Thursday, July 5, 2012

Navigating the Newport Folk Festival

I've been looking forward to seeing the Newport Folk Festival schedule with both excitement and dread.  I'm on record as saying this is the best festival lineup I've ever seen, so obviously I was going to have to make some tough choices I didn't want to make.  But after finally seeing the schedule, it's not THAT bad.

A few months ago I made a Top 5 bands I want to see at Newport list and although it's nearly impossible to stick to a plan, here is how I'm going to try and navigate the Newport Folk Festival and how I'm going to try and see them all:

11:30am - 12:15pm
Being that I'm going to be getting two kids ready to go to the festival and we'll have to set up our spot at the Fort Stage I'll probably be starting my day with some Brown Bird as we set up and then shooting over to the Harbor Stage for Apache Relay.  I've been listening to their American Nomad album a lot leading up to the festival and I'm really enjoying it.

12:30pm - 1:30pm
I'll probably try to stay at the Harbor Stage for the beginning of Spirit Family Reunion.  If nothing else, from what I heard of them so far, my 2 year old will stomp and clap along with them.  I will leave to head back to the Fort Stage for The Preservation Hall Jazz Band for the rest of their set.  I've seen them a few times already and they are a lot of fun.  And I'd imagine we'll be getting our first of many Jim James sightings during that set.

1:40pm - 4:20pm
DAMN YOU NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL!!!! This is by far the most painful part of the weekend.  Deer Tick was my #2 band I want to see at NFF but I really want to see Alabama Shakes.  With two young kids coming this year I'm not going to get to see Deer Tick at the Newport Blues Cafe or that would have made my decision here a little easier.  But alas, I'll be high-tailing it from PJHB to see Deer Tick from 1:40 to 2:15 and then booking over to Alabama Shakes for the remainder of their set.  That's probably the best I can do there.  Honey Honey gets the shaft here from me but luckily it looks like I'll have another chance on Sunday.  Immediately following Alabama Shakes I'm going to hop back and forth between First Aid Kit and Sharon Van Etten.  And honestly, my goal is to at least hear First Aid Kit do Emmylou and Sharon Van Etten do Leonard.  If I can pull that off before going to see Dawes then I will high five myself.

4:25pm - 6:05pm
From Dawes I'm heading over to see Blind Pilot.  Last year I tried to keep popping back and forth through the tunnel between the Harbor and Quad Stage to see Head and the Heart and Middle Brother.  I might do that to catch some Iron and Wine.  I have a longer history with Iron and Wine but I'm leaning Blind Pilot these days.  After those two sets I'll probably try and catch 10-15 minutes of the Guthrie Family Reunion before getting back to the Fort Stage.

6:05 - 7:30

11:30am - 1:40pm
After setting up again for the day I'd like to hop over to the Harbor Stage.  I've been listening to Deep Dark Woods on Spotify and I'd like to see them as well and make my only appearance at the Museum stage for Honey Honey for a few songs before trying to catch the last half of Trampled By Turtles.

1:40pm - 3:00pm
Definitely want to see The New Multitudes.  I'll see their whole set and then catch the tail end of Charles Bradley.

3:00pm - 5:15pm
The second worst conflict of the weekend for me.  The hop to the Fort Stage to the Quad stage is not easy enough to risk going from Charles Bradley to Gary Clark Jr and back to Head and the Heart so I might have to skip Gary Clark Jr. entirely unfortunately.  I want to see as much Head and the Heart as I can but them and Of Monsters and Men overlap by 10 minutes.  So being that I did see three songs from Head and the Heart last year, I'll probably ditch out on the end of them to go see Of Monsters and Men in their entirety.

5:15pm - 7:30pm
If the situation presents itself I'd like to see some Conor Oberst but I might just be content to head over to the Harbor Stage and lock down my spot for Tallest Man on Earth.  From there maybe I'll catch a little Jackson Browne if my kids are cooperating after what will be a long weekend for them.  Catching a water taxi before the rush might out weigh trying to hear The Pretender.

I'd put my chances of executing this plan at close to 0% but it's still going to be fun to try.

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