The Newport Folk Festival sells out in five minutes these days. Most people I know have to get their tickets on StubHub, which sucks, because they are often more expensive than what you would pay at face value. And face value isn’t exactly cheap — though it is worth it. But that is why it’s good to look out for the somethings you can get for nothing.
One freebie I enjoy is the Deering banjo tent with free lessons. I regret not taking one of those lessons, however. That said, I’m glad they exist. I’ll never be Béla Fleck or Abigail Washburn but I could really use to spruce up my skills since buying a banjo from Backyard Music a few years ago. If we want these machines to kill fascists, as Woody Guthrie’s guitar claimed to do, we ought to be able to play them, for Pete’s sake. Rock, or um, pluck and clawhammer on, Deering! You’re a real dear. Tales of Deering-do!
Who doesn’t love a loose, hot nut? Pop by The Nutty Bavarian (you can smell him from the Deering tent) and he’ll put one of his steaming hot nuts in your little palm. These stupid euphemisms never get old — I’m sure that Nutty Bavarian is counting on just that. A young woman handing out those nuts at this year’s Folk Festival, however, seems trepidatious to put one of them in the hand of a man dressed as a pirate flanked by several people dressed as birds (at least one of them a parrot).
I’m not the only one moved by hot nuts and I won’t be the last. “To say your nuts are mighty small, well it’s better than to have no nuts at all / Selling nuts — hot nuts / Get ‘em from the peanut man,” sings Georgia White in 1931.
If one hot nut doesn’t do it for you, you can also get free Late July corn chips in a variety of flavors, or at least you could at this weekend’s Folk Festival. I am partial to the sea salt flavor when I buy Late July at home, but am happy to try their nacho cheese flavor for free and really enjoy them. Hey, when it’s free, you get to live a little.
I appreciate the water filling stations so much at Fort Adams for the Folk Festival. I’ve been to festivals where the security is stricter than the TSA and you can’t bring in any container that has been opened. I understand they want to prevent people from dying and/or suing because they’ve brought vodka in a water bottle (hey, at this festival I saw some jerks squeezing booze out of a sunblock bottle into their maws). But if other festivals really cared about keeping people from getting dehydrated and not just making $5 for every bottle of water they would follow Newport Folk Festival’s lead and create water-filling stations. Take your bottle, use the old-school water fountain spigot, fill, and begone. Try not to die of dehydration, and no one gets sued.
Jenn Sutkowski should probably drink more water and wishes she had a filling station right now. Oh she does, it’s a sink. Find her recovering from the scorcher that was the Newport Folk Festival at jennsutkowski.com. Nacho cheese.
This Full Frontal column first appeared in the Newport Mercury.
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It's me, Jennifer Bernice (rhymes with "Furnace": it was my Granny's name) Sutkowski
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