I ‘only’ saw 172 shows last year, which is the lowest number since 2013 (it was late in 2013 that I started this website). Nevertheless, it still made choosing my top ten shows difficult.
As always, I do not include sets from festivals because the energy at a festival adds so much to an artist’s performance that it is unfair to compare festival sets to ‘regular’ shows. This year, however, I make mention of some sets at festivals that were especially fabulous.
This was my second year attending the five-year-old Freshgrass Festival, held annually on the grounds of Mass MoCA in the Berkshires. Everything about this Festival is terrific, from the music to the crowd to the food vendors to the setting. This year, the weather was perfect as well – and included a rainbow that appeared auspiciously during Vieux Farka Touré’s ethereal set.
I was able to see every set because the set times are staggered. I love that I do not have to make choices about which act to see when. Please make sure to look at the gallery of photos at the end of this review.
I have a strong connection to The Ballroom Thieves – they were one of the first bands I reviewed on this website and the first that caused my views to skyrocket; they gave me my first in-person interview; and the first time I saw them perform was also the first time cellist Calin Peters played with the band. So we have a history, even though they did not know it!
I am still on cloud 327 after returning from three incredible days at the Newport Folk Festival. I want to get some of my feelings out – before looking at the 2,500+/- photographs I shot or doing too much talking about the Festival with my friends (which honestly has been hard to avoid). My usual, full review of each day with photos will follow.