Elvis Costello, The Decemberists head Newport Folk Festival 2011


newport Elvis Costello, The Decemberists head Newport Folk Festival 2011

On July 25th, 1965, one of the most fabled concert moments in history occurred when Bob Dylan plugged in his guitar at the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, RI. In homage to that man’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” this year’s George Wein’s Newport Folk Festival line-up was revealed with the help of fans turning over cards displaying the artists’ names. And like years past, those names make one hell of a lineup.

The Decemberists, Emmylou Harris, and Elvis Costello (solo acoustic) will all make return appearances, this time as headliners. Other familiar faces making a repeat showing at Fort Adams Park include Gillian Welch, Amos Lee, Earl Scruggs, M. Ward (with special guests), The Felice Brothers, and David Wax Museum, who won a spot on last year’s lineup.

The acts only get bigger from there: Gogol Bordello (acoustic), Wanda Jackson, Mavis Staples, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Tegan & Sara, and Carolina Chocolate Drops will also perform. Plus, after bowing out last year with an injured hand, Justin Townes Earle will be in triumphant attendance.

If that weren’t enough, Delta Spirit is on the bill, as is lead singer Matthew Vasquez’s super-group side-project Middle Brother. The Wailin’ Jennys, Freelance Whales, The Secret Sisters, Trampled by Turtles, The Civil Wars, The Head & The Heart, Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three, The Cave Singers, and Mountain Man add to the mix.

Filling out the roster are What Cheer? Brigade, Devil Makes Three, Typhoon, The Ebony Hillbillies, Brownbird, River City Extension, and even the PS 22 chorus (really). Finally, two unexplained but mega-intriguing inclusions are listed: Song Circle with Dar Williams, Ellis Paul, John Gorka & Liz Queler; and The Seeger Clogging All-Stars. Be excited.

Recent years have featured a special Friday night show, but this year it is apparently “under consideration” [sic]. More artist announcements are promised, however.

Tickets go on sale Thursday, March 31st at 10 AM EST and can be ordered online, by phone, or by mail. Single-day GA passes can be purchased at the Newport Visitor Information Center, and a festival office in the Newport area will open at a later date. More information can be found at the festival’s website, as can the announcement video (psst! That’s yours truly holding the Pokey LeFarge sign). See you at the Fort!

Front page photo by Nate Slevin