photos by Jim Brueckner

"Half a century ago, Pete Seeger helped found the Newport Folk Festival, a weekend notorious for its dichotomies- Rhode Island high society and scrappy folk singers, old time traditions and new sounds, social rebellion and responsible activism. At this year's 50th anniversary, the festival came full circle for Seeger and other Newport regulars.

In addition to appearing and performing for the umpteenth time, Seeger was honored with an all out stage show courtesy of indie rockers the Decemberists. With frontman Colin Meloy narrating and guitarist Chris Funk playing the part of Seeger, plus Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) as Bob Dylan, the crew reenacted an infamous scene from the 1965 festival: the moment when Bob Dylan "went electric." According to Rolling Stone, while Funk was miming a frazzled Seeger attempting to unplug Dylan's raucous reinvention, Meloy quipped, "This was back in the day when the PA system was fueled entirely by burning wood. Pete was back there cutting the wood, and he became so overwhelmed with emotion that his hatchet almost slipped and severed the power cables."

Seeger knew the sketch was all in good fun and soon joined the Decemberists on stage for a sing-a-long. Gillian Welch, Fleet Foxes, and even Seeger's grandson Tao joined in on the jam. The 90-year-old legend even cranked out a solo or two. After all, as festival promoter George Wein said Saturday, "Pete Seeger is the Newport Folk Festival."" [American Songwriter]

While we were busy worrying about the weather and All Points West here in NYC, The Newport Folk Festival was turning 50 up in Newport, Rhode Island (Aug 1-2, 2009). NPR was there and has archived streams of many of the performances. We have more pictures (from the first day for now), and some videos (including one of the Bob Dylan reenactment), below...

The Avett Brothers

Tom Morello

Low Anthem

Gillian Welch

Brett Dennen

Fleet Foxes

Iron and Wine

The Decemberists

A Singalong with Pete & Tao Seeger and friends


Newport Folk Fest DAY TWO PICS HERE.

Fleet Foxes also played All Points West too.

Newport video...

"Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid" PART I by The Decemberists @ Newport Folk Festival 50 (8/1/09)

"Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid" PART II by The Decemberists @ Newport Folk Festival 50 (8/1/09)

Decemberists Re-enact Bob Dylan Going Electric - Newport Folk Festival 2009

Pete Seeger & Friends at Newport: This Land Is Your Land

Pete Seeger singing "This Land Is Your Land" at the 2009 Newport Folk Festival, accompanied by most of the day's other performers: Tao Rodriguez Seeger, Billy Bragg, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Ben Kweller, The Fleet Foxes, The Low Anthem, The Decemberists, and others.

Pete Seeger-Turn, Turn, Turn at Newport

Day 2 coming soon...