Newport Folk Festival announces Board of Advisors, and it’s indie-ragin’

Newport Folk Festival announces Board of Advisors, and it's indie-ragin'

The venerable Newport Folk Festival has announced an all-star lineup for their new Board of Advisors! Returning to their non-profit status, the board is drawn from the ranks of recent performers and is intended to be not only “talent scouts” but a guiding force for moving the Festival into the future and engaging new generations.

Newport Folk Festival Board of Advisors

- Colin Meloy of The Decemberists
- Gillian Welch
- Ramblin’ Jack Elliott
- Jim James of My Morning Jacket
- Ben Knox Miller of The Low Anthem

“The Newport Folk Festival’s Board of Advisors is comprised of very special performers and we’re pleased that they have agreed to join us…” said George Wein, Chairman of the Newport Festivals Foundation and festival co-founder along with Pete Seeger. “Each of these musicians personifies and enhances the spirit of the Newport Folk Festival, which honors past, present, and future icons of the ever-changing folk scene.”

Jim James added, “Every time I find myself within her loving arms, ye old festival de Newport Folk sweeps me off to a special land of music and reverie where all things are possible. Way back when, right now, and way off into the future her power is a mirror: all-encompassing and real, reflecting back to us a vividly truthful vision of our times. I am honored and humbled to be in her presence and at her service.”

Newport’s been the key launching pad for folk music movements since its founding in 1959. Bob Dylan’s infamous electric set at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival is one of the great legends of our time, and Newport’s influence in kicking off the 1960s folk revival is undeniable. Moving to a for-profit model in the early aughts, the Festival courted big-name sponsors like Dunkin’ Donuts, and went increasingly after indie music audiences. The Festival today is a mix of the old and the new, with Pete Seeger singalongs side by side with indie darlings like Elvis Costello, Justin Townes Earle, M. Ward, and The Head and the Heart. Clearly they’re doing something right, since the 2011 festival was a sell-out at about 10,000 capacity. Festival programmer and Paste editor-at-large Jay Sweet, brought onboard in 2008, had predicted the festival would sell out in three years. With a board of advisors drawn from the best of today’s indie roots artists and unprecedented success in 2011, the Newport Folk Festival is on the right track.

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