These days there seems to be a new festival turning up every five minutes, but if you want to do things properly, then you can't go wrong with two festivals that effectively wrote the book on the festival experience. The Newport Folk Festival dates back to 1959 and would claim a place in musical/cultural history when Bob Dylan plugged in and switched on in 1965. Coincidentally 1965 would see the launch of the Cambridge Folk Festival so that was a pretty good year. The two festivals have announced plans for a historic twinning of the two festivals to form a unique transatlantic alliance. Please read on for more about Newport, Cambridge and their plans going forward:
Two of the oldest and most prestigious Folk Festivals in the world will form a partnership that will herald the start of a unique new transatlantic artistic relationship.
Since 1959, the Newport Folk Festival® has held a unique place in America’s musical and cultural history. A hub for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and the site of Bob Dylan’s famous switch to electric guitar in 1965, the Festival also hosted the first major appearances of Joan Baez, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Arlo Guthrie, and sparked the revival of gospel, Cajun and blues. Today the Festival’s unique alchemy between past and present still serves fans who crave innovation but appreciate tradition. Newport has also played an essential role in the forming of the Cambridge Folk Festival. Inspired by the seminal documentary, Jazz On A Summer’s Day, about the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, Ken Woollard went on to set up Cambridge Folk Festival in 1965.
Since 1965 Cambridge has become renowned for pushing the boundaries and definition of what might be considered folk by combining the best traditional folk artists from the UK and Ireland with cutting edge contemporary acts, the finest American country, blues and roots artists, and acclaimed singer songwriters. The line-up has reflected the many changes in the music scene from the 60's to the present and is always a hotbed mix of the old and new. The Festival has hosted legends such as Paul Simon, Shirley Collins and Christy Moore early in their careers and this year sees Jake Bugg headlining six years after making his debut on the Festival’s famed development stage The Den.
Full details of the twinning will be confirmed after the 2017 festivals.