FESTIVAL REVIEW: Newport Folk Fest ’15 Day 2

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Photo by Mery Cheung
Photo by Mery Cheung

At eleven this morning, Spirit Family Reunion are giving their best sun salutation and we accompany them with hands and hearts. These rabble-rousers make dangerous music, you know the type, the kind that makes you want to swallow a glass of whiskey whole and howl into the night.

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Photo by Mery Cheung
Photo by Mery Cheung

Throughout the day Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear sing us regal goat songs, the Barr Brothers serenade with sweet harp lullabies, and Nikki Lane rocks us dirty. When an audience member voices his approval, Langhorne Slim assures us that “you sound good too.” I look around at the scenic harbor and feel a pang of jealousy for every musician that gets to play music where the air smells of raven waters.

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Photo by Mery Cheung
Photo by Mery Cheung

Even Sufjan Stevens mentions that playing this festival is a lifelong dream come true for him. His humanity has never been more apparent. He laughs as the audience helps him remember the words to the second verse of “Casimir Pulaski Day” and when he chokes out some of the higher notes he recalls that those same notes were a lot “easier when [/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][he] was younger.” We hear in Sufjan’s voice the ephemeral nature of everything; he intones “we’re all gonna die” and we allow ourselves to both recognize and release this simple fact. It is a moment of perfect chaos, heavy lightness. Sufjan plays us out with a hypno-dystopian version of “Chicago” and for the moment we believe in fairies.

Photo by Mery Cheung
Photo by Mery Cheung

The Decemberists, ever professional, come outfitted in suits and make the kids twist and shout. We head out just in time to catch the next water taxi and marvel at how easy it would be to get used to this.

Photo by Mery Cheung
Photo by Mery Cheung

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