Live Review: Newport Folk Festival 2022 @ Fort Adams State Park, RI — 7/22-7/24/22


Brandi Carlile welcomes Joni Mitchell to the stage at the Newport Folk Festival on July 24, 2022, her first time back at Fort Adams since 1969. (Photo by Casey Vock)

When musicians themselves hold a place and event so close to their hearts that it becomes sacred, the experience for fans is that much more lasting and remarkable.

The Newport Folk Festival, long considered one of the country’s most influential gatherings of songwriters, artists, and performers, proved to be that and so much more this year — three full days of celebrating music as a communal power and a change agent at a time when the nation feels fragmented by political turmoil and the lingering struggles of the pandemic.

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Live Review: DelFest 2022 @ Allegany County Fairgrounds — 5/27-5/30/22


Bluegrass legend Del McCoury performs with his band during DelFest 2022 held over Memorial Day weekend at the Allegany County Fairgrounds in Cumberland, Maryland. (Photo by Casey Vock)

How much vibrancy can one artist bring to their music? And how big of a community can one individual cultivate around that music?

If DelFest 2022 was any indication, bluegrass legend Del McCoury — at the ripe age of 83 years old — has done as much if not more for his craft than any of the fine musicians who came before him and made this particular breed of roots music their life’s work.

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Snapshots: Watermelon Pickers Festival @ Watermelon Park (Berryville, VA) — 9/16-9/19/21

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Charley Crockett performs at Watermelon Pickers Festival 2021. (Photo by Chester Simpson)

Watermelon Picker’s Fest is one of my favorite festivals that I look forward to every year. The experience of camping, socializing with old and new friends while listening to  music is an amazing experience not to be over looked. Besides music on the stages, there’s the night jam sessions, where various musicians travel from campsite to campsite for a special musical experience. It’s an opportunities to hangout with performers in a pleasant, usually quite rural, setting.

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Live Review: Bela Fleck and the Flecktones @ Strathmore Music Center — 12/2/19

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Bela Fleck performs at MerleFest on April 27, 2018. (Photo by cp_thornton)

We all have ideas and preconceptions about different kinds of music. We can’t help it; we’re exposed to something, and it fixes our notion of what it is. For years, whenever I thought of jazz, I pictured a saxophone in my mind’s eye, and I heard a particular sound. While that sound is representative of some jazz, it’s certainly not representative of all it.

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, an all-star lineup of progressive jazz musicians, demolished and rebuilt my ideas of what jazz is and can be at the Strathmore Music Center recently.

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Snapshots: Watermelon Park Festival @ Clarke County Fairgrounds (Berryville, VA) — 9/20-9/23/18

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Marty Stuart and Watermelon Park owner John Miller Jr. at the Watermelon Park Festival in September 2018. (Photo by Chester Simpson)

Watermelon Park, located in Berryville, Virginia, on the banks of the Shenandoah River, is a local haven for camping, tubing and kayaking all summer long. It hosted the 15th annual Watermelon Park Festival recently, and we’ve got pictures of the performing bands to prove it!

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