Like Woody Allen, folk music is seemingly being kept alive on a wholesome diet of bagels, flannel, and the tears of old Jewish women. However, unlike Woody Allen, folk music is only getting better. Look no further for evidence than the Newport Folk Festival on Aug. 1 and 2,a celebration of the eclectic and perpetually cheerful world of American folk. Unfortunately, no free menthol cigarettes will be supplied.
In honor of the festival’s 50th birthday, this year’s organizers have done a mighty fine job of assembling a diverse army of folk militiamen from across the country. Old standbys like Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Joan Baez sing and strum their hearts out alongside artists like Neko Case and The Decemberists, whose live show is equal parts rock concert and propaganda spectacle. All of it is happening and beautiful Fort Adams State Park in Rhode Island, so if you’re looking for a summer weekend that’s only a few hours away, the Newport Folk Festival is a nostalgic throwback to a time when Joan Baez was actually sexy.