This year the Newport Folk Festival announced their lineup in rolling fashion instead of the whole lineup at once. I thought there were pros and cons to doing it this way. The biggest pro though was that it gave me ample time to listen to a band I wasn't overly familiar with without being overwhelmed with having to do the same with the other handful of bands I was going to need to spend some time with prior to the fest.
As the lineup was rolled out, I knew I was excited to see (in no particular order), The Mountain Goats, John McCauley, Jim James, Father John Misty, Colin Meloy, Trombone Shorty, The Avett Brothers and The Lumineers.
But since the announcements ended I've immersed myself in mostly artists who were playing the festival and started to look forward to acts like Hey Marseilles, Kingsley Flood, The Last Bison, Phosphorescent, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Houndmouth, The Long Bellow, Shovels and Rope and Lord Huron. At one point I purposely stopped listening to NFF bands in fear that I was starting to like too many of them and I was setting myself up for some conflict disappointments.
But now that the schedule is out and I've had a day or two to sit with it, this is how I plan to navigate this year's festival:
2:30pm - 3:15pm
The festival immediately kicks off with a big conflict. This comes down to Hey Marseilles and Kingsley Flood. I like both of these guys but over the last few weeks Kingsley Flood's Battles has become one of my favorite albums from anyone playing at this festival.
3:35pm - 5:50pm
I'm going to head over to the Harbor Stage to see The Mountain Goats. I've been in to their latest album since it came out but I'll probably cut out of that set a little early to try to catch the end of Phosphorescent since I'll be heading over their anyway.
6:10pm - 7:05pm
I plan on seeing John McCauley's whole set. I'm a fan of Deer Tick and his other side projects so I'm hoping to hear him break out a song or two from Middle Brother and Diamond Rugs.
7:10pm - End of Day
I'll take the temperature of the group. I'm going with two kids (1 and 3) so if it's not time to go yet I'll head over and see Old Crow Medicine Show.
11:45am - 2:30pm
I'm positive I'm starting my day off with Hurray for the Riff Raff but from their it becomes a mess. The Lone Bellow and Houndmouth are a pretty big conflict for me. I'm probably going to lean Houndmouth being that Penitentiary is a top 5 songs I most want to hear at the festival. So ideally I'll be able to hop back and forth through the tunnel and hear some of Rayland Baxter and The Lone Bellow before settling in for the Houndmouth set.
2:30pm - 3:15pm
Bounce back over to Shovels and Rope and catch 45 minutes of there set while preparing to come to the cruelest conflict of all.
3:25pm - 4:55pm
I celebrate Jim James' entire catalog. MMJ, his solo, Monsters of Folk and New Multitudes. So it's a no-brainer that I'll be at the Fort Stage for the start of his set. The shocker of all shockers for a big Jim James fan like myself...I am going to leave it early for Father John Misty. Probably. I do like Jim James solo but based on his other festival set lists, leaving early means I'm probably missing Wonderful or Bermuda Highway and one of his Monsters of Folk songs. Luckily I saw a Jim James solo set in Philadelphia earlier in the year so it takes the sting out a little bit. At the same time though, I'm seeing Father John Misty in NYC three days before Newport. Fear Fun is my favorite album of 2012 and it's probably every 4th album I still listen to. Being that I will have seen them both prior means that I can probably stop driving myself crazy with this decision and just go with the flow.
4:50pm - 6:15pm
There is almost a half hour between Father John Misty and Colin Meloy so I'll go over and catch some Trombone Shorty. From there I'll decide whether or not I want to do one more bounce back and forth between Trombone Shorty and Colin Meloy at the Quad Stage. Because there is no way I'm not going to be at the Fort Stage again at 6:15.
6:15pm - 7:30pm
The Avett Brothers were the announcement that really put this festival over the top for me. I've been a fan for a few years and I saw them a few years ago at Mountain Jam and was really looking forward to the next time I was going to see them live again. Just a great live band.
Sunday for me doesn't have as many "must-sees" for me as Friday and Saturday which honestly might be a nice change of pace. It'll allow me more freedoms to just go where the wind takes me and bounce around to a few different sets. I do know that I'm planning on catching a lot of Black Prairie and Lord Huron. The act I'm most looking forward to on Sunday is The Lumineers. Their debut album is great from beginning to end.
Newport Countdown Playlist