Roger Waters to Headline Newport Folk Festival - Rolling Stone
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Roger Waters to Headline Newport Folk Festival

Former Pink Floyd bassist to craft “very special” set list specifically for long-running Rhode Island fest

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Roger Waters will make his first-ever Newport Folk Festival appearance when he headlines the long-running fest on July 24th.

Kevin Nixon/Classic Rock Magazine/Getty

Roger Waters will make his first-ever Newport Folk Festival appearance when he headlines the long-running fest on July 24th. The former Pink Floyd bassist will craft a “very special” set list especially curated for the Rhode Island fest, a festival rep tells Rolling Stone. Waters joins a lineup that already features Sufjan Stevens, Courtney Barnett, the Decemberists, J Mascis, Iron & Wine with Ben Bridwell and many more artists who will head to Newport’s Fort Adams State Park from July 24th to 26th.

July 25th will also mark the 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan “going electric” with a controversial and legendary set at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, Jose Gonzalez, Sturgill Simpson and Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson are among the musicians who will perform at the fest that day.

The Newport Folk Festival, which was founded in 1959, promises additional artists will be announced in the near future. While three-day tickets for the fest have already sold out, entry for Friday’s performances – including the Waters gig – are on sale now at the festival’s site.

Waters has toured extensively in recent years, racking up over 200 shows in his three-year-long The Wall Live trek, but it’s been eight years since the bassist has performed a full-length concert that wasn’t tethered to that classic 1979 double-LP. (Waters also hasn’t played a full gig onstage since the Wall tour concluded in September 2013.) Coincidentally, Waters’ Newport headlining performance on July 24th arrives on the same day that the singer will reissue his 1992 concept album Amused to Death, his last rock studio LP; Waters released an opera titled Ça Ira in 2005.

Recently, Waters has made headlines more for his outspoken views than his music. The singer has publicly engaged in spats with Alan Parsons and Dionne Warwick over their decision to perform in Israel, and Waters also labeled Silicon Valley execs as “rogues and thieves” for their role in pushing the music industry toward streaming.


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