The Newport folk festival has had some up-and-down lineups in recent years, but it's truly back to being a big-time event this season. A flock of first-time participants -- Crosby, Stills & Nash, Corey Harris, Rufus Wainwright, and Mindy Smith -- along with esteemed acts such as Wilco, Doc Watson, Lucinda Williams, Joan Osborne, and Steve Earle should make this a summer to remember.
"I hope a lot of the reason for this year's lineup is that these artists value what the Newport folk festival has been about for so long," says Nalini Jones, who did the booking.
The Aug. 6-8 weekend starts with Ron Sexsmith on Friday night at the Hotel Viking Ballroom. The Saturday lineup on the main stage at Fort Adams State Park has Crosby, Stills & Nash (expected to play for more than 90 minutes as part of the festival's accent on longer sets this year), Williams, Earle, Harris, and Smith. The Borders Stage features Slaid Cleaves, Smith, Vusi Mahlasela, and a song circle with Harris, Mahlasela, Lila Downs, and Mary Jane Lamond, while the Waterside Stage has Adrienne Young & Little Sadie, the Mammals, and Laura Cortese & Ten Brooks.
The Sunday main stage has Wilco, Watson, Wainwright, Osborne, and the Dixie Hummingbirds, with Levon Helm and Garth Hudson. The Borders Stage offers Ollabelle, Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez, Laura Cantrell, Old Crow Medicine Show, and a song circle with Cantrell, Taylor, Lori McKenna, and Darden Smith. The Waterside Stage has the Mammals again, this time with Crooked Still and Old Crow Medicine Show.
Tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m. The cost is $25 for the Hotel Viking show, then $58 for Saturday and $45 for Sunday; it's $5 for children age 2 to 12 each day. Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketweb.com, at 866-468-7619, or by mail. For more details, see www.newportfolk.com.