Monday, April 23, 2012

My 2012 Newport Folk Festival Top 5

I was planning on sitting this Newport Folk Festival out. My second kid is going to be born in late May so with two kids and one of them being two months old it seemed easier to be home-bound this summer. The morning the festival was announced I got a text message from Bob (the other contributor of this blog) saying: "Do yourself a favor and don't look that the Newport lineup." Of course I looked and I honestly believe that this is the best festival lineup I've ever seen and there was no way I couldn't try to make this happen. My wife didn't need a lot of convincing and by the end of the day we had our weekend passes and our hotel booked.

I look at the lineup every day wondering how they are going to schedule all these acts that I want to see without there being some major conflicts so I've taken to trying to rank them in order of who I'm looking forward to seeing the most

Barely outside the top 5: Alabama Shakes - I've been hearing Hold On for a few months now but I picked up their new album and been checking out their performances online. I've been loving it so far and I wouldn't be surprised if I made this list in two more months if they wouldn't have forced their way on to it.

5. The Tallest Man on Earth - There are a few bands on this list that I may like better than TTMOE but since I got into The Wild Hunt album a year and a half ago I thought he was tailor made to play at Fort Adams. Even though I probably consider myself more of a Dawes fan than a TTMOE fan (spoiler alert...Dawes are not in my top 5), I'm looking forward to this guy and that venue in a big way.

4. The Head & The Heart - Last year was one of the most difficult festival conflicts I've ever had to face. The Head and The Heart were at Newport last year as well but they were opposite Middle Brother. I was planning on splitting the two sets but only ended up hearing three TH&TH songs. I have no regrets because Middle Brother was awesome but I'm not going to miss TH&TH this time around.

3. Of Monsters and Men - If you asked me to make this list two months ago these guys would not have been on it (not like anyone asked me to make this one). I posted about this album in early April so in the interest of not being redundant. Check it out here. I can't listen to this album without imagining seeing these songs live at the Newport Folk Festival

2. Deer Tick - I was not overly familiar with Deer Tick last year. I got in to the Middle Brother album in preparation for the NFF last year and ended up loving it and branching out in to Deer Tick, Delta Spirit and Dawes off of that. My friend ended up getting tickets to the Newport Blue Cafe one night where Deer Tick was taking up residency for a few nights. When we walked in it felt like we crashed a party. Since that time I've listened to Deer Tick probably more than any band between last NFF and this upcoming one. This time I'm looking forward to feeling like I was invited to the party.

1. My Morning Jacket - No brainer. The best live touring band out there as well as my favorite band. As a matter of fact, it was the 2008 NFF that got me in to them to begin with. Jim James played a solo set that year and he was the "man of the Newport Folk Festival." He was coming out with She & Him, Calexico and you'd see him all over the place checking out different acts. Two months later I saw MJJ for the first time as a band in Philly and this NFF will me my 12th.

Think about the fact that I had to leave bands like Dawes, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, New Multitudes, Conor Oberst, Sharon Van Etten and Blind Pilot off the list. Those bands would make for a great festival themselves.

Also, check out my Spotify playlist for acts playing at this year's Fest:  Newport Folk Festival 2012

***Addition***-In case you missed it, Bob wrote his companion list: Check it out


  1. Nice post and great bands. I just saw the Alabama Shakes in Boston and they went from like maybe my 5th to probably #1. One of the most amazing shows I've seen. I also would say if you have not seen Charles Bradley live do NOT miss him. You will be blown away. Can't wait for the NFF.

    1. Thanks. I wasn't too familiar with Charles Bradley. I've been listening to him on Spotify and it's good stuff. I couldn't be more pumped

  2. Nice list, totally agree but can't (and won't) miss Dawes! Have you been to NFF with kids in the past? This is our first time and we are (we think) planning to bring a 3 and 5 year old. Advice?

  3. You'll have an easier time of it with kids than I will. Last year we brought a 14 month old. This year we're bringing a 2 year old and a 2.5 month old. I would invest in one of those spray bottles with a fan. It gets hot there and I was never not thinking about how hot my kid might be.

    Also, it's easier to smuggle in alcohol in a cooler with a bunch of kids supplies :)