Newport Folk Festival marks return of live music post-pandemic

NEWPORT, R.I. (WLNE)— Music is back in Newport!

The Newport Folk Festival kicked off Friday, marking the return of music festivals since the pandemic.

Thousands of people gathered at Fort Adams State Park for 9 days of music including the Folk Festival and Jazz Festival.

“It’s so good to see smiling faces on this beautiful ocean view,” Matthew Sullivan said. “Ready to see some good music!

Sullivan, like many, is fully vaccinated and ready to be back around crowds of people.

He says he feels comfortable with the protocol in place even with concerns of the Delta variant spreading.

“I feel totally comfortable,” Sullivan said. “I’m vaccinated, I feel good about that. I feel good about what they’ve done here with the health check and everything.”

All attendees must show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test. There’s also a testing site at the venue if needed.

Capacity at this year‘s festival was cut in half, but the event was extended from 3 to 6 days so that no one had to miss out.

“It feels so good coming back,” Jesse Bitto said. “Last year was so sad, we’ve been coming for the past – he’s been coming for 10 years, I’ve been coming for like 4 or 5. Ready to hear some awesome music and actually be out and about.”

For most, the event has become a tradition and it’s cancellation last year me today that much more special.

“It’s my 9th year here,” Heidi Marci said. “I will do it every year I can because its just a great place to be and enjoy the scenery and the music and the people.”

The music, the people, and the views are all part of the reason people keep coming back. For many, it’s become a family affair.

“I started going by myself 11 to 12 years ago,” Sullivan said. “I started bringing my brother and then friends and now I’m married and I bring my wife!”

As people from all over made their way through the lines and into the fields, many said it felt like old times once again.

The folk festival runs until Wednesday and is coupled with the Newport jazz festival which kicks off on Friday.

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