacity made him a spokesman for the Newport folk festival.

Bob Dylan’s first song on stage at the Newport folk celebration was in 1963. He started his career singing “Blowin’ in the wind” with Joan Baez, Peter, Mary, and Paul.

Bob Dylan was the first to introduce the audience to an electric guitar. In 1965, he sang “Maggie’s Farm” in an electric form to give them a new kind of taste. But, the audience did not take this step positively. As a result, they booed and shouted at him. This audience reaction upset Dylan, which led him to leave the stage.

He encountered the same experience in the UK in 1966. These back-to-back incidents made him decide to cut off the connection with the Newport folk gala.

After a long year, he changed his mind and returned to the fiesta in 2002. 

Kris Kristofferson  

Kris Kristofferson is another name who started his career through the Newport folk festival. He was a folk songwriter and singer, relatively unfamiliar to the people before 1969.

In 1969, Johnny R. Cash, an American singer and a songwriter, introduced Kris Kristofferson.

Kris Kristofferson’s first debut at the Newport folk show was his written song, “Me and Bobby McGee,” which made him a public figure and got a reputation as a folk artist.

Newport Folk Festival Returns
Copyright: Douglas Mason/Getty Images

Golden jubilee of the festival 

In 2009, the Newport folk celebration stepped on in 50 years. But somehow, the fiesta could not overcome the financial difficulties. To get rid of this situation, the executive producer, Wein, hired Jay Sweet as an associate for the gala celebration. With his creative and practical ideas, Jay Sweet overcame this financial problem. He altered the policy of the exhibition to include rock music in 2008.

Though the fete had many attractions, it could not save itself from the criticism of folk purists. So in 2009, Jay Sweet tried to take the initiative to connect the present folk music with the past. This initiative succeeded and boosted the festival for some successive years, selling out tickets in advance.

Covid-19 and Newport Folk Festival 

Covid -19 pandemic had a severe effect on the Newport folk carnival. The Newport folk jubilee authorities were preparing for the merriment like other years. Besides, they sold tickets to the public and invited artists to come and join the carnival. But the start of the Covid-19 pandemic made all efforts and plans of the authority in vain.

As a result, they had to cancel the program, and the Newport Folk Festival did not happen in 2020. But in 2021, the festival had come with a new form and capacity. After the pandemic, the carnival authority contacted all previously invited artists and started again.  

Newport Festivals Musician relief fund 

Covid-19 has a profound impact on every musician’s life at Newport carnivals. But unfortunately, they had to lead their lives dropper after the covid-19 pandemic. So, the fiesta authority decided to create a relief fund and raise donations to help artists. 

In March of 2020, the authority created a relief fund, and here, every man from the upper state or any level of good condition donated. Furthermore, the management supported 500 distressed people with money from a relief fund. 

Again, in November of 2021, Newport folk carnival and Rainey Day Fund agreed to boost the flow of relief funds and expand the area of supporting distressed people. In the beginning, Newport folk fest got $45,220 as a donation from Rainy Day, used for BIPOC, LGBTQ and content creators, and disabled musicians.

How do I get to the Newport Folk Festival?

You can go there by car, bike, or ferry to attend the festival. But, this costs you a lot. A bicycle is the best option if you want to cut your costs. You can go quickly, bear no cost, and it’s easy to park. 

Parking sides are there for every kind of vehicle in the selected areas. As a result, you do not have to worry about parking. 

Top Five Tourists attractions in Newport

Newport Island is not only famous for arranging fairs but also full of historical sites, diving, fishing, boat sailing, etc. Moreover, besides attending the folk exhibition, you can spend your time with joy by sightseeing, touring, surfing, tasting foods, sailing with famous sailors of America, etc. 

The Breakers

The Breakers is a famous house for its architecture on Newport island. You can see the extensive work of carved wood, stucco flourishes, other things, etc. 

The address of the Breakers is 44 Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island. 

Stroll along Cliff Walk

If you want to see nature where the water of the sea and the land meets, then Cliff Walk is the best place. It is situated at the end of Narragansett Avenue or begins at Easton’s Beach on Memorial Boulevard.


One of the main attractions of Newport is its beach. You will betray yourself if you have come to Newport and will not take a bath or surf there. On the way to Cliff Walk, you can see several beaches in serial. 

Therefore, Easton beach is well known for its surfing and boogie-boarders, while

Gooseberry Beach is suitable for children. 

If you go for a natural trail and bird seeing, Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge is best for you, close to Gooseberry beach. 


Do you have an interest in sailing? Want to learn lessons from expert sailors? Then you can go to the harbor and get the companionship of the best sailors.

Rough Point

A rough point is a mansion with art collections and other antiques that symbolize the past. Tourists can go there and encounter the historical collections. It is situated at 680 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island.

Where can I stay in Newport? (Hotels and Motels)

You must love seeing your favorite artist or band singing on the stage. And, if you are planning to go to the Newport folk festival, I assure you not to worry about staying there. You can find many hotels to stay at night within your budget. It may cost from $90 to $ 1000 if you want to stay in three to five-star hotels on the harbor side.

The most exciting thing is that most of the hotels are near Newport harbor, where the carnival site is seen. In addition, you can watch the program from your hotel room balcony. The beauty of the sea and gentle breeze will surely elevate your enjoyment to a higher level.

Moreover, hotels are also in Middletown, a city next to Newport. It seems that staying in Newport costs much; then you can go to Middletown, where you can find a hotel to stay, costs start from $50.

Do’s and Don’ts at Newport Folk Festival

While going to the Newport folk festival, you must consider some allowed things. You can find permitted items and restricted stuff on the Newport Festival’s website. But, to make it easy for you, I can give some suggestions that will help you understand which items you can carry and what you can not.


These materials mentioned below are allowed to be brought with you to the ceremony.

  • Sunscreen 

The heat will burn your screen on the beach area in Newport, which you don’t want to. So, Carrying sunscreen is the best option for you that will save your skin from burning. 

  • Water 

The heating of the sun and dancing to the music will surely dry your throat and cause dehydration. For this, water is needed to get rid of dehydration. So, keep plenty of water with you not to get dehydrated. 

  • Chair

There is a zone for sitting in a chair. You can bring a chair and sit there from where it is easy to see the concert. But a chair with a roof is restricted as it creates a disturbance for other visitors. So a low seated chair under 30″ is the best option for you. If you don’t have one, grab it from a store near the festival. 

  • Shoes

Shoes are necessary to save your feet from being burnt by heated sands. But, again, walking on the sands wearing your favorite shoes will cause obstacles for you. To overcome this problem, you can wear beach shoes or sneakers that help you walk comfortably. 

  • Umbrella or Raincoat 

Sudden rain can destroy your chill mood in a second that you don’t want at the event. Of course, an umbrella or a raincoat can solve your problem in response to this situation. But before going there, you can search on google about the weather forecast. 


Now, look at the lists below of items that you cannot carry at the carnival.

  • You cannot bring a chair with a size that exceeds the required height. 
  • Alcohol or drinks like this are strictly prohibited.
  • Knives or any things that turn out to be lethal weapons are not allowed. 
  • Keep your pets at home. Festival Management does not allow them.
  • Electronic devices like an audio recorder, drones, or laser lights are not allowed.  

What are the main differences between the Newport Folk Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival?

The main differences between the Newport Folk Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival lie in the musical genres and performance styles. The Newport Folk Festival showcases folk and acoustic music, while the Newport Jazz Festival focuses on jazz and improvisational performances. Both festivals draw large audiences and offer unique experiences, such as the upcoming Newport Jazz Festival 2023.

Five Facts related to the Newport Folk Festival

  • Newport folk festival is free of casts and gender discrimination. It is the stage where all can stand together, symbolizing unity and equality.  
  • It is not just a folk fair. It is a medium of creating bondage between the present generation with the past. 
  • The first performer of the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 was Joan Baez, and his first song was “Colours.” 
  •  “Bringing It All Back Home” was Bob Dylan’s fifth album, released in March 1965. This album was created with the help of an electric band. 
  • The guitar of Bob Dylan, which he used in the Newport Festival in 1965, was purchased by Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay in 2013. He had to spend $9,65,000 to become the owner of it.

Finally, I would say the Newport folk festival is the medium of cultivating the culture and spreading its essence to every person worldwide. People come here to enjoy and get familiar with their culture and become a part of it. 

I hope this article provides you with everything you were looking for.

Check out more Music festivals happening around the globe.

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