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Newport Folk Festival to Feature Carolina Chocolate Drops, Emmylou Harris, Wanda Jackson, Chris Thile & Michael Daves

Newport Folk Festival 2011: Harris, CCDs, Jackson, Thile, Daves, Watkins, Low Anthem

The Newport, Rhode Island, music festival season gets under way this weekend, when the sold-out Newport Folk Festival returns to Fort Adams State Park; it will be followed next weekend by the Newport Jazz Festival. Both are among the summer's most highly anticipated musical events, as they boast a history of some of music's greatest moments and a roster of some of the world's most renowned acts. This year's lineups feature several artists familiar to readers of the Nonesuch Journal: Carolina Chocolate Drops, Emmylou Harris, Wanda Jackson, Chris Thile & Michael Daves, and Sara Watkins with the Decemberists, plus a special benefit performance by The Low Anthem, all at this weekend's Folk Festival, and James Farm at the following weekend's Jazz Fest. NPR Music will bringing the music to listeners around the world live, broadcasting and webcasting full concerts throughout each event and streaming live video from a number of sets. To listen in online, head to for all the folk and jazz.

Before the festivities kick off on Saturday, Newport's Jane Pickens Theater will host a screening Friday night of the documentary How to Grow a Band, which follows Punch Brothers on their first tour as they unveil Chris Thile's piece The Blind Leaving the Blind, the centerpiece of their Nonesuch debut album, Punch. The screening will be preceded by a reception and followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. For tickets and more information, click here.

Sara Watkins is the first of the aforementioned artists to perform at the Folk Festival this weekend, as she joins headliners The Decemberists on the main stage for a 6:05 PM set Saturday. Shortly thereafter, the First Annual Newport Folk Backstage Benefit BBQ kicks off, at 7:30 PM, featuring a special performance by The Low Anthem with fellow Rhode Islander John McCauley of Deer Tick and Middle Brother, as well as additional surprise guests.

Sunday is the big day for Nonesuch artists, with four acts performing throughout the day. Carolina Chocolate Drops begin with a 12:40 PM set on the main stage. Just over an hour later, Wanda Jackson takes the same stage at 2 PM. Chris Thile and Michael Daves play a 3 PM set on the nearby Harbor Stage, and Emmylou Harris, another festival headliner, closes out the day's Nonesuch performances with a 6:05 PM set back on the main stage.

The following weekend, August 5–7, when Fort Adams State Park plays host to the Newport Jazz Festival, James Farm, the collaborative band featuring saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland. The quartet plays on Sunday, August 7.


Both festivals are the topic of conversation on the latest edition of NPR's All Songs Considered, on which host Bob Boilen talks with Newport Folk Festival producer Jay Sweet about some highlights to look forward to. Among those artists they note is Wanda Jackson, whom Sweet suggests is sure to "get people shakin' it." For evidence, they play "Shakin' All Over" from Jackson's recent Third Man / Nonesuch Records debut album The Party Ain't Over. (There's also a profile of Jackson, in advance of her Newport debut, in the Providence Journal, available at

Boilen also talks with NPR Music jazz producer Patrick Jarenwattananon and Josh Jackson, host of WBGO's The Checkout, about the Jazz Festival. Boilen cites James Farm's self-titled Nonesuch debut as "one of the jazz records that I really love a lot" and, after playing the album track "Polliwog," which was written by Redman, exclaims: "Every time I hear this jazz record—it's my favorite of the year for sure."

To listen to All Songs Considered, head to


For information on the festivals, go to and For additional upcoming performances by any of the artists mentioned above, visit To pick up a copy of the latest album from any of the artists above, head to the Nonesuch Store, where orders include high-quality, 320 kbps MP3s of the album at checkout.


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