Sets From Roger Waters, Mavis Staples To Be Featured In Virtual Newport Folk Fest

‘Folk on Revival Weekend’ will feature an eclectic schedule of live sets, archival content, and never-before-seen performances.

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Newport folk festival
Photo: Douglas Mason/Getty Images

While this year’s Newport Folk Festival was canceled in light of the coronavirus, organizers have announced a variety of exciting programming that will take place over the weekend of July 31 – August 2. Dubbed “Folk on Revival Weekend,” the virtual festivities will include a host of never-before-seen performances from the likes of Mavis Staples, Grace Potter, Ben Harper, Brandi Carlile, and Roger Waters.


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The events kick-off on Friday, July 31 with a previously-unreleased birthday celebration for Mavis Staples. “Mavis 80,” was captured live at Los Angeles’ Ace Theatre in May 2019, and features an all-star lineup, including Ms. Staples herself, alongside Ben Harper, Grace Potter, Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, and Trombone Shorty, among many others. The footage will stream live at 8:30 pm PST via

On Saturday evening, viewers will be treated to a live-stream benefit concert featuring Deer Tick, Leon Bridges, Sharon Van Etten, and many more, performing live from Fort Adams State Park – home to the Newport Folk Festival. Tickets for the concert, which will benefit the Newport Festivals Foundation, are available via

Closing out the weekend’s events will a YouTube screening of Our Voices Together, a film by Josh Goleman, featuring never-before-seen performances from Roger Waters, Jim James, Brandi Carlile, and Jason Isbell, among others.

Additionally, fans can tune into Newport Folk Radio (available online via TuneIn) for a weekend full of archival content, spanning over 60 years of live sets from the festival.

“In the history of this festival, there has never been a time like we’re in now,” said Executive Producer, Jay Sweet, in a statement. “A global pandemic shuttering our plans to congregate before quickly shifting into the biggest civil rights movement in over 50 years.”

He continued, “While it was an emotional gut punch to cancel the festival in a year where it is so clearly needed, we felt it was imperative to our community to do something,” he continued. “Music has always brought our family together, even when we’re divided. The Newport stage has always been a sanctuary for artists to speak their minds on the times in front of us, not with merely one voice alone, but many in unison. This year’s Newport is no exception, collectively representing what it feels like to be human in today’s world by amplifying our convictions. For 2020 these voices will be our megaphone, these events our stage.”

Established in 1959, the hallowed Newport, RI music event is considered to be one of the first modern music festivals in America (following the Newport Jazz Festival). In its first incarnation, from 1959-1969, the festival hosted iconic performances from the likes of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, The Staple Singers, and John Lee Hooker. In its more recent incarnations, beginning in 1985, concertgoers have enjoyed sets by such artists as The Pixies, Beck, Bonnie Raitt, Brittany Howard, and Kacey Musgraves.

For more information on Folk on Revival Weekend, visit the official website.

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