The Newport Effect: Newport Folk Festival covers the incredible history of the Newport Folk Festival and its profound impact on the world of folk music. Infamous as the place where Bob Dylan went electric in 1965, the festival reach goes far beyond that iconic moment. The Newport Effect: Newport Folk Festival airs on Rhode Island PBS Thursday, May 7 at 8 p.m.
Started in 1959 by jazz impresario George Wein, the effect of the Newport Folk Festival is far reaching. It laid the foundation for music festivals of today, rediscovered blues musicians (Mississippi John Hurt, Son House & Skip James), was instrumental in the resurrection of the dying art of Cajun music, and introduced new artists (Joan Baez, Alison Krauss, James Taylor and The Avett Brothers).
The film features a unique narrative approach. Artists with strong connections to the festival share their Newport experiences in their own words and narrate segments on specifics genres/topics. It offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the grandfather of folk music festivals.
The film features interviews with Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Odetta, Arlo Guthrie, Peter Yarrow, Judy Collins, the Indigo Girls, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Theo Bikel, Dom Flemons, Geoff Muldaur, George and Joyce Wein, Jean Ritchie and more.
It also includes film footage from Bob Dylan's performance in 1964 and performance footage from the 1960's and from 2001–2011.
The Newport Folk Festival is still going strong. One of the hottest festival tickets in the country, the annual event sells out each year and continues its magical influence on the world of folk music.