There may be no crying in baseball, but that’s why I much prefer music to baseball. So pack the tissues and get ready to let those feeling through at the Newport Folk Festival. It’s good for your spirit.
This is the first year in a long time I won’t be attending the festival. That in itself is something to cry about. My sisters and my husband and I usually all go. We have some things going on in the family this year and the timing didn't work out for anyone. Luckily through the power of technology you can usually catch some lives sets from the festival online.
So here are some sets I’m sure I’ll cry through, from afar.
Wilco on Saturday! Never miss a chance to see Wilco! They feel like a warm bath on a psychedelic day. When they closed Friday night of the festival in 2012 my husband and I were misty the whole time. I especially loved “California Stars” and “Airline to Heaven.” (You can find this set on NPR’s website.)
Go see the Fleet Foxes on Friday! I have the best memory of walking down the path by the Fort Stage in 2009 with my sister Mary Beth and hitting that spot where the speakers are super loud. Fleet Foxes were were playing “Sun It Rises” and I’ve never seen my sister so happy. She didn’t even really have words, was just smiling and shaking her head. Someone caught a photo of her in front of a huge tie-dye flag with a peace symbol on it and I swear it’s a picture of her soul. Tears were shed. (You can find this set on NPR’s website as well.)
My husband was unable to go to a lot of the festivals with me for years because of his job as a cook. But then finally I dislodged him from that thankless kitchen in 2008. He started crying practically the moment Brandi Carlile began singing. I hadn’t warned him about involuntary face-rain. I’m bummed we won’t be there to cry together through Michael Kiwanuka singing “Cold Little Heart” on Sunday.
But the festival isn’t just about cathartic crying through songs! There’s always other cool stuff happening. From the Newport Folk Festival Facebook page: “Stop by the Newport Festivals Foundation tent this weekend to learn how you could win this one-of-a-kind Lucius 7" record. Big thanks to Lucius and Electric Lady Studios for this awesome donation to help the Foundation and it's education initiatives. #folkfamily.” You can always dry your tears with some (hopefully free) merch.
In “Murder In the City,” The Avett Brothers sing, “Make sure my sister knows I loved her / Make sure my mother knows the same / Always remember, there was nothing worth sharing / Like the love that let us share our name.” It gives me chills even thinking of it. So, please go see the Avett Brothers Saturday for me, folk family, and know that the name we share is music.
Jenn Sutkowski hopes to catch Nikki Lane, Suzanne Vega and Whitney’s sets online, and hey, will someone bring her a Mediterranean plate and some Tallulah’s tacos? Find her crying over spilt music at jennsutkowski.com. (PS. This is a would-have-been Full Frontal column had I gotten it to my editor extraordinaire, Janine Weisman, in time to actually make it into the paper this week. So I'm posting it here instead.)
It's me, Jennifer Bernice (rhymes with "Furnace": it was my Granny's name) Sutkowski
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