You’ve doubtless read elsewhere, or in postings below, of the financial saga that forced Wein to regain control of festival-producing in Newport and begin work on yet another phase of production in the city where the festival tradition began (jazz in 1954, folk in 1959).
A crowd of 9,200 turned out for day one, the largest for a folk event in Newport since Bob Dylan returned in 2002. The lineup was a careful blend of veterans, like Seeger and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Mavis Staples, and younger and emerging talent. The crowd was a blend of festival veteran attendees and what seemed a majority of much younger fans.
There was even a touch of jazz. When folk festival stalwart Pete Seeger, now 90, closed out the day with a traditional main-stage sing-along featuring about 30 festival artists, they were joined by Ben Jaffe the Preservation Hall Jazz Band leader and bassist, on tuba.
Seeger's message lives on his banjo… >
UPDATE: Jaffe also sat in Sunday with Del McCoury's bluegrass band and joined the evening sing-along finale with Seeger, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, McCoury and many, many others.
George Wein’s CareFusion Jazz Festival 55 begins Friday night August 7 at Newport’s International Tennis Hall of Fame and continues the following two days at Fort Adams State Park with a strong and diverse lineup.