Tag Archives: Lumineers

Summer Festival Spotlight – Newport Folk Festival


Imagine yourself meandering through the rustic barracks of an 18th century waterfront U.S. military fort.  Sounds pretty cool, right?  Now imagine that the sun is shining, the beer is flowing, the harbor is dotted with white sails and white caps, and every single one of your favorite bands is playing.  Luckily, you don’t have to just imagine this perfect scenario–you can experience it!

Now in its 54th year, the Newport Folk Festival continues to carry the torch when it comes to stacked lineups with all of the best festival trimmings.  Over the July 26-28 weekend, the industry’s most talented musicians will land at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, RI and play to a–more than likely–sold-out crowd.

Here are some of the top reasons to get your hands on the oh-s0 coveted Newport Folk Festival ticket (or find a friend with a boat and post-up in the harbor), along with fan feedback from some new and slightly seasoned Newport Folk festivarians:

1. The Lineup:  Unlike other festivals, Newport doesn’t release their full lineup until well after tickets go on sale.  Savvy festivarians know to purchase tickets early, because year after year festival organizers book only the best acts.  Second-timer Karen, from Nashville, TN, didn’t need to know the lineup to know she would grace Fort Adams with her presence again this year.  “I bought my 3-day pass the day they went on sale, without a single act having been announced.  No need.  I knew it would be good–no, great,” she said.  And she was certainly correct.  Heavy-hitters include Feist, The Avett Brothers, Beck, The Lumineers, Jim James, Old Crow Medicine Show and Trombone Shorty, to name a few.  While these are certainly impressive headliners, Newport will also host one of the most impressive lineups of indie bands on the festival circuit this year.  Bands like Langhorne Slim and the Law, Shovels and Rope, The Lone Bellow, and The Milk Carton Kids, along with solo performances from Jason Isbell and Justin Townes Earle, are must-sees at this year’s NFF.  First-timer Blair, from Asheville, NC, is most looking forward to Langhorne Slim’s performance on Saturday, which is slated to be one of this year’s crowd favorites.  With such a stellar lineup, fans like Karen are going to have to think long and hard about where to be and when.  She added, “My only frustration is going to come from having to make some hard choices about who to see when every act is terrific.  Good problem to have, though, right?”

2. The Backdrop:  There’s nothing quite like watching the sun set over Newport Harbor as the headliner closes out the day with an inspirational performance.  The NFF has one of the most beautiful backdrops around–historic mansions nestled into vibrant, green rolling hills surrounding a sailor’s paradise.  From Fort Adams, this breathtaking scenery is sure to make any festival goer stop in his/her tracks and take in a panoramic view.  Repeat offender Karissa from Hackettstown, NJ shared her thoughts on the festival’s landscape.  “Last year was my first NFF, and I plan on going every year now.  It’s clean, it’s close, and the views are amazing.  When you’re at Fort Adams, you’re right on the water.  You can look out and see people on their sailboats dancing to Jackson Browne or My Morning Jacket.  You can see the famous Newport Mansions on your drive in and dream about spilling a few million out to live in one, one day.”  Sounds pretty magical to me!


3.  The Nightlife: After the sun goes down and all of the lawn chairs get folded up, the festival still rages on.  On Friday and Saturday nights, Dawes and Friends will play shows at The Jane Pickens Theater  to benefit the Newport Festivals Foundation.  Just down the road at the Newport Blues Cafe, Deer Tick will close out Friday-Sunday nights with performances to benefit both the Newport Festivals Foundation and Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.  Though frontmen Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes) and John McCauley (Deer Tick) are friends, collaborators, and recently appointed Newport Folk Festival Board of Advisor members, you can bet that the vibe at each show will be span the spectrum.  A word to the wise, the rowdy bunch should fall in line with Newport’s golden(toothed) boy McCauley at Newport Blues Cafe, while the more laid back fans should kick it with L.A. rocker Goldsmith and pals.  Either way, the evening events offer festival goers a chance to keep the party going, while supporting great charities.

4. The Festivarians:  Music lovers travel from far and wide to get to Newport, and these aren’t just your run-of-the-mill festivarians.  Rather, they are fans that know a thing or two about music, and that’s why they are there–for the music.   After her first NFF, Karen noticed that the crowd was one of the things that made NFF so special.  “I have been calling it an adult festival, but that’s not really accurate.  It is very mellow and civilized.  I can compare it to MerleFest, actually, now that I’ve been there.”  Karissa added, “At NFF, everyone is on the same page.  Audiences are respectful.  I didn’t see a single person stumbling around drunk, trying to push their way to the front, which is kind of hard to believe for a three-day festival!  You can look to your left and right and on either side of you is a person wearing a t-shirt with your favorite band written across the front of it–pretty amazing.  I’m all for NFF.  Best festival, hands down.”


5. The Unexpected:  From Dylan’s 1965 plug-in to The Pixies unplugged in 2005, you just never know what kind of amazing musical treats will pop-up at NFF.  Over the years, fans have been delighted with surprise onstage collaborations, fort-top performances, and secret acoustic sessions.  It’s safe to say that NFF will deliver more unforgettable, unexpected moments this year, as well.   In 2010, The Avett Brothers, rode a scissor lift high above a line of port-a-johns and played a secret short set to those fans who able to sneak away from the other stages.  This is just one of many moments that will live on in the NFF history books:

6.  The Layout:  Due to tight capacity restrictions at Fort Adams, NFF has been forced to keep the festival numbers down, which is quite amazing considering the caliber of musicians that attend.  Having a festival with only 4 stages in a very close proximity to one another, but with ample space to keep sound separate, is a major plus for NFF.  “The beautiful thing about NFF is that it’s small. There are four stages and it only takes a minute to get from one to another.  I recently attended Firefly Music festival in Delaware and it was so crowded and the stages were so far apart, it took my friend and I forever to figure out where we were supposed to be.  We actually walked around Firefly reminiscing about how perfect NFF is,” shared Karissa.  The festival layout allows the experience to remain intimate and engaging, as if you were enjoying a private show with 10,000 of your closest friends.


These are just a few of the many reasons to get to the Newport Folk Festival this year from July26-28th.  At the time of this entry, single-day tickets for Friday were still available.  You may have to resort to Stubhub or Craigslist for the Saturday and Sunday shows.  But, just remember that there’s always next year, so be sure to buy your tickets early.  See you in Newport!

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Summer Music Festival Spotlight – FloydFest


The beginning of July brings fireworks, cookouts and celebration of our nation’s independence, but the month closes out with a handful of the best music festivals of the summer season.  FloydFest is definitely one on the list that deserves attention.  Held on a quiet 80-acre plateau off of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd, Virginia from July 25-28th, 2013, FloydFest has climbed the festival ranks and boasts one one of the hottest musical line-ups and schedule of events on the circuit.

FloydFest is designed for the music lover who also loves the outdoors.  Festival organizers have added events and activities that take full advantage of the beautiful, sprawling outdoor space, while keeping Mother Nature at the forefront.  The Outdoor Adventures Headquarters in the Global Village will be open daily from 10:00am-5:00pm, and offers activities including disc golf, hiking, mountain biking,  river activities, trail races, and many giveaways.

For the yogis out there, the Healing Arts Village offers a place to escape and prepare for or unwind from a fabulous day of music.  Flower of Life Yoga and DJ eXperience is a one-of-a-kind installation that will feature morning Yoga sessions with some of the world’s leading DJs to provide an exquisite soundscape to Rise & Shine to.  Once the sun goes down, the village transforms into a supernaturally lit performance area, where music will be supplied through wireless headphones.  Talk about taking the experience to a whole new level!

A host of artisans  will be on hand at the Global Village, as well as several craft beer vendors, including Starr Hill, Sierra Nevada, Foothills Brewing, Breckenridge Brewery, and Lagunitas Brewing Company.  While many festivarians will be partaking in these delicious adult beverages (responsibly, of course), don’t let that deter you from bringing your family.  Families with kids are always welcome at FloydFest.  The Children’s Universe area is designed to engage kids and get them involved in the music and outdoor activities, including Taekwondo classes, rock wall climbing, open mics and tether ball.  Plus, there’s  good news for families–there are kid ticket rates and kids under the age of 6 get in FREE when accompanied by an adult.

While all of these festival perks make FloydFest a truly unique experience, the musical line-up certainly drives it home.  In terms of music, FloydFest has more than 100 musicians on 10 different stages during the four-day extravaganza.  This year is the strongest line-up yet, with some of the best headliners and up-and-comers on the festival circuit.  The final line-up includes:

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros ~ The Lumineers ~ Old Crow Medicine Show  ~ John Butler Trio ~ Brandi Carlile~ Gogol Bordello ~ Citizen Cope ~ Yonder Mountain String Band ~ Trampled by Turtles ~ Railroad Earth ~ Hot Tuna ~ The Infamous Stringdusters ~ Xavier Rudd~ Blitzen Trapper ~ Michael Kiwanuka ~ North Mississippi Allstars ~ Donavon Frankenreiter ~The Devil Makes Three~ Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit ~ Bombino ~ The Hackensaw Boys ~ Delta Rae ~ Ben Sollee ~ Lake Street Dive ~ The Last Bison ~ Rising Appalachia ~ Nahko and Medicine for the People ~ YARN ~ Bright Light Social Hour ~ Baaba Seth  ~Field Report ~Bronze Radio Return ~ Megan Jean and the KFB ~ Lizzy Ross Band ~ Larry and His Flask ~ Spirit Family Reunion ~ Boston Boys~ L Shape Lot ~ Yancarlos Sanchez ~ Primate Fiasco ~ Blue Mule ~ Cheick Hamala ~ Doug and Telisha Williams Band ~ Furnace Mountain ~ Freeman & Williams ~ Reverend Frank Newsome~ The Green Boys ~The Hey Boys ~ Westbound Rangers ~ Whitetop Mountain Band  ~ Juggle This! ~ Hypnotist Matthew James ~ Jared BonNer ~ Mr Robb ~Peter Irish~ Tyler Fyer & The Lucky Dare Devil Thrill Show ~ Miracle Fish Puppets ~ Brother Whit and Minerva ~ Carbon Jam ~ Carson Diersing ~ Becki the Balloon Lady ~ The Community High Performance Band ~ Music Lab Performers: Gabe Morales Trio ~ Bukuru Celestin ~ Harbor ~ The In Crowd ~ Jayna Brown ~ Bella Fulton & Christina Reinard ~ Kooper Jodoin and More!

So, if you are looking for a unique festival that celebrates the best in music and outdoor adventure, FloydFest is for you.  For more information please visit www.floydfest.com.

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The Lumineers’ debut album released today

I first heard of The Lumineers from my childhood friend Marcie’s husband, Joe.  Growing up, if you wanted to find out about new, non-mainstream music, Marcie was your girl.  So, it didn’t surprise me that she married a man who shared her steadfast love for the musical chase.  Tracking down unique artists that don’t get radio play can be fun and rewarding, and those two have certainly perfected the hunt (and I gladly reap the benefits!).

Joe directed me to The Lumineers’ Daytrotter four-song set, and I was immediately drawn to front man Wesley Schultz’s soulful down-home voice.  Schultz’s rustic vocals were balanced by the boisterous hollers of drummer Jerimiah Fraites and the softer harmonies of cellist/pianist Neyla Pekarek.  Their lyrics were simple, but blew through me like a warm breeze through a hilltop willow tree — no resistance, complete surrender.  Their voices mingled effortlessly with the rhythmic stomp-clap cadence of their songs, producing a back-yard sing-a-long sound rooted in folk and Americana and pleasing to the ears.

Naturally — as I tend to do with all new music that moves me — I kept their Daytrotter sessions on repeat for quite some time.  Fortunately, their self-titled debut album was officially released today.  The eleven-track album can be streamed directly from the band’s website.  While tracks are riddled with vocal tones of Englishmen Rod Stewart and David Gray, New Jersey native Schultz successfully manages to take his sound and story in a fresh direction.  The listener’s journey through the Lumineers’ debut album is full of emotional ups and downs, as I am sure the band intended.  The opening track, Flowers in Your Hair, reminds us of how quickly time passes on the road to growing old.  Dead Sea speaks to love lost, while Ho Hey presents us with a hopeful heart.  Stubborn Love chooses the painful pitfalls of love over the emptiness of indifference, while Big Parade scoffs at the pomp and circumstance that envelopes our culture.  The Lumineers are storytellers, and their stories seem all too familiar to anyone who has ever suffered or soared in love — must be why I can’t stop listening.

Check out their new album, and jump on this bandwagon while there is still room.  Seats are sure to fill up quickly.

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