Newport Folk Festival
Destinations, Music

Newport Folk Fest is my Favorite Weekend of the Year!

The last weekend of July is my favorite weekend of the year, as that is when the Newport Folk Festival takes place. It has become such a popular event that it sells out in minutes before a single artist is announced.  Three outdoor and one indoor stage provide great performances from 11 am until sunset.

All of the artists that perform are true musicians.  If you need background tracks, pyrotechnics, or back-up dancers you probably won’t play here.  They do take the term “Folk” kind of loosely, as artists such as Roger Waters, Jack White, Patti Smith and The Pixies have all performed at Folk Fest.  The artists genuinely seem to enjoy playing at the festival as frequent, more or less spontaneous, collaborations often occur.

Ninety-nine point nine percent of the festival goers are nice and courteous to one another.  Ages range from babies to octogenarians  (90 + if you include festival founder George Wein who, if you’re lucky, can be seen chauffeured around in his Wein-mobile!) The main stage has a dedicated dance floor, allowing you to experience your favorite artists up close. Otherwise you can chill on your blanket and watch the stage from afar or the live video screen at the side of the stage.  The two other outdoor stages have chairs that are first-come-first-serve under a tent.  The only issue is that since many acts have overlapping sets you can’t see them all.

Newport Folk Fest Lineup 2018

The roll-out artist announcements for Newport Folk Festival 2018 have started, so on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I check the Facebook page at 10 am for the latest additions.  This way there is plenty of time for me to listen to the artists and figure out who I want to see when the actual schedules are finalized.  So far I am very excited by repeat performer Courtney Barnett and Gary Clark Jr., as well as first timers Darlingside, Fantastic Negrito and The War and Treaty. The Folk Fest website has links to all of the artists’ websites.

Patti Smith
Patti Smith performed on the main stage as part of the 2016 Newport Folk Fest lineup.

There are plenty of food vendors that sell a variety of food that satisfies most people’s tastes. Unlike other festivals they don’t charge ridiculous prices.  You are also welcome to bring your own food and drink to the venue, with the exception of alcohol.  Beer,  wine and cider are sold in 2 areas on the grounds.  There are also great merchants selling art, clothes, jewelry, music instruments etc. Check out local vendors such as Matunuck Oyster Bar  for a great lobster roll, Blink Gallery for great photography and Avalove for beautiful original fashion.

Tickets for Folk Fest

Even though tickets for Folk Fest are officially sold out, don’t despair; there are great shows in town at night and those tickets haven’t gone on sale yet.  Newport Folk Fest has also partnered with a fan exchange website Lyte for fan to fan transactions. Plus you can always check out the usual alternate ticket outlets, like StubHub and SeatGeek.

Watching Folk Fest from the Water

On the water there is a whole other party going on! A myriad of boats are anchored outside where they can watch, and sometimes hear, the music from the main stage.  But generally they are just there to have a good time! Captain Al will be taking people out for sailing charters during the festival. (First Mate Kia has put in for time off!)

Folk Fest friends
Good music, food, friends and fun are hallmarks of the Newport Folk Fest.



Day 2 in Newport

Great visit from our long time friends, Susan, Nick and Gracie the wonder dog. Nick helped Al sail AlyKat from Fort Lauderdale to Newport RI in 2013. Great to have him back onboard!  Safe travels back south.

Nick Peirson

Tuesday was a lovely day in Newport. It was probably the last day of “summer” with a high of 78, so we decided to stay another day. We went for a great sail with Kia and Al Girard on AlyKat! This was Gracie’s first sail on a big boat.

Relaxing on a bean bag on the netting.

Kia and Al getting ready to raise the sail.

Enjoying cocktails and watching a great sunset on the mooring in Newport harbor.

We ended the evening with Al grilling some great steaks!

Today we are headed to Greenpoint on Long Island.

We have decided to go slow for a while as we will need to leave the boat in a week or so for a few days and go to New Hampshire for Tom Tobey’s funeral.

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Sheet not a rope
Catamaran, Learn to Sail, Sailing Terminology

Nautical Terms — The Basics (Part 1)

Part 1 of a Learn to Sail Series

Have you ever wondered why boating and sailing have so many specialty words instead of using the non-boating words that could easily be used and understood everyone? Is it just to separate the boaters from the non boaters or are there any other reasons for this lingo? Continue reading “Nautical Terms — The Basics (Part 1)”

Catamaran, Learn to Sail

Learning to Sail: The Asymmetrical Spinnaker

Spoiler Alert: This post has some geeky sailing language. To help all you beginners we’ve put a glossary at the end of this post. (We’re nice like that.)

The asymmetrical spinnaker is our favorite sail.  It is used for sailing downwind and you wouldn’t want to sail a cat without one.  So what is this fancy sail?   Continue reading “Learning to Sail: The Asymmetrical Spinnaker”


America’s Cup Then and Now

Team Oracle
Photo by slgckgc via a Creative Commons License.

Newport, R.I and The America’s Cup are forever linked, as Newport was the venue for over 50 years. The Newport Daily News still carries the news of the America’s Cup races as the cover story on the Sports page. I doubt many other US newspapers do.

Captain Al and Kia are linked to the Cup in very different ways: Continue reading “America’s Cup Then and Now”


Memorial Day Weekend Sail

Catamaran in the sun
Sun and wind in our sails

The sun finally came out on Saturday and we had great guests onboard for a beautiful sail around Newport.  Brenda and Rick were able to watch the beautiful views from the trampoline as the wind moved us forward.  We were not the only ones out at sea taking advantage of the great sailing weather.

After the sail we stayed on our mooring feasting on grilled shish kebabs, salads, burgers, home made rhubarb strawberry pie and a glass of red wine or two.  The sunset was a really beautiful ending to a fun day at sea.  Looking forward to many more this season!

Volvo Ocean Race preview

Volvo Ocean Race Preview

I love the Volvo Ocean Race!  For the 2014 -2015 race I was following and rooting for Team SCA in particular.  I would look at my phone ap first thing in the morning and the last thing at night to find out the latest information.  For the Newport stop over I was able to volunteer at the race village and that was a lot of fun.  I was even entrusted with holding the actual trophy! Continue reading “Volvo Ocean Race Preview”


First Sail on AlyKat Watching Laser Racing

We took AlyKat out for a quick sail with some friends and came upon the Newport Laser regatta.  It was fun watching  the racing up close.  Captain Al is an experienced laser racer so he knew where we could watch the race close by without interfering with the regatta itself.  It was a little cool today but it was great being out on the water again.

Watching Laser racing from AlyKat
Watching Laser racing from AlyKat in Newport RI