It only takes one visit to fall in love with Newport Folk Festival. What once felt like an unknown curiosity encounter to me has blossomed into an annual ritual that will occur every July, simply because it’s one of the best music festivals that American has to offer.

What makes Newport so special is the chill and very welcoming atmosphere that wears off on everyone from the crowd to the performers themselves. Everyone feels like one big happy family, which makes it a true standout amongst the more corporate festivals out there.

(Hurray for The Riff Raff)

Kicking off day 1 and the festival was me was from slightly overlooked British folk-singer L.A. Salami. From there I caught the familiar faces of Big Thief, who have been touring non-stop in support of their great new album Capacity and Hurray For The Riff Raff.

Carl Broemel, best known as My Morning Jacket’s guitarist, got to take over the spotlight and headline a solo set of his own. Next up was “Alone and Together” a special set that combined the talents of Kevin Morby, Cohen, Eric D. Johnson (of Fruit Bats), Joe Russo and Josh Kaufman, who took turns covering each others songs – one of the sort of unique sets that make Newport such a cool experience.

Equally as special was the solo set from Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard
, who offered stripped down versions of older Death Cab classics and even gave us a stripped down version of The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights.”

After catching a bit of The Head and The Heart, I went over to one of the more interesting sets of the day: Nancy and Beth, the project of actors Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt. Naturally, Mullally’s husband, and the legend himself, Nick Offerman introduced the two, who easily won day 1 with a wickedly entertaining set full of comedy and slyly choreographed dance moves. It was absolute gold on every level.

(Nancy and Beth)

The rest of the day rested on the back of two major talents: Regina Spektor and Fleet Foxes. Spektor was a few minutes late due to traffic (one of the only issues of the otherwise perfect festival) and arrived on stage literally right off of her tour bus. She still delivered a typically charming set that made everyone smile with ease. Fleet Foxes ended the day with a dazzling set of songs both new and old, that were a perfect fit with the Newport harbor and the shining sun guiding the way. It had been six years since the last time I saw them perform and they haven’t lost a step.

(Fleet Foxes)

That was it for day 1 of the festival, find the rest of our recap of the festival coming up and find a full gallery of day 1 photos posted in the gallery below.

L.A. Salami:

Big Thief:

Hurray For The Riff Raff:

Carl Broemel:

Alone and Together:

Ben Gibbard:

The Head and The Heart:

Nancy and Beth:

Regina Spektor:

Fleet Foxes:

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