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Folk Fest: By Land or By Sea - Volume 2

There are many special events in Newport but none seem to transform the city like Newport Folk Festival. Whether your working the event, in the area, or attending by land or by sea- it's hard to not get caught up in the excitement around town. Leading up to the big weekend, we will be releasing a three part festival guide!

Are you planning to attend the renowned Newport Folk Festival this year? Well, you're in for a treat! To make the most of your experience, we reached out to a few seasoned Folk Fest veterans who shared their wisdom to help you navigate the weekend, rain or shine. Here are some valuable do's and don'ts to keep in mind for an unforgettable time at the festival:

Folks in the Crowd: Tips to enjoy the show

The Folk Vets: Hear from the Pros

Getting There: Best Way to get to the Fort


Folks in the Crowd: Tips to enjoy the show

Folk Festival Do's:

  1. Prioritize Sun Protection: The Folk Fest can get scorching hot, so make sure to pack and apply sunscreen regularly. Bring a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun's rays.

  2. Stay Hydrated: With multiple water stations set up around the Fort, there's no excuse not to stay hydrated. Carry a refillable water bottle to keep yourself refreshed throughout the day.

  3. Keep an Open Agenda: Embrace the spontaneity of the festival and discover new favorite bands. With so many talented acts performing, you're bound to stumble upon some hidden gems.

  4. Merchandise Mania: If you're eyeing festival merch, make sure to join the line early on Day 1. Popular items tend to sell out quickly.

  5. Explore Alternative Stages: Consider heading to the Quad stage area instead of the Fort stage if you want a guaranteed spot for your blanket and chairs. Some of the most memorable performances happen at the smaller stages.

  6. Arrive Early: Witnessing the festival grounds fill up with enthusiastic fans is an experience in itself. Additionally, catching early-day sets can lead to some unforgettable musical encounters.

  7. Stay Until the Last Note: The energy and passion for music reach their peak at the end of each day. Stay till the very last performance, clean up after yourself, and spread kindness throughout the festival grounds.

  8. Essential Packing List: Bring along a portable phone charger, a refillable water bottle (empty upon entry), sunscreen, a beach towel or blanket, and comfortable clothing and shoes for a worry-free experience.

Folk Festival Don'ts:

  1. Ditch the Phone: Put away your phone and fully immerse yourself in the music and atmosphere. Being present in the moment will make the experience more meaningful.

  2. Explore Beyond Main Stages: While headliners are undoubtedly fantastic, make time for performances on the smaller stages. They often provide a more intimate and unforgettable experience.

  3. Respect the Artists and Fellow Fans: Avoid talking loudly in front of the stage during performances. Let others enjoy the music without distractions. Save the socializing for designated areas.

  4. Avoid View-Blocking Items: The festival has restrictions on certain items that may block others' views, such as umbrellas, flag poles, large beach chairs, and selfie sticks. Leave them behind to ensure everyone's enjoyment.

The Newport Folk Festival is a magical event that brings people together through music and camaraderie. By following these tips, you're bound to have an incredible time at this iconic celebration of folk music.

Photo above is of Folk & Jazz Fest artist Nan Parati’s famous “Fun Time Roman” font which graces all the signs throughout festival grounds.

The Folk Vets: Hear from the Pros

Kayla B.

Brooklyn, NY

Q: How many summers have you attended folk fest?

  • 13! This year will be my 14th Folk Fest

Q: Who is the favorite act you have seen?

  • This is honestly impossible to answer but if I had to choose something I think it would be a tie between The Highwomen debut in 2019 and the surprise Mumford & Sons set in 2018. That being said, if you ask me again in a week I'll probably give you different answers - there have been so many incredible acts!

Amy S & Ryan W

Newport, RI

Q: How many summers have you attended folk fest?

  • My first Newport Folk Festival was in 2021, the post-COVID year when they had six days of Folk, half capacity, and only two stages. Last year capacity was back to 100% and all three stages were open. Despite the differences, both years were an absolute blast with high energy and beautiful connections within the Newport Folk community. Ryan has attended for the past six years, this year will be his seventh. Folk Fest weekend is a holiday weekend for us and our friends/family who attend, it's a really special event.

Q: Who is the favorite act you have seen and what year was it?

  • Wow. Honestly, it is impossible to pick one because each artist lends such a unique experience. It's exciting when an artist we know and love performs (Lake Street Dive, 2021), but I get stoked on new artists that I have never seen or heard of. Joy Oladokun made her debut in 2021 and returned in 2022. She put on an unforgettable and stand-out performance in both years. Joy's sets were raw as she spoke out on social justice issues and lends an authentic humor with her contagious laugh. Also, any artist rocking a Mac Miller tee is a win in my book. Obviously, Paul Simon, 2022. I bawled the entire set. His music is the soundtrack of my childhood and I never thought I would see him live. Caamp performed in 2021 and I actually left their set to go see Billy Strings, who did a full Doc Watson tribute. I don't regret leaving Caamp's set early, Billy Strings shreds. Both are returning this year, which is exciting. Hoping they don't overlap again!

Audrey R

Portsmouth, RI

Q: How many summers have you attended folk fest?

  • Between 5 and 7 summers. I have been attending since 2010! Honestly hard to remember because when I started going we didn't have camera phones!

Q: Who is the favorite act you have seen? And what year was it?

  • I can't choose just one! Top 3 would be The Lumineers in 2013, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros in 2016 and Nathaniel Rateliff in 2022.

Q: Any tips for Folk goers this year?

  • I recommend going to the festival and attending on the water. Both experiences are completely different and fun in their own way. Don't be afraid to go into the festival alone. You will either run into someone you know or make friends. I've been to a few different music festivals, and Newport Folk always has the best vibe.

Getting There: Best Way to Get to the Fort

1,400 of 10,000 of Saturday’s attendees last year biked. That is the highest percentage of bikes to any music festival in the country. Bike Newport provides bike racks and has a dedicated staff there to assist. They have even provided bike lights in the past to help you get home in the dark all for FREE! The mass bike exodus from the fort after the final show has been coined as “Tour de Folk” by our friend Amy Sanborn.

Ø Remember to bring your own bike lock and bike light as you will likely be leaving in the dark

Ø Donations/tips are welcomed and encouraged

Attending Folk Festival By Boat:

Old Port Water Shuttle:

Ø Locations: Perotti/Ft. Adams

Ø 15 minute trip

Ø Cost is $10 each way, Cash Only

Ø Continuous from 9:30am-8:00pm

Ø 1st come first serve. There will be a long line of festival goers lined up with their beach chairs and blankets as early as 8am

Ø No bikes or coolers allowed

Jamestown Ferry:

Ø East Ferry Wharf /Ft. Adams

Ø 15 minute trip

Ø $41 round trip, $22 one-way

Ø Continuous trips from 9:00am- 8:20pm

Ø Ticket can be purchased online

Newport Harbor Island Resort:

Ø Newport Harbor Island Resort’s Marina/Ft. Adams

Ø If you are lucky enough to be staying here, they will be offering a free water shuttle on board their boat the Boylston

Ø Continuous from 9:30am-1pm, 4:30pm-8:30pm

Seastreak Ferry:

Ø Providence/Bristol/Ft. Adams

Ø Continuous 9:00am-10:35pm

Ø $24 round trip/ $12 one-way

Ø Book your times and hours you want

Attending Folk Festival By Car:

Ø Parking is available

Ø Can be purchased online for $25.75 on Folk Fest Website (purchase a parking pass in advance)

Ø Day of Parking is cash only

Ø Like Gilette and the Xfinity Center, there is a huge bottle neck when trying to leave. We recommend you leave some snacks and drinks and the car and wait it out.

Stay tuned for Volume Three tomorrow “Boats” of Folk.


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