This year’s Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals may be canceled due to COVID-19, but a virtual event will take place from July 31st through August 2nd.
Folk on Revival Weekend will kick off on Friday, July 31st, with Mavis 80, a birthday celebration for Mavis Staples. The event was filmed live in May 2019 at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles and features Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, Phoebe Bridgers, Ben Harper, M. Ward, Lucius, Trombone Shorty and more.
The Saturday lineup includes Deer Tick and Friends, which features the band with Leon Bridges, Sharon Van Etten, Robert Ellis and others. On Sunday, Our Voices Together will screen on YouTube, a film by Josh Goleman that exhibits previously unseen footage at Newport. Roger Waters with Lucius, Tom Morello, Jim James, Carlile, Isbell and others will perform.
Throughout the weekend, Newport Folk will broadcast sets from their archives that span 60 years. You can listen online at Newport Folk Radio — or via radio on WFUV, WMVY or WEXT. Both the virtual events and the radio broadcast encourage attendees to donate to the Newport Festivals Foundation.
“In the history of this festival, there has never been a time like we’re in now,” Executive Producer Jay Sweet said in a statement. “A global pandemic shuttering our plans to congregate before quickly shifting into the biggest civil rights movement in over 50 years. Many of our lives have drastically changed, financially, emotionally and/or irrevocably. It has been painful for many of us, on the front lines fighting the pandemic, on the front lines fighting social injustice and especially for those losing loved ones along the way.”
“While it was an emotional gut punch to cancel the festival in a year where it is so clearly needed, we felt it was imperative to our community to do something,” he continued. “Music has always brought our family together, even when we’re divided. The Newport stage has always been a sanctuary for artists to speak their minds on the times in front of us, not with merely one voice alone, but many in unison. This year’s Newport is no exception, collectively representing what it feels like to be human in today’s world by amplifying our convictions. For 2020 these voices will be our megaphone, these events our stage.”